A 9100 approved aerospace parts manufacturer recently called me, and I spoke to “Dave”. His company produced brackets and fixings for a distributor but is not told either the end-use or user. He was concerned about counterfeit parts.

Dave had an issue sourcing material and didn’t want to let his customer down. Therefore, he sourced stainless steel from a new supplier who held no accreditations.  Dave did have a batch sample checked by a UKAS Lab. It was the right grade, but the paperwork lacked traceability. The supplier had a good credit rating but the buyer hadn’t audited them. The supplier may not meet the requirements of the quality system and this worried Dave.

I said it doesn’t sound great. He said that the parts would be covered by a manufacturing Certificate of Conformity.

You can’t approve supply on a good credit rating alone. I explained that Dave would not be able to produce a 9100 C of C because he had failed to manage a supplier to clause 8.4. This was a requirement of the customer. The customer and authorities may see production a C of C like this as counterfeit. Dave didn’t know if the parts would have any criticality and this activity would allow suspect material  to enter the supply chain in breach of clause 8.1.4. Moreover, he couldn’t know if the material had been compromised prior to supply.

Dave hadn’t realized that this could be so serious. He had already purchased the material by now and committed a recovery date to the customer.

The good thing was that the quality system won out. Dave sought expert advice because he felt things weren’t quite in alignment with his procedures. No suspected counterfeit parts entered the supply chain. The customer received genuine parts, albeit late.