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4 Methods to Stop the Rise of Counterfeit Aircraft Parts

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Aircraft in a hangar for maintenance

When you are accountable for corporate, private, or commercial aircraft management safety and trust are the most important factors. Owners, operators, and passengers need to trust your management and service. The primary way to establish and grow that trust is through transparency and consistency in your aircraft and service operations, and counterfeit aircraft parts pose a significant risk.

The rise in counterfeit aircraft parts entering the supply chain is a major threat to safety. In addition to the economic impact on suppliers (counterfeit products bypass required safety testing making them cheaper to sell, thus undercutting the authentic parts), there is the terrifying danger a faulty part poses to the passengers and crew.

Aerospace Manufacturing and Design notes, “According to an FAA estimate, about 520,000 counterfeit or unapproved parts are currently making it into planes annually, which is about 2% of the overall 26 million active parts.”. The highly specialized aerospace industry is ripe for fraud due to a high volume of parts sold at a low margin. As aircraft age it becomes more and more difficult for distributors to stock all the necessary parts to keep them operational. Time is money when you are trying to keep resources in flight and not grounded due to service or maintenance.

Thankfully, many supply chain and manufacturing innovations are improving the transparency and resiliency needed to support aircraft operations in an increasingly complex and risky environment. Many are using these key methods.

Blockchain Can Dramatically Improve Aircraft Part Traceability

According to Deloitte, “Using blockchain in the supply chain can help participants record price, date, location, quality, certification and other relevant information to more effectively manage the supply chain.”. Starting with bitcoin in the financial services industry, use of blockchain technology is expanding into other areas. Leverage this technology to digitize your aircraft parts storage and warehouse management and improve visibility and communications between manufacturers, distributors, and service departments.

Blockchain technology allows all this product data to be easily stored, managed, and audited. When thinking about trust and transparency required in this industry, imagine the impact of having key data points about all your aircraft parts at your fingertips and easily reportable to stakeholders.

Implement Durable Asset Identification Solutions

There are millions of parts that are essential to operating your aircraft. The secure management of these parts considers countless variables including size, material, use and quantity. One way to simplify this complex task is to use asset tags that can withstand any condition and adhere consistently to many materials. Camcode asset tags and nameplates offer extremely durable asset identification and can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

Additionally, Camcode’s experts will help you identify the best assortment of tags and technology for your asset management needs. These tags perform in temperature-controlled environments, and some photosensitive anodized aluminum tags have expected life spans of over twenty years.

Enhance Your Organization’s Third-Party Risk Management Program

Organizations have a varied approach to third-party risk management, but a comprehensive solution that could help eliminate counterfeit products from entering your inventory would include sourcing, contract management, supplier management and purchasing management.

In these programs, suppliers are assessed and prioritized based on their level of risk to the company. In the complex aviation industry parts suppliers and distributors would be regularly evaluated on their manufacturing practices, certifications, quality assurance reports, and even 4th and nth party compliance.

Risk management teams use risk assessors, governance processes, and integrated technology solutions to evaluate, monitor, and onboard suppliers. Establishing this type of program enables operations to run more smoothly and ensure your aircraft management is compliant with all government and industry regulations. Time invested in setting up this program could prevent untold costs associated with passenger and operator safety, litigation, and financial and reputational impacts due to poor parts performance.

Get the Right Operations Support and Expert Insight

In this complex supply chain, it’s important to leverage the expertise of your partners. Camcode is an excellent resource to guide you on the journey of improving the security of your asset management and parts programs, offering durable Metalphoto® asset tag and barcode label solutions certified to meet regulatory requirements and specifications across many industries, such as defense, government, manufacturing, and aerospace. Eliminating risks from counterfeit parts is possible. Consider all the tools and partners available when creating your action plan, and make sure you have an experienced and reliable support team.

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