Electronic Component Traceability

Recently, there have been numerous articles and guidelines published to help the electronics community understand and avoid suspect materials.  As a trusted electronics project management service provider, we source, procure and kit for PCB assemblies while protecting our customer’s product.  
We’ve recently incorporated a couple steps to our processes; our 25 year reputation is worth a little added effort!
Rule 1.  Buy components only through Authorized Distribution and/or the Manufacturer.  
If a component is obsolete or cannot be crossed and we are forced to go to an Independent Distributor or a Broker, we proceed very cautiously.  The customer is given the opportunity to approve the source, request component testing, or provide another solution.
Rule 2.  All components received, despite the source, are counted and then visually inspected.  
The inspection includes the part markings, the condition of the component and the packaging.  Distributors warehouse staff can make mistakes; wrong part being shipped under the ordered part number have been found.  This bit of detective work is aided by using a good digital microscope and the manufacturer’s datasheet to confirm the part ordering number with the part received; verifying the part marking.
Rule 3.  Handle components following the ANSI/ESD S20.20 – 2007 Standard.  
Internal procedures should validate the working environment and ensure confidence in the ability to avoid an ESD event during handling.
Rule 4.  Distributor’s and manufacturer’s package labeling or documentation will include the lot code/date code of the components and other valuable traceability information.
Retain this information for determined length of time (a minimum of 12 months).  This proof of traceability to the manufacturer is valuable should a component not perform to specifications.
Avoiding counterfeit materials is becoming quite a challenge.  I believe the customer who chooses to outsource the procurement of electronic components deserves and expects the highest level of confidence in the end product.
If you have found additional processes which can help in the avoidance of counterfeit components, please share them with me.  cherie@cic-inc.comor (530) 626-6168.