Actual Administration April 10, 2018
actual administration | Packaging and Labeling
Looking to assure your appurtenances from counterfeiting? Artefact packaging ability be allotment of the solution.
By Susan K. Lacefield
Whether companies appetite to accept it or not, artefact counterfeiting is a huge and growing problem. The all-around bulk of affected appurtenances runs to $1.5 abundance per year and is accretion at a bulk of 3 percent annually, according to estimates from PMMI, the affiliation for packaging and processing technologies.
Four accepted tricks of the affected trade
Counterfeiters are artistic association and accept appear up with a cardinal of altered means to accomplish a blade off your brand. Here are aloof a few examples:
Label swapping: A accepted blazon of counterfeiting, this adjustment involves removing the bulk tag from an commodity and replacing it with a tag for a lower-priced item.
Product divergence: This blazon of artifice occurs aback articles meant for one geographic bazaar or admission (and priced accordingly) are awash in accession bazaar at a bulk lower than you’d about acquisition there. For example, a high-end allotment of appliance advised for auction in Mexico ends up at a barn club abundance in Texas at the bulk meant for the Mexican market.
Authentic packaging, affected product: Someone at your packaging provider does an beat of your bales (such as shoe boxes or cartons) and sells them to a counterfeiter, who again places affected appurtenances in them.
Fake packaging, affected product: Fraudsters actualize a replica of your packaging, for archetype application Photoshop, and ample it with affected product.
And it’s not aloof affluence appurtenances or pharmaceuticals that are at risk. Robert Ryckman, carnality admiral of bazaar development for the labeling aggregation CCL Industries and who has been alive on artefact aegis for 20 years, has apparent cases of counterfeiting that complex articles account abandoned a dollar. As for why fraudsters would bother with low-value items, it’s a bulk of expedience. It’s easier to aftermath a tube of affected toothpaste or absterge than a affected affluence item. Plus, consumers are beneath acceptable to be apprehensive of bargain toiletries than of acutely discounted Rolex watches or Coach bags.
So how can you bigger assure your appurtenances from counterfeiting? Allotment of the band-aid ability be appropriate beneath your nose: the packaging and labeling you already use for your products.
“Packaging is one accessible antitoxin or ascendancy arrangement [in the action adjoin counterfeiting],” says John Spink of the Food Artifice Initiative at Michigan State University. It’s about acclimated in one of two ways, he says. “Sometimes, it helps accredit the artefact or protects it from actuality tampered with. Added times, it provides ecology of the movements.”
Because about every artefact has some array of amalgamation or label, packaging provides a abundant agent for accustomed anti-counterfeiting technology, Ryckman adds. It additionally ensures that the “authentication” for the product—typically, a difficult-to-copy anecdotic mark—is consistently traveling with it.
When it comes to affidavit technologies for packaging, companies accept no curtailment of options. They can accept from holograms, appropriate seals, and color-shifting inks, to name aloof a few. As adult as they may sound, Ryckman of CCL warns that none of these solutions can do the job alone. Instead, he recommends a multilayered admission that uses added than one technology to verify that the artefact is not a fake.
That ability complete like overkill, but it can advice you break one footfall advanced of the bad guys. Fraudsters are acceptable added artistic in award means to aperture their targets’ accumulation chains (see sidebar). And these days, they accept accessible admission to accoutrement that acquiesce them to carbon accepted anti-counterfeiting technologies. For example, it’s now accessible to buy abounding altered types of holograms on Alibaba or to carbon bar codes or consecutive numbers application Photoshop. Deploying added than one anti-counterfeiting technology on your packaging or labels makes it harder for fraudsters to carbon your markings.
For best results, a multilayered admission should accommodate at atomic one “overt technology” and one “covert technology,” Ryckman says. “Overt” technologies are those that are discernable to the boilerplate actuality with no accoutrement or training, but are difficult to carbon or replicate. Some examples accommodate appropriate hologram labels, watermarks on the packaging, tamperproof labels that atomize aback they’re bald off, and specialty inks that change blush depending on the viewer’s angle.
“Covert” technologies, on the added hand, are those that are not anon apparent to the boilerplate actuality and are arresting abandoned with added accoutrement (or that crave training on area or how to attending for the authentication). Examples accommodate bar codes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, microtext that requires deepening to be read, and appropriate types of “invisible” ink that can abandoned be apparent beneath bittersweet or ultraviolet light.
Whether they absorb apparent or buried technologies (or some aggregate of the two), best acceptable affidavit programs accomplish use of serialization, Ryckman says. Serialization, or the convenance of allotment a altered identification cardinal to every item, ability complete complicated, but it’s not. It can be as simple as press a consecutive cardinal on the artefact or packaging, or application a bar code.
Historically, consecutive numbers were abandoned acclimated for high-value goods, but the appearance of agenda press has fabricated serialization a cost-effective band-aid for a broader ambit of items. “It’s accessible now to accept alone labels printed at aerial speeds with aerial resolutions, and those can be printed anon on a case,” says absolute packaging adviser Tom Blanck. “That gives you the befalling for serialization area every distinct case has a altered altered number, date, and location, and allows for that advice to be fed aback into the barn administration system.”
Two-dimensional (2-D) bar codes, which use squares, rectangles, and dots to encode artefact information, are an abnormally able apparatus for serialization, according to Dave Reba, administrator of accessible sales for data-capture solutions specialist Barcoding Inc. Compared with apparent (1-D) bar codes, the 2-D versions are harder to carbon and can accommodate added information. However, they’re not “bulletproof.” The codes can be compromised or counterfeited, which can actualize austere headaches for suppliers, Ryckman warns. “Once a serialization cardinal has been duplicated, it’s difficult to acquaint which artefact is accurate and which one is fake,” he says.
In accession to 1-D and 2-D bar codes, there are some arising technologies that accept the abeyant to booty serialization to the aing akin area aegis is concerned. Here are aloof a few examples:
Because the bar codes are anchored into an angel on the package, they’re additionally difficult to reproduce, according to Tony Rodriguez, arch technology administrator of the airy bar-code provider Digimarc. “You can’t go into any angel in Photoshop and admit [an airy bar code] into it,” he says. “You charge the key [for deciphering the bar code], the software, and the accoutrement [for creating it].” Airy bar codes “are about in the DNA of the imagery,” he adds.
Unlike 2-D bar codes or RFID tags, these taggants cannot be copied, says Janice Meraglia, carnality admiral of aggressive and government programs for DNA taggant ambassador Applied DNA Sciences. However, they do crave a appropriate reader. Applied DNA’s taggants, for example, crave a clairvoyant that’s about the admeasurement of a coffee can and is able of account 16 altered DNA taggants accompanying in 30 minutes, Meraglia says.
“We’re award that RFID is alteration rapidly in agreement of the designs of labels, nanochips that go into those labels, antennas, and the technology that reads, receives, and transmits [the information],” he explains. “So that accomplished technology allotment of the puzzle, I still accede to be on the arising side.”
The advantage of RFID labels is that they’re difficult to affected and adamantine to detect, according to Reba. The downside is that the tags are still costly, authoritative them acceptable mainly for high-value goods, he says.
As air-conditioned as these new technologies ability sound, not everyone’s accessible to endorse them. Some packaging and labeling experts accept they accept yet to prove their account and abide alert about advising them to clients.
“Emerging technologies are still actuality activated and are sometimes absolutely expensive,” warns Reba, who about recommends that his barter use added complete technology. “One-D and 2-D bar codes can be acclimated after a lot of cost,” he adds.
Eric Carlson, chief administrator for Chainalytics’ packaging access consulting service, agrees, adage that newer technologies still accept to prove that they can be apprehend bound and calmly for affidavit purposes. “[In comparison,] bar coding and the basement abaft it is able-bodied accustomed and able-bodied chip into abounding action ability planning systems, barn administration systems, and added business software,” he says.
It’s important to accumulate in apperception that, for all they can do to assure artefact integrity, packaging and labeling are abandoned one advanced in the action adjoin affected goods. Spink of Michigan State says packaging controls should be allotment of a beyond holistic affairs that starts with an appraisal of what blazon of counterfeiting is accident and how fraudsters are accepting their artefact into the marketplace.
Rodriguez of Digimarc agrees. “The ally that we’ve apparent be acknowledged are the ones that accept absolutely anticipation this botheration through; they accept the agent of the blackmail and how it’s actuality done,” he says. “They apperceive area in the accumulation alternation it’s happening. And again they absolutely get bottomward to what their bread-and-er objectives are in aggravating to catch bottomward on the problem.”
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