There are plenty of reasons why companies need anti-counterfeit technology to protect their brand, so the primary challenge is deciding on the correct type of product protection because not every software includes similar features and integration capabilities.
The risk of counterfeit merchandise harming a business’s reputation is substantial without protections in place. Unfortunately, implementing those technologies is becoming more challenging to create a holistic solution from the initial component suppliers to the ware’s final assembly, packaging, and shipping. Criminals can ply their trade with few consequences without sound defenses in place since they have everything to gain by outwitting companies that still lag behind their peers.
What is product protection?
Product protection is the general term that the anti-counterfeiting industry uses to explain the outcome of deploying state-of-the-art safeguards. Unlike simple verification strategies, this school of thought takes a holistic, 360-degree view of the counterfeiting problem and adds technology where appropriate. Indeed, fake wares reaching the market remain a significant risk worldwide despite increased coordination between manufacturers, distributors, and the law enforcement authorities that seize fake imports.
No matter how you parse the data and search for exceptions, the situation’s bottom line is clear: counterfeiters are persistent criminals who constantly adjust and fine-tune their tactics, techniques, and procedures. Some fraudsters use more sophisticated capabilities than companies realize and can replicate legitimate goods so closely you can’t tell with the naked eye which item is fake and which is authentic.
Thus, companies rely on certain technologies alongside a clear strategy to stop criminals before consumers inadvertently purchase inauthentic goods. If they do, the damage to a brand’s reputation can be difficult, if not impossible, to repair once customers start to question their perceptions of the business; however, there’s also a brand protection component to keep in mind.
The whole reason why fraudsters go through the trouble of faking goods is to take advantage of a company’s hard-earned success. That’s one reason why apparel is a prime target because consumers rarely question the authenticity if purchased from a trustworthy retailer.
Common synonyms for product protection
Among others, common synonyms for these systems and strategies include terms like brand protection or anti-counterfeiting programs. Companies have used anti-counterfeiting measures for competitive differentiation because these strategies and technologies work well and come at a reasonable cost. The only caveat is that the high-level design needs to proceed with the tactical deployment of IT resources.
Notwithstanding those similarities, the same principles hold: product protection entails more than new IT solutions because it needs to consider everything. Furthermore, the existing systems used to enable the safeguards go by various names, such as:
- Physical brand protection
- Anti-fraud technology
- Anti-counterfeit packaging
- Security labels
- Brand verification and protection
- Brand protection solutions
Most of those terms refer to the underlying technology, yet you can also categorize them as a type of defense. Without anti-counterfeit measures, your business’s value can gradually diminish for no discernible reason unless you account for fake items reaching customers, which brings us to the benefits.
What are the benefits of deploying these types of systems?
When companies gain trust, it’s far easier to grow the business and perform basic marketing campaigns. But if fraudulent items abound in the open market, the challenge becomes nearly insurmountable because no amount of consumer outreach and advertisements can change a lousy reputation for lackluster quality. Customers may genuinely believe that a business doesn’t care about safety, quality, or authenticity in a worst-case scenario.
How do consumers benefit from product protection?
Along those lines, the benefits are many. Primarily, consumers can trust that they are purchasing safe goods, especially regarding pharmaceuticals. If fake drugs make it to sick people, the outcome can be tragic from a health perspective. Furthermore, customers can still fall victim to adulterated medicines since even the slightest changes to the chemical structure can have very different effects on the human body.
An ethical business will never intentionally sell fake merchandise, but will consumers generally believe the same thing? That’s really what we’re outlining because the best way to battle counterfeiting is to safeguard consumers, which solidifies brand power. Not only can they rely on safe and effective wares, but they can also depend on a company to deliver on what it promises.
Product protection comes in several varieties, but the gist is that these systems enable an end-to-end anti-counterfeiting program. Similarly, this type of safeguard may refer to the strategy from a high level. Think of it as a bird’s eye view of the problem that provides companies with an opening to significantly lower the likelihood of fraudsters successfully selling fake things. It’s also a multi-pronged approach that includes risk assessment, active monitoring, analytics and keeps lines of communication open throughout the global supply chain.
Examples of product protection technologies and solutions
Technology-wise, these measures entail a collection of software or modules instead of one software that manages everything. The reason is that different industries have different needs regarding their company’s market position. For instance, a shoe manufacturer can benefit from labeling and packaging measures just as readily as a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Still, that doesn’t mean both types of companies need the same quality controls. The latter may require physical-chemical identifiers to prove beyond any doubt that medicine is genuine.
Having said that, standard safeguards include technologies, such as:
- Physical watermarks
- Digital watermarks
- Guilloche printing
- Die-cut special shapes
- Fluorescent taggants
- Holographic foils
- Holograms stickers and glue
- Product Fingerprints
- Microprinting and micro text
- Optical variable devices (OVD)
- Raman spectroscopy
- Optical variable ink (OVI)
- Security threading
- Secured QR code authentication
- Thermo-chromatic ink
- Radiofrequency identification (RFID)
As you can see, companies have many options from which to choose, so which ones work best and integrate well with enterprise-grade IT infrastructure. To answer that, you’ll need a consultant with deep expertise to delve into the nuances of each software. You may be able to integrate a technology best in a lifecycle management solution rather than the enterprise resource planning software.
At the very least, a systematic plan will yield benefits, such as:
- Physical or digital safeguards
- Low cost and complexity of the deployment
- Low risk
Undoubtedly, our solutions at AlpVision can enable all of those benefits and more.
Introducing product protection technology developed by AlpVision
When people can’t tell between a genuine item and a forgery, the damage to your business and the market at large can be significant. Criminals are circumventing standard measures to fake the authenticity measures rather than fake the entire thing, or they may assemble a fraudulent item after it arrives at its destination, which happens in the US more often than not.
In this light, we developed our authentication technology to protect merchandise at each production stage and beyond. It’s 360-degree visibility, whereas other technologies rely on outdated, easily forgeable methods. QR codes are a great idea, but they can be copied without effort. What happens when no one follows the link to verify them? That’s essentially the problem with today’s measures; they rely too much on the user to do the verifying, not the brand.
Thus, our technology includes two versatile yet powerful tools: Cryptoglyph and AlpVision Fingerprint to solve all of these problems.
Cryptoglyph – Packaging and Label Protection
Cryptoglyph is AlpVision’s digital anti-counterfeiting solution, and the tech works well for packaging and labeling. At a high level, the process involves punching thousands of microscopic holes in the varnish layer of labels, packaging, or certificates that criminals can’t easily fake.
When implemented well, our Cryptoglyph solution gives you the ability to scale up safeguards and do it at a lower cost. When you combine Cryptoglyph with AlpVision Fingerprint, you can get even more defense, and best of all, the solutions integrate well with enterprise-grade systems.
AlpVision Fingerprint – Physical Products Protection
AlpVision Fingerprint is a solution that identifies frauds at the product level, which was once tricky to implement at a low cost. The technology identifies intrinsic defects in the molds for plastic components and compares the wares to determine whether or not those same inconsistencies, invisible to the naked eye, exist. If not, the item isn’t authentic.
But when you add both systems together, Cryptoglyph and AlpVision Fingerprint, it creates a complete anti-counterfeit solution that makes it significantly harder for criminals to forge items or components.
So, still curious about how our anti-counterfeit software can benefit your bottom line? Our representatives are ready to speak with you about the risks and challenges you face today and will need to overcome shortly.
If you’d like to learn more details about how to select anti-counterfeit technology, click to download our latest white paper and see where your company can earn quick wins.