Survey into serialisation as a tool against counterfeiting

04 April 2018

What potential do manufacturers see in serialisation as a tool to protect against counterfeiting? To find out, Mettler Toledo PCE surveyed a number of European and North American companies over the course of several months.

Their responses provide insight into the current state-of-play across different industry sectors and indicate the value that companies put on serialisation when it comes to fighting product and brand piracy.  

Reinhold van Ackeren of Mettler Toledo PCE says: “From our research, one thing is quite clear: serialisation of products will grow. In some cases, such as the food sector, it has already become a significant area for investment outside of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry where it originated. Not only does serialisation help to protect against counterfeit products entering the market, but it can also secure against grey market sales and help identify breakdowns in the supply chain.”

According to the World Customers Organisation (WCO), counterfeits make up a total of around seven percent of world trade. The economic damage caused by this for both manufacturers and brand owners amounts to hundreds of billions (EUR) each year. Mettler Toledo comments that in 2015 alone, counterfeits in the global smartphone market resulted in lost sales of around €45 billion.

While serialisation solutions cannot stop counterfeiting, they are a powerful weapon in the fight against product and brand piracy – as the results of the Mettler Toledo PCE Track & Trace Survey make clear. 

Key takeaways from the survey results are:

• A majority of the companies surveyed anticipate new serialisation requirements. A third of those surveyed would welcome legal requirements on serialisation for their own industry. 

• Large retailers could become key market drivers for serialisation solutions through requirements for their suppliers.

• Companies consider the most important advantages of serialisation to be protection against brand and product piracy and greater transparency in the logistics chain.

• A majority of those surveyed admitted that they or their industry were already affected by counterfeiting; a quarter of these respondents even reported massive disruptions.

• There is a need for information as to what opportunities serialisation offers in the fight against counterfeits and unauthorised sales channels, as well as to what the limits of these solutions are.

• When implementing serialisation, companies consider the total package, including hardware, software, and service. Flexibility and ease-of-use in software are particularly important to them.

• Experience in serialisation projects that have already been implemented is a top priority when selecting a project partner. 

The results of the survey are available to download for free from: