Counterfeit parts

Several customer organizations and consumers face huge threats from counterfeit / spurious / suspect parts as part of the products they engage with. The risks are enormous and cover health and safety, property damage, damage to the ecosystem and even the very fundamentals of sustainable development. Organizations supplying parts are expected to address:

  • Training of personnel in the awareness and prevention of counterfeit parts
  • Application of a parts obsolescence monitoring programme
  • Controls for acquiring externally provided product from original or authorized manufacturers, authorized distributors, or other approved source
  • Requirements for assuring traceability of parts and components to their original or authorized manufacturers
  • Verification and test methodologies to detect counterfeit parts
  • Monitoring of counterfeit parts reporting from external sources
  • Quarantine and reporting of suspect or detected counterfeit parts

Counterfeit Part:


A part in which there is an indication by visual inspection, testing, or other information, that it may have been misrepresented by the supplier or manufacturer.

Suspect Part:

A suspect part that is a copy or substitute without legal right or authority to do so or one whose material, performance, or characteristics are knowingly misrepresented by a supplier in the supply chain.

Examples of counterfeit parts:

  • Parts which do not contain the proper internal construction consistent with the ordered part
  • Parts which have been used, refurbished or reclaimed, but represented as new product
  • Parts which have different package style or surface plating / finish than the ordered parts
  • Parts which have not successfully completed the OEM's full production and test flow, but are represented as completed product
  • Parts sold as upscreened parts, which have not successfully completed upscreening
  • Parts sold with modified labelling or markings intended to misrepresent the part's form, fit, function or grade
  • Parts which have been refinished, upscreened, or uprated, and have been identified as such, are not considered counterfeit

Controls on Purchasing to prevent counterfeit parts

The suppliers of material or services are evaluated and selected based on their ability to supply product or services that meets requirements and their risk levels of supplying counterfeit parts.

Where possible, parts are always purchased directly from Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) or from manufacturer's authorized suppliers. Independent distributors are used only after consideration of alternate parts and a reasonable search for material from franchised/authorized sources has been conducted and approval has been obtained from the quality / supply chain / customer entities.

Various precautions to prevent counterfeit parts include:

  • Marking inspection
  • Verify engraving / etching / tagging or silk-screening type
  • Check for component wear
  • Component is compared to a photograph of the approved component
  • Radiographic / microscopic inspections
  • Others, as applicable

Supplier's approval and source selection considerations include:

  • The supplier’s third party certifications
  • Approval status on the customers’ vendor lists
  • Length of time the supplier has been in business
  • Previous claims, notices on the supplier, as known from media, markets
  • Membership in associations with rigorous business, ethical, and quality standards intended to avoid acquiring and reselling counterfeit goods

Verification of Purchased Product / Part / Material

  • Obtaining objective evidence of the quality of the product from suppliers through documentation, certificate of conformity, test reports etc.
  • Inspection or audit at the supplier's premises
  • Review of required documentation
  • Visual inspection, X-ray, non-destructive evaluation and destructive testing

Actions on detection of counterfeit items

  • Treating these as non conforming products and deal with as per procedure.
  • Upon mutual agreement, destruction of the material to render it unusable in any form and documentary evidence provided to the supplier
  • Return material to the supplier and request evidence of disposition to prevent re-entry into the supply chain
  • Reporting the incident to any agencies / bodies about the incident in order that other users at large may become aware of the existence of the material in question and review their own supply chain for any risks as applicable