Barcode labeling: A weapon against counterfeit electronics

by Scott Vigneault, on April 10, 2017

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Keeping the electronics supply chain free of fakes is critical.
Counterfeiters sense opportunity in the electronics sector, and companies representing every link of the supply chain have to be ready to fight back. This means tracking suppliers to ensure only genuine parts make it into devices, as well as installing systems to detect finished counterfeit products and get them off the market.

Fortunately for manufacturers, the same methods they use to gain general visibility into their supply chains can aid them in the fight against counterfeiting. In many cases, this involves barcode labeling. Companies that have databases to track components and the barcode labels to match will be well-equipped to keep an eye on their products and materials, even as they crisscross the world.

The threat of forgeries
Fake electronics and components pose a danger to the reputations of companies in the relevant industries, not to mention their consumers. Cleveland ABC affiliate News 5 recently passed on official warnings that counterfeit electronics that slip through to buyers may be shoddily made, lacking critical parts such as anti-overheating devices.

"The whole supply chain should be transparent, with items visible at every link."

Companies that want to help law enforcement personnel detect and intercept counterfeit devices should ensure that the genuine articles are always traceable and clearly identifiable. Parts should be barcoded to make certain the whole supply chain is transparent, with items visible at every link.

In addition to the need to police counterfeits for security reasons, companies have clear financial incentives to make detecting fakes as easy as possible. Research from the European Union Intellectual Property Office on the smartphone sector revealed that 12.9 percent of total dollar sales for these devices goes to fake products. That means 184 million counterfeit devices were sold around the world in 2015.

Counter fakes
When false components enter the electronics supply chain, the fallout can be disastrous. With the industry facing down efforts to slip fake or compromised parts into circulation, it's critical to have top-quality systems that will keep production clean. This one of the areas where barcode software proves its worth.

For more on how the right type of barcode labeling solution can help Electronics manufacturers check out this Q&A on electronics labeling.



Topics:ElectronicsCounterfeitingSupply ChainRegulatoryManufacturing