Dissemination of fake products in the supply chain is on the rise than ever before. As per records, approximately 80% of counterfeit products are supplied from India and China. The production, marketing, selling, and consumption of these fake or counterfeit products are not only putting the organizational profits at risk but also putting up a question mark on the health and safety of the consumers. To combat such ill-practices prevailing all around the world, the concerned authorities have come up with various solutions, with product serialization being one such useful method for curbing such malpractices.
Counterfeit products have been a major reason for product recalls causing big damage to manufacturers in terms of profit. As per WHO records, the sale of counterfeit drugs is estimated to be US$30 billion from 2013 to 2017.
What is Product Serialization?
Product serialization is defined as a process of identifying each product or packet, which is manufactured and sent out for selling in the market, with a unique identification code. The product serialization technology adopted by various organizations uses barcodes, QR code or RFID technology to track products from the manufacturing site to all possible distribution channels. There are various devices used in the supply chain that read these serialization tags and validate the authenticity of a product.
O4S algorithms are constantly evolving using machine learning, to generate a random Unique Identification (UID) for each individual product manufactured by a brand. Using advanced IoT integrations with online laser printers, the UID gets affixed to each individual product via fully automated set up in the manufacturing facility using carriers like Encrypted QR Code, Optical Codes or NFC tags. Product UIDs are tracked through millions of Kirana Stores, by incentivizing them to scan the UIDs. Consumers can scan the UIDs to verify the authenticity of the products and directly enroll in the brand’s loyalty program.
Product Serialization and the Supply Chain: The Pros of Product Serialization
Supply Chain Planning
The introduction of product serialization tags develops visibility between the inventories, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Transparency in the supply chain will make the process better. Tracking the sales and availability of products with the distributor, helps the manufacturers understand when and where to restock products. Thus, directly affecting supply chain management, making it more efficient and effective in terms of selling, managing, and making profits.
Product serialization helps in inventory management with end-to-end encryption and efficient analysis of the auto-captured data.  This makes the supply chain faster and more effective and boosts profitability to benefit everyone involved in the supply chain system. This technology also helps in appropriately alerting the involved parties in case anything goes out of the course. Raising instant alerts as soon as anything goes out of the way, the chances of mitigation and combating increases, which leads to lower risks at operational and execution levels. Thus, the technology not only improves the process but makes it highly alert.
Recalling products that are not up-to-the-mark, counterfeit, or fake is highly cost enduring and a big hassle. Introducing product serialization helps in efficiently tracking the lots and products, reducing the hassle of analyzing defective or fake products. The serialization technology makes the recall process precise and thus, help in building up consumer trust and loyalty for the brand.
Greater Revenue Generation
Making the supply chain efficient, effective, precise, and authentic, the product serialization technology earns great revenue to the brand. Reducing the counterfeit stocks in the market is feasible by making the tracking process transparent and efficient. This way brands could gain consumer trust and loyalty which in turn will help attain high revenues.
Better Product Authentication
With product tracking available at each and every node of the supply chain, the product authentication factor raises by itself. Making production and supplier information easily available with the firms alongside product information facilitate convenient tracking of counterfeit products entry in the supply chain.
Enhanced Consumer Safety and Health
With product authentication made easier and trustable, consumers’ safety and health are positively affected. Product serialization tracks everything about the product right from manufacturing to selling and consumption. This makes tracking product details such as expiry of the product, components, and composition used in the production, easy. Also, all the information is directly available at the hands of the consumer through the means of various platforms similar to O4S, thus making product validation impressive. This ensures that the products consumed by the buyers are completely genuine and possesses no risk to their health and safety.
Wrapping it Up
Counterfeit products are on a significant rise with each passing minute, and so are the measures to combat such practices. Product Serialization is one of the other important technologies that are emerging into the market to help to address the counterfeiting issues. O4S is one such initiative that is working towards helping the consumers easily identify the good and the bad, the real and the fake. With its uniquely designed scan and learn approach, the O4S platform helps people test the authenticity of the products they purchase, alongside helping the market leaders understand consumer preferences through historic patterns.