Securing the Physical & Digital Worlds

August 11, 2021

Securing the Physical & Digital Worlds

Assure product integrity and legitimacy with the right solution

By Garth Zambory

Threats to product integrity and authenticity are more rampant than ever today. The International Chamber of Commerce’s Intellectual Property Roadmap 2020 noted that the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed global businesses and has created the most negative effect on supply chain security in history—providing opportunities for nefarious actors to take advantage of the rise in demand and increased shortages to execute vast counterfeiting. And corporations aren’t the only ones worried about product security right now: 70% of consumers have expressed concerns that the pandemic will increase sales of counterfeit or substandard goods.

Non-legitimate goods can be dangerous to buyers, and counterfeiting can affect even well-known brands. For instance, in a famous case in 2004, 18-year-old Timothy Fagan was prescribed an anemia drug following a liver transplant. He obtained Epogen from CVS, which had purchased the medication from AmerisourceBergen—but the pharma distributor also purchased drugs from secondary sources. Two shipments of medication Fagan received were counterfeit, with 1/20th of the strength indicated on the label, which may have delayed his recovery. This is only one of many stories of counterfeit goods causing harm.

In today’s complex threat landscape, the responsibility to provide customers with authentic products lies squarely in the hands of companies. The following are four ways to protect product integrity and ensure legitimacy.

According to a GEODIS survey,

62% of companies worldwide

said they have limited visibility of their supply chain.

Track and Trace Products Down to the Individual Level

Today’s high-volume, high-velocity manufacturing operations span across a complex supply chain, with numerous factories and distributors located around the world. Without visibility into this supply chain, companies open themselves up to product or component compromise—both intentional and accidental. A GEODIS survey revealed that 62% of companies worldwide said they have limited visibility of their supply chain and 15% only had visibility of production. Just 6% reported full visibility, and 17% said they have extended supply chain visibility.

Manufacturers that employ advanced traceability technology—like product security and traceability solution ProLinc®—gain visibility into product genealogy using serialized identities affixed to each good. This allows organizations to ensure product integrity, quality, and compliance is upheld for every component, product, and batch in circulation. In addition, they can identify when batches fall off the supply chain in order to shut down points of compromise before they become established areas of gray market diversion.

Leverage High Velocity Data and Insights

Organizations must not only acquire and compile data surrounding their products, they must use this data to gain actionable insights and make important decisions. When data is siloed, organizations lack the product data required to rapidly identify and resolve instances of product compromise. If an issue is identified in the supply chain, it also takes more time to resolve, which can be costly from both a bottom line and customer trust perspective. Gartner research found that poor data quality can be responsible for an average of $15 million per year in losses. When it comes to lost revenue due to counterfeiting, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) 2019 report revealed that the international trade in counterfeit and pirated products was at $509 billion in 2016—3.3% of world trade. By allowing customers to easily check the authenticity of products prior to purchase, organizations can minimize counterfeiting, protecting both consumer health and brand prestige.

In order to meet consumers’ expectations for quality and legitimacy, brands must be able to leverage high velocity data to oversee and make decisions related to their products. Secure, Blockchain-enabled databases can provide companies with relevant information on product genealogy and granular-level data, with a single, secure record of product and component-level data for remote, real-time access. A solution like ProLinc® can scale to the billions, delivering a highly-detailed digital genealogy down to the individual component, giving new insight to every product in circulation. Data is also easily and instantly accessible in order to maintain compliance and deliver requested information to government agencies at a moment’s notice.

Use Tamper-Evident Printing Techniques and Capabilities

Counterfeiting, product tampering, and gray market diversions threaten the well-being of consumers and the reputation of organizations in every industry. Beyond protecting a products digital identity, it is critical to include tamper-evident elements that allow consumers to identify if a product has been compromised. For instance, in the food and beverage industry, the FDA notes that there is an increasing possibility of food tampering, and details ways consumers can protect themselves against it.

Companies must ensure their products have tamper-evident printing and high-security labels that ensure the legitimacy and safety of their products. At Ashton Potter, we pair nearly a century of printing expertise with our ProLinc® product security technology to protect both a product’s physical and digital identity. Through forensic techniques, custom print solutions are utilized to withstand even the most advanced counterfeiting attempts. By affixing serialized, tamper-resistant elements to products and documents, organizations can stop malicious agents in their tracks, all while gaining greater visibility and control than ever before.

Secure Products and Ensure Integrity with Ashton Potter

At Ashton Potter, we offer various capabilities that ensure product security from the supplier all the way to the consumer. Through the marriage of ProLinc® advanced product security and traceability technology and high-security printing, we offer complete product serialization and authentication for every item across the global supply chain.

Speak with an expert today to learn more about how our secure labels and traceability solutions help organizations assure product integrity and legitimacy.