December 7, 2011

Why Working with an IDEA Member is a Great Idea

Have you ever seen an independent electronic components distributor touting its affiliation with a group called IDEA and wondered what that meant? What’s the big idea behind IDEA – and why should you care?

IDEA is the Independent Distributors of Electronics Association. This is a non-profit trade association whose mission is to enhance the quality of electronic products and services in the independent market, and to standardize the techniques and methods used to test and screen parts. Before IDEA was formed in 2003, each distributor had to rely on its own collected information and experiences while inspecting products for non conformance. Since its inception, IDEA has worked with quality leaders from many distributors to create the first reference manual of industry best practices and recommendations for inspecting and testing electronic components in the independent market.

This “standard,” Acceptability of Electronic Components Distributed in the Open Market, was updated earlier this year with the latest industry information (IDEA-STD-1010-B). STD-1010-B offers hundreds of new photos that help explain testing techniques, in addition to more than 400 example photos of acceptable versus nonconformance parts. This detailed electronic component inspection criteria, differentiated by product and package type, gives inspectors an enhanced ability to detect suspect parts from any region of the globe. In addition, the standard gives detailed provisions for managing test service providers and advanced inspection techniques. Any electronic component distributor can purchase copies online, and would be wise to do so, and follow its recommended guidelines.

Converge goes a step beyond simply following the recommended IDEA guidelines; we are also an IDEA member. Companies are accepted into membership only after meeting a long list of requirements and receiving a confirmation by the IDEA board of directors, which is comprised of a peer group. It is important to note that not every company that applies will be accepted. The standards are high.

This means that when you work with an IDEA member, you are guaranteed that the company, among other requirements:

Maintains a demonstrated, sophisticated, and continually improving Quality Management System (QMS).

Has incorporated IDEA-STD-1010: Acceptability of Electronic Components Distributed in the Open Market into its QMS.

Holds at a minimum both ISO 9001 and ANSI/ESD S20.20 certifications.

Maintains product liability insurance at a minimum of $1 million per incident and $2 million aggregate annually.

Has at least one (1) IDEA-ICE-3000 Certified Professional Inspector at each inspection location around the world. (Converge has more than 30.)

I would hope that those are the kinds of guarantees in a distribution partner that help supply chain managers sleep better at night. I know I would – especially knowing how many independent distributors there are who are NOT IDEA members. In today’s technology industry, you constantly have to ask yourself: who can you really trust? Working only with IDEA members just might be a great idea.

You can read the full list of IDEA membership requirements on the IDEA website.