Buyer Beware

This is the first blog for a while, too long! I can only say that with not enough time to write a blog, we have not been sitting idling our time away, by a sun-kissed pool, more’s the pity.

A sign of getting older is I now have two children that are allowed on the roads, my daughter has started to learn to drive, a little later than she wanted, and there hangs a tale. I like to think that I am reasonably tech literate, I can just about find my way around the internet, I manage our website day-to-day and I use social media tools both for business and socially. I am not going to get scammed, or so I thought!

Picture this, another Sunday at home, catching/keeping up with the workload for the Business; it is my daughter’s birthday and she is desperate to learn to drive, I take a few minutes away from process writing to help her apply for her provisional license. I went through the search engine and went to a site, with a URL containing DVLA, great I thought, they have a dedicated site for new drivers, and off we clicked. The layout of this site containing DVLA, but not the DVLA, was very much in line with the DVLA’s website; three vehicles in the family, I know what it looks like! We went through the questions, to be told that she was eligible for a provisional license and that will be £50 please, I paid up and went back to my process writing.

We waited and the application was returned, saying we had not sent in the correct amount, which was the polite way of saying nothing! When we questioned the DVLA, it appears that I logged on to a website that “checks” your application, nothing more and for that, this website containing DVLA charge the same as the DVLA. After this self-induced delay, she will start to learn to drive.

So how does this tale of misfortune relate to airworthiness and maintenance of aircraft? In fact, it has applicability in two distinct areas:

Human Factors – people get tired, people see what they want to see, and not necessarily what is there. Reference to the DVLA was enough for me to part with my money

False Representation – this website purported to be something it was not, a bit like counterfeit aircraft parts. They are reported as OEM parts but are not.

One of our projects this summer, has to work with an MRO organisation transitioning from military only support to supporting commercial aviation as well. They have, due in part to their history, a comprehensive vendor management and supplier management programme, some parts of their business are complaining that the processes involved in approving a new vendor are onerous and time-consuming – my response has been, keep the processes as they are. If people find it onerous now, they should think what the position would be if there was an incident attributable to a counterfeit part?

Whilst I can understand a drive for success and financial reward, I will never understand those people who deliberately produce and market counterfeit parts, for them to still be available, means that some MROs are deliberately choosing counterfeit over original parts – the choice may not always a conscious decision, they too may have fallen for false claims, their processes are not rigorous enough when dealing with suppliers.

Buyer Beware!