Keeping Track of ‘Authorized Distributors’ – An Important Resource for Implementing a Trusted Supplier Approach

The keystone to counterfeit avoidance practices recommended by industry and U.S. government subject matter experts is the procurement of parts from the Original Component Manufacturer (OCM) or its authorized suppliers. Informed customers recognize that an electronic part distributor’s ‘line card’ does not indicate that the distributor is an authorized or franchised distributor for those product offerings. Informed customers also recognize that it can be a considerable challenge to keep track of which distributors are authorized/franchised distributors for specific original component manufacturers and the respective product lines.

A centralized, readily accessible and well managed directory of authorized distributors would be huge benefit to procurement and product assurance organizations throughout the A&D industry supply chain and the US Government user community. During a recent webinar conducted by ECN, the presenters referred to The Authorized Directory created through the endorsement of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Anti-Counterfeit Task Force. I applaud the SIA for deploying this resource and for establishing a foundation for what the defense industry and DoD organizations will need to implement fundamental expectations of Section 818 to the FY2012 NDAA. This an important area for A&D companies and industry associations, such as AIA and TechAmerica, to engage organizations such SIA and ECIA to discuss improvements and expansions to meet the needs of A&D companies and DoD organizations to help manage the counterfeit parts threat.

Here are my own thoughts concerning The Authorized Directory and what an authorized supplier directory concept should include. Many of the items I discuss are not supported well by a number of existing resources available today:

Strengths:

  • An ‘open’ resource such as this is a smart move and is an effective approach to serve large and small companies
  • It is available at no cost to the user
  • Covers over two-hundred semiconductor manufacturers
  • Covers over two-hundred countries

Room for improvement:

  • Covers semiconductor products only (not all ‘electronic part’ commodities)
  • Does not clearly state whether or not a particular supplier is authorized for all product offerings from a particular manufacturer
  • Does not indicate the time frame for which the ‘authorized supplier status’ applies. This is dynamic enough to be an important piece of information and is important when looking back in time, such as verifying that a supplier was authorized at the time of a particular purchase.
  • Does not define what “authorized” means. Such a resource should adopt a specific definition, such as “franchised distributor” per AS5553, and apply mechanisms to ensure that the status reported here represents this definition, including validation by the OCM.

Enhancement Suggestion:

  • Support the ability to access this data through automated systems for procurement and supplier management.

I am interested to learn from others their candid assessment of the usefulness and accuracy of The Authorized Directory as well as thoughts on how such a resource could be improved and expanded.


The following was offered by Robin Gray, President, ECIA ….

Henry,

Thank you for sharing of copy of that article. ECIA and its inventory search website, www.eciaauthorized.com, have implemented or are working on many of the items discussed in the article.

Robin Gray

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2 thoughts on “Keeping Track of ‘Authorized Distributors’ – An Important Resource for Implementing a Trusted Supplier Approach

  1. Henry,
    Thanks for the great post.

    We’re always updating and enhancing the “Authorized Directory” website. (also accessible from the shorter URL: http://www.authorizeddirectory.com) We have just completed a major back-end overhaul for the database which will give even more control to individual semiconductor manufacturers. As their information changes, they’ll be able to go in via a secure, registerd log-in and make updates themselves or, as they’ve done in the past, they will be able to have us do these updates for them.

    Over the course of the next couple months the home page will also be getting a bit of a face lift.

    We’re working closely with the SIA and the ACTF (Anti-Counterfeit Task Force) to make this a useful tool for the industry. We appreciate the key support and information from people like Andrew Olney at Analog Devices and other manufacturers as well as the authorized distributors, themselves. We encourage comments and suggestions to make it even better!

    George Karalias
    Rochester Electronics

  2. This just in from ECIA…

    “John Denslinger of Murata talks about the advantages of ECIAauthorized.com”
    The ECIA’s “authorized only” electronic components inventory search site is “a bonus for everybody”, according to John Denslinger. Users can find manufacturers’ authorized products, from top distributors counterfeit-free on one central Web site. …

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