Serialisation is the process of assigning a unique identification code to every unit of product a brand produces.
While getting started with serialisation can seem daunting at first, it's also the single strongest method for a brand to secure its supply chain, including tracking the movement and sale of authentic products.
As the foundation of an anti-counterfeiting strategy, serialisation is so strong that beginning in November 2018, every prescription medicine sold in the United States must have a unique identifier that can be authenticated by pharmacy employees before dispensing a drug to consumers. European pharma firms must meet the same requirement by February 2019.
So what if your goal is stopping counterfeiters from harming your brand and brand consumers in luxury fashion and other industries where authenticity is a critical component of brand equity?
Experience suggests a brand owner looking to secure its supply chain and stop counterfeits with a serialisation strategy should select a provider or technology that ticks at least the following four boxes:
- Each unique ID number should be created in a manner that it cannot be guessed or predicted by a counterfeiter interested in passing off fake goods as real.
- The process of creating and assigning each unique ID during manufacturing must be highly secure. Only a brand owner and its trusted partners should be able to access the systems that generate a valid unique ID and assign it to a specific product, and each access should be monitored for quality control.
- The provider should have experience in implementing a serialisation program that includes applying their codes on actual products in actual factories, using methods that are not disruptive for your existing manufacturing and logistics systems.
- The technology used to deliver the code must also be capable of "communicating" in a secure and simple way with every user you want to authenticate your products — up to and including the end consumer.