Stopping counterfeit products requires vigilance in all steps of the supply chain, but some products are easier to monitor than others, according to Dr. Edward Minchin of the University of Florida, in How to Protect Against Counterfeiting.
For example, overseas imports are prime for forgery because attitudes surrounding counterfeiting can vary from country to country, and even region to region. One persistent idea surrounding counterfeits produced in China is that if something is helping the local economy, any negative global effects can be rationalized, Minchin says.
“There is an old saying, ‘The emperor is far away and the mountains are high,’” he says. “So basically that means that people do what they want to here and they don’t think anybody’s going to do a lot to stop it if it’s helping the local economy.”
That sentiment appears to be true in some instances. Minchin, who has done extensive international research on building material counterfeits, notes that Chinese officials are often not proactive in the pursuit of possible counterfeiters, which means fake products can easily find their ways across international borders into your supply chain.
“They’ve passed a lot of (anti-counterfeiting) laws, and what’s been frustrating to us is that they don’t prosecute based on these laws … ,” Minchin says. “Even though the laws are on the books, they either don’t enforce them, or when they do enforce them, they prosecute under something else. So they’re not getting the message out to their people that there is not a tolerance for counterfeiting. In fact they’re sending the opposite message.”
Read more about why counterfeiting is prevalent in such industries as bearings and steps you can take with your channel partners to mitigate the risk of fake products in How to Protect Against Counterfeiting.