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The Importance of Quality Control in Electronic Components Supply Chain

Dec. 12, 2023
Standing at the forefront of technological innovation, the electronics industry takes quality control very seriously.

Sponsored By: Chip 1 

Quality control—a set of procedures that ensure that a manufactured product or service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria, and/or meets the customer’s requirements in this area—plays a critical role in the electronic components supply chain. Quality control not only ensures product reliability, performance and safety, but it also helps organizations preserve their brand reputations, reduce costs (e.g., those associated with defective products) and improves customer satisfaction. 

Quality control is especially crucial in the electronic components sector, where faulty electronic components may pose serious safety hazards that range from malfunctions to fires to electrical shocks. Defective components also add to the world’s growing e-waste problem. Every year, the world currently generates around 40 million tons of electronic waste, which comprises 70% of global toxic waste. 

At the Forefront
The electronics industry stands at the forefront of technological innovation, powering the devices that shape our daily lives. “Behind the scenes, an intricate supply chain ensures the seamless flow of electronic components from manufacturers to end users,” Sejal Desai writes in The Top 5 Challenges in Electronics Supply Chains. “However, this supply chain is not without its challenges.”
 
For example, maintaining the integrity of the electronics supply chain is crucial to ensuring the reliability and safety of electronic devices. “Quality assurance is a paramount concern, yet the rise of counterfeit electronic components poses a significant threat,” Desai points out. 

“Counterfeit components not only compromise the performance of electronic devices but also pose serious safety risks,” she continues. “Identifying and mitigating these risks requires stringent quality control measures, including thorough vetting of suppliers, implementing robust authentication processes, and collaborating with industry organizations to combat counterfeiting.”
 
Building Blocks
As the building blocks of modern technology, electronic components must operate reliably to ensure proper functioning of everything from cards to smartphones to medical devices. Quality control doesn’t just prevent problems; it also helps manufacturers make better products and:

•    Determine product longevity: “Companies want to determine how long their items will be useful to the end customer so that they can provide warranty protection,” James Garner writes in Key Quality Control Methods in Electronics Manufacturing. “…it might be expensive if the items fail before they should. Quality control guarantees that the consumer continues to use the product for the duration of its warranty.”

•    Prevent costly product recalls: “Without an effective quality control system, [manufacturers] risk sending out products that are not only defective but also hazardous,” Garner writes as he refers to a time several years ago when companies had to recall lithium-powered devices due to their tendency to catch fire. 

•    Maintain compliance: Quality control is mandatory for companies that must comply with government regulations. “Medical and automotive industries sometimes have strict quality control standards since the product output may affect someone’s life,” Garner points out. 

•    Manage risk: Garner says that a risk management strategy should be included in all quality control plans. “This will allow you to concentrate your quality control efforts on the most critical aspects of your product,” he adds. “Risk management identifies issues before they become damaging to the production process.”

Ensuring Factory-Original Condition
Quality control is paramount at Chip 1 Exchange, where our quality control inspection ensures that all packaging, labels and components conform with the OEM’s specifications. Using a 200X magnification process, we also ensure factory-original condition of each component. We use x-ray testing to inspect the internal dye to verify the component’s authenticity, and an acetone verification test to make sure all component markings are consistent with the OEM’s specifications.  

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