We are privy to terms like food prices, water crisis, and even climate change crisis. Not many of us are aware of the concept of a supply chain crisis simply because we think it does not affect us directly; unless we are actively involved in manufactring or brand ownership ventures. The supply chain crisis is not simply a logistic problem anymore, it has the power to spark the beginning of revolution in global commerce.
The gradual return of business to normal post the onslaught of the pandemic has resulted in an increase in the demand for goods, leading to a big problem for the existing infrastructure. The high demand for goods as the world bounces back post-Covid-19 is adequately being managed in terms of production. The stakeholders are putting in place different measures to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
With an increase in demand for products during and post Covid-19, more and more people turned to online retailers and dishonest vendors, who in turn have filled the gap between the demand and supply with counterfeit goods. This has opened a new opportunity for counterfeiters across the globe. This crime of counterfeiting and the sale of fake products is not only affecting brands and manufacturers, but it is also making illicit money available to criminals.
Supply Chain Counterfeit Infilteration, a Universal Problem
It might not sound like a familiar concept but counterfeiting in the supply chain is a pervasive problem. There is hardly any industry that is not plagued with this threat. From electronic components to consumer goods, automobile parts, pharmaceuticals, to even wine, there is barely a sector that is untouched. While billions of dollars are lost to counterfeiting every year, this business of knockoffs equally poses life risks to consumers. It is sad but true that over 1 million people lose their lives to counterfeiting every year, and as much as $1.7 trillion is involved in global counterfeiting annually. Counterfeit goods cost global brands more than $232 billion in 2018.
Counterfeited Parts are Difficult to Identify
Safeguarding parts from being exploited by counterfeiters in the supply chain of goods is indeed difficult, it is however not an impossible task. Since there is no centralized entity or system capable of dealing with counterfeit items and neither government agencies nor law enforcement authorities are up to the task, it falls on vendors to secure shipments of their goods and components. For instance, it is widely known that China is one of the world’s leading sources of counterfeit goods, and despite attempts of regular crackdowns by the govenrment, the problem persists as there are no central policing authorities that can monitor the shipment of goods.
Another reason behind counterfeits seeping into supply chains is the lack of a mechanism to access the quality of exported goods. Knock offs are very often passed off as quality goods; It is a common practice to see factories where Grade A goods are originally manufactured instead get involved in the production of lower-grade goods. Such low-grade parts are often passed off as quality products without the knowledge of even those managing the supply chain, who remain completely oblivious to the goods being fake.
The Importance of Securing Supply Chains
Securing supply chains goes beyond just protecting the reputation of a brand and its products. Yes, a secure supply chain is indeed important for a brand, for customer satisfaction, and to increase the brand’s value.
Counterfeiters do not shy away from selling fake parts even to energy sectors for nuclear facilities, the military for weapon systems, and the aircraft industry for navigation systems. We cannot even dare to imagine the kind of loss to human life that would be incurred if a single fake component in one of these areas fail to function. Besides, the monies from such unscrupulous activities go on to fund terrorism and other global crimes.
Brand Protection Technologies to the Rescue of Counterfeiting in the Supply Chain
It can be hard to identify counterfeit parts that enter the supply chain of goods, but the mission can be accomplished with an effective brand protection solution. We understand that there is no direct way to police counterfeiters, hence the best possible solution would be to be able to track the manufactured goods. The creation of a secure ecosystem for authenticating goods which is easily accessible is the need of the hour.
There are umpteen brand protection solutions in the market, but only a few are accurate and impregnable. Cypheme is one such new-age solution that several brands have been vouching for since its inception in 2015. Cypheme manufactures labels that can be affixed on the product as well as the packaging. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, these labels hold a very high level of accuracy and are very simple to use.
Our technology allows anyone to check whether a product is real or fake with just a picture taken with the smartphone. Immediately after taking the picture of the label, it is sent to the server for analysis and within seconds one can establish with certainty if the product is genuine or fake. It is a game-changer enabled with a fingerprint that is impossible to replicate. Anyone can check it as many times as they want without damaging the product. The authenticity of the product can be checked at every step and everyone along the distribution channel can check the authenticity of the product. Enabled with geo-mapping, the labels can provide a direct overview of the distribution and the proportion of fakes in the market that allow the brands to counterattack with legal actions.
The tiny labels can be easily affixed on small parts and prevent them from getting counterfeited. While brand protection technology is a must-have for brands, both large and small, it is equally indispensable for manufacturers who produce small parts. This effort will go a long way in securing products and fool-proofing the supply chain crisis.
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