Fake Certifications: The Industry’s Dark Secret

If I asked you what a certification was, you might reply, “It’s that piece of paper that I sometimes receive from the metal finisher along with my parts,” and in saying that, you wouldn’t be wrong. However, that’d be like saying your college degree is simply “that piece of paper you hang up on your wall.” Start peeling back the layers, and you’ll see that there is much more substance behind the powerful little document.

A certification is a legal, documented statement from a supplier which confirms that they have met the requirements outlined by Military, Aerospace, and/or other specifications. These requirements involve mandatory testing, process control, and audits from third party organizations. These requirements are not optional, cannot be performed after certifications have been issued, and are not open to interpretation.

The substance to any specification lies in the testing involved. This testing process ensures two very important things: quality and consistency. Testing can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive. For these reasons, surprisingly (and illegally), testing is often bypassed, incomplete, or even worse, forged. This becomes a problem when OEM’s ask for documentation backing up the certifications, or when there is a product failure. Failure to produce accurate testing documents can lead to field recalls, suspension from approved vendor lists, and in some cases, lawsuits. These types of fake certifications are much more common in the industry than people realize; and it is, unfortunately, your duty as a company to ensure that the paperwork you are receiving is an honest representation of reality.

How can you and your company ensure that the paper you are receiving from your metal finisher is legitimate? Request the testing record history regarding the certification you received. Testing records should be available in a reasonable amount of time from the date of request. Records should represent all testing requirements of the specification being certified 1) during the time the certification was issued and 2) during the the time the product was processed.

A certification is much more than a piece of paper– it is an assurance that your product meets a level of quality demanded by your customers and developed by the World’s greatest organizations. The evidence of this quality is proven by meeting the requirements of many strict procedures. Without testing, a certification means nothing. As a purchasing agent, you have a responsibility to do your due diligence to ensure a vendor is able to back up the certifications that they issue.

At JMD Industries, we take our certifications, testing requirements, and ethics seriously. Between our in-house laboratory, and independent testing laboratories, you can stay confident in knowing that mandatory testing has been performed and specification criteria met. We take pride in our experience from the past 40 years of metal finishing, and we will continue to provide our customers with a product that meets and exceeds their expectations.

This article was written by James Dedeus and co-authored by Jeff Chabot; edited by TJ Jessep.

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James DeDeus
James has been the President of JMD Industries since 2002. His tenure; deep trade and industry knowledge; and trade expertise makes him well-suited to lead a rapidly evolving, forward-thinking company like JMD Industries.

Driven to increase revenue, lower costs, and improve customer satisfaction, he has surrounded himself with one the strongest management teams in the industry. This management team is implementing cutting edge process control, improved quality, and industry innovation. The evolution of the company has caught the eyes of the world’s biggest domestic and international Aerospace corporations.

James graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1997 and resides in New Hampshire’s seacoast with his wife and three children.