At Northern Telecom everybody hated the Components Engineering department. But I saw many times where they would assist and educate a young and green engineer who didn't understand how to specify components.
One of my favourites was when the quartz-crystal engineer had to educate some designers that crystal load capacitances were standardized and they couldn't just pick any value they liked.
Another time a colleague had to have a resistor go through the full qualification process, lasting several months. While that resistor family was widely used in the company that *value* had never been used before. He was told they couldn't expidite the process.
When Nortel started to collapse, Components Engineering were one of the first groups to be cut. High management figured that function could be performed by the contract manufacturers then being brought in. Bad mistake on top of another, and everyone knows the company's end result.
As with most things the Component Engineering function is a question of balance.
Considering the needs of Engineering, Sourcing, Quality, Test, Manufacturing, Field Service, Marketing and Manufacturer/Vendor.
Maintaining appropriate & consistent levels of quality.
Overall cost of component (initial price, long term price trending, quality, defect rate, short and long term availability, toxicity, ease of use, end of life terms, alternate sources that are form, fit & function compliant, agency approvals, industy standard, etc..).
Does the component lifecycle match your product life? Does the manufacturer discontinue almost as many components as they release?
Engineering investments in currently used components such as firmware, software, design expertise, mechanicals, unique functionality, regulatory compliance...
Fostering awareness of component lifecycles for various product areas, industrial, consumer, hi-rel, automotive, wireless, etc..
Online avalability of comprehensive component information, complete part number, data sheet, package dimensions, tape and reel dwg, pricing, inventory, sample ordering, lifecycle, levels of information provided that does not necessitate a call or email to manufactuer that is diverted to voicemail or answered by automated email away message.
My favorite manufacturer is those that meet all of the above and tries to understand the customer products and personalties, provide appropriate product information in a passive, effective manner, does not hound via phone calls, spam, unplanned visits. Does not feel the need to provide cheap pens that require 110 lbs of pressure to expel ink or conversely leak, various sizes of calenders, and other personalized landfill garbage from China.
I'm also available for hire, Componentengineering@yahoo.com
You take an adversarial approach. What you call "Component Police" is actually just using good design practice while noticing that the product has to ship. "Favored Vendors" are the ones who deliver product to production in time to meet customer requirements. It also helps to be cost effective so we can pay overheads including ourselves.
I once looked at switching a diode package which would help design for manufacture. It turned out the desired component which was an industry standard was 26 weeks lead time when we had 250K of the other in stock. I did not change it and kept my friends in purchasing and logistics still as friends.