Protecting Your Supply Chain from Counterfeit Products

Counterfeiting is a growing and pervasive problem across all industries. However, in the electronics, consumer products, food, pharmaceutical, medical devices, aerospace, defense, and automotive industries it is particularly frightening because it threatens consumer health and safety, as well as corporate profits and brand equity. Counterfeiting is increasing worldwide, with counterfeiters using increasingly more sophisticated techniques and consumers purchasing more goods online. The value of counterfeit products was expected to reach $1 trillion globally in 2010, according to the International Chamber of Commerce and World Customs Organization.

Use of Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection (ABP) technologies and methodologies is especially important for manufacturers if counterfeit versions of their products could pose a risk to consumer health or safety; compromise brand equity; result in lost revenues; or increase their liability risks. It is very difficult for legitimate manufacturers to keep pace with the increasingly sophisticated techniques and methodologies counterfeiters are employing.

Here are some of the current trends ARC sees in this area:

  • The market for ABP technologies is growing; the US government has found that counterfeiting and economic improvements increase in parallel and will continue to increase as the economy improves into 2011.  Therefore, the need for manufacturers to add more ABP technologies and techniques will increase.
  • The Internet is one of the largest drivers for counterfeit products – and this trend will continue.
  • More and more companies are forming dedicated brand protection teams focused on deterring counterfeits through the supply chain. Companies can no longer rely on disparate organizations to tackle this problem.
  • In an effort to secure their supply chains, companies are becoming more focused in how they deploy ABP technologies, methodologies, and strategies.
  • The volume of products stolen along the supply chain (such as in tractor-trailers) is on the rise.
  • Along with ABP, the industry is seeing an increase in the number and volume of recalled or diverted products; these problems need to be addressed using similar strategies, technologies, and methodologies.

Based on these trends, ARC does not believe that it will be possible for manufacturers to keep up with the increase in counterfeit products and maintain the security of their supply chains without addressing ABP in a multi-faceted fashion with focused brand protection teams and continuous vigilance, improvements, communication and updates.

ARC is hosting an Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection Workshop and seminar February 7-8 at our 15th Annual Executive World Industry Forum in Orlando, FL. This is a must-attend event if you’re interested in learning more about the latest strategies, tactics, approaches, risks and technologies for securing your supply chains against counterfeit or diverted products. Session speakers include:

  • Dennis Fetting, National Program Manager and Senior Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations, US Department of Homeland Security
  • Ron Guido, Vice President, Global Brand Protection & Supply Chain Integrity, Johnson and Johnson
  • Camilla Herron, Brand Protection Manager, Monster Cable Products
  • Martin Kenner, Global Technical Director, Security Systems Division, 3M
  • Eduardo Salas González, Project Manager, British American Tobacco
  • Craig Casto, Global Leader for RFID, GPS, Auto ID, Dow Chemical Company

Visit the website for the complete list of speakers and registration details. You can also contact me directly at if you have any questions or comments.

I hope to see you in Orlando!

Janice Abel is a principal consultant in ARC’s regulated industry group. She performs research and provides consulting services for ARC’s clients in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, food, beverages, consumer packaged goods, and other regulated industries.

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