Did you know that Converge is one of the top three independent distributors that have more IDEA-ICE-3000 certified component inspectors than anyone else? We currently have 59 certified inspectors on staff. Most distributors have between one and six.
Why does Converge have so many certified inspectors? There are a few reasons: our large size, our multiple locations around the globe, and, above all, our strong commitment to ensuring quality in every order we process. Every Converge inspector is required to undergo IDEA-ICE-3000 certification upon being hired.
Tony Tillman, a Converge distribution specialist since 1999, was one of the first inspectors to go through the certification process when the program was first introduced. He highlights that the rigorous steps required for certification are meant to identify inspectors who have a higher level of training and experience in the electronic components industry.
“Getting certified is a multi-part process,” Tillman recalls. “First you take a pretest about standard information such as electrostatic discharge protocols and moisture sensitivity levels for electronic components. Then you undergo training for both receiving and shipping inspections. Then there is a 100-plus question test.” He points to a foot-high stack of manuals that people use to study for the exam. “You have to know all the industry reference standards, manufacturer labels, inspection protocols … it’s pretty intense. It really requires a combination of book knowledge and real-world electronics experience.”
Tillman is one of many who believe the IDEA-ICE-3000 certification has changed the independent distribution industry for the better. “The fact that our inspectors are all certified is a big selling point for Converge customers,” he says. “They know exactly what the certification stands for. Back when I started, each company just had its own quality process standards for electronic component inspection, so customers had to take their word that inspectors were well trained.”
“It’s also a matter of personal pride for the inspectors,” he adds. “Along with the engineers, we are equally responsible for making sure there are no discrepancies with these very expensive shipments. We are professionals following a scientific process. The certification says that we’re not just guessing about this … we know what we’re doing. And we’re certified by an independent agency.”
Once Converge inspectors are certified, they continue regular training to stay up to date with new industry standards and updates in counterfeit detection techniques. In addition, each inspector’s certification must be renewed through retesting every two years. To see the latest number of IDEA-ICE-3000 certified professional inspectors at IDEA-member companies, you can visit the IDEA website.