NOVEMBER, 2011. How is it running a woman-owned business in a predominantly male industry?
If we spent our time focusing on what we are not, then we would lose focus of what we are: business people who happen to be women. If there are men who feel that women are not their equal, it’s time to pony up for change. Women are your equal and some surpass your abilities. It all boils down to the person, not the sex. To other women, I say “Jump in and don’t give up.” “No” is not in the dictionary of business.
How great is the incidence of components obsolescence in the mil-aero industry?
Obsolescence of critical components has been a problem for many years. It is even more common now, as the life cycle for most components has shortened. Component obsolescence will never become an issue of the past. We will always be a step behind the technology that goes into our systems. In the mil-aero industry, we are usually many steps behind.
Demand for obsolete product can spark products to be counterfeited. If we see a high demand for certain products, counterfeiters target these products.
This threat is very real. Bad components can lead to defective products, and defective products in the hands of our service men and women is not an option. For the sake of public safety, we need to keep counterfeit components out of our airplanes.
The scary part is: As we get better in our fight against counter-feit product, the counterfeiters get better at counterfeiting.
How can component counter-feiting be avoided or overcome?
I don’t think we will overcome this issue. Counterfeiting is a huge business. There is too much money being made and too much greed. Companies can avoid it and limit their risk if they are buying from suppliers that have a detailed quality management system (QMS) and counterfeit-detection program.
Responsible companies should treat all product procured from the open market as “high risk” if traceability to the original component manufacturer (OCM) is not available.
Companies purchasing product must know who they are buying from, make site visits, and verify that the vendor has an adequate QMS in place.
What would you say to suppliers who think QMS and combating counterfeit parts is too expensive?
Necessity is the beast. I have been in this industry for over 24 years, so I have adapted to many changes. This is by far the most complicated and costly change.
If a company wants to be a viable supplier to those in the mil-aero industry, you must be willing to adapt to this change and make sure your customers know that what you ship is exactly what they ordered.
This is not a game, people’s lives could be at stake and billions of dollars are being lost.
NAME: Allison Levine
TITLE: President and CEO
CO.: Stock-Point Electronics Inc.
ROLE: Woman-owned stocking distributor of electronic components, supplying obsolete and end-of-life components.