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How anti-counterfeiting and authentication can help you revolutionize your supply chain



Peter Gadd, HP Software PSO Cloud Services Director, HP Software Professional Services, is responsible for worldwide sales and service of HP PSO’s Cloud Service offerings. His role at HP has been to successfully take a number of innovative cloud-based services to market to help organizations solve real-world problems, many of which can have significant impacts on the brand and security of their products.


His background is predominantly in customer-facing roles in the IT industry, where he has held senior-level positions over a 20-year career. During this time he also spent five years as a management consultant, focusing on delivering business and technology solutions to a range of market sectors. Peter is based in HP’s Bracknell (UK) office, and can be contacted at


I spend a great deal of time in discussion with the researchers at HP’s Cloud Innovation Centre in Galway, Ireland, and consulting with customers of HP’s Global Product Authentication Service (GPAS) to ensure they are getting the most out of it. We are constantly looking for ways to evolve the service to meet customer needs. GPAS is a cloud-based solution that allows enterprises to quickly and securely generate unique codes that can be stored within a QR Code or GS1 Data Matrix and used to label products. End customers can then authenticate a product by scanning the code with a smart phone or visiting a website to confirm that the item is the real thing; the ability to text a code for authentication is also possible where 3G networks are not available.


Counterfeiting and the grey market are top of mind for makers of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and consumer packaged goods, but many other industries are affected as well. In all areas, the grey market cuts deeply into profits. Counterfeit drugs cost pharmaceutical companies $75 billion a year in 2010, according to the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. They also pose a frightening public safety hazard. The International Policy Network estimates that 700,000 deaths per year from malaria and tuberculosis are attributable to fake drugs.


A problem with counterfeiting usually indicates there’s an issue with supply chain management. But for companies with long or complex supply chains, it’s often difficult to gain visibility into where counterfeits are being introduced.


In addition to lost revenue and a hit to your brand reputation, the potential risks can be quite scary if you cannot see more deeply into your supply chain.


Build a better supply chain while offering customers more value

We’re seeing our customers take the next steps in using authentication to get granular, real-time insight into what’s going on with their supply chain.

How does this work? With GPAS, a code authenticates each individual product. But then you can extend that authentication end to end: each box of products has a GPAS code as does each case of boxes as does each pallet of cases.


As the product makes its way through to the consumer, it is scanned and GPAS is notified at each stop: the manufacturer, the distributor, the wholesaler and then at the point of purchase. Effectively, you’re authenticating not just your products, but your entire supply chain.


3 benefits of supply chain authentication

When you have better inventory visibility, you have better inventory management. If a product drops out of the legitimate supply chain, you’ll be able to see the exact point at which it happened, track the product down and launch an investigation. It’s an opportunity to understand where the holes are and plug them. That translates into increased revenue through mitigation—or even eradication—of the grey market.


This insight can change the way you interact with consumers and heighten the brand security of your products. Effectively you can:


  • Engage more actively with end-users
  • Introduce value-add services that build on top of product authentication to end-users
  • Analyze supply chain data with big data analytics to identify counterfeit activity


Already GPAS is helping HP’s Inkjet and Printing Solutions group tackle counterfeiting and protect its brand and market share from the grey market. Prior to purchase, consumers can use their mobile phone to make sure the inkjet cartridge they wish to purchase is real. In addition, the portal that end customers can visit in the course of authenticating an ink product presents a value-added, mutually beneficial channel for us to engage with them, provide offers and so on. We are talking with a variety of other GPAS customers to create a similar medium for them to solidify relationships with their customers, revolutionize the supply chain and dramatically improve their bottom line.


Learn more by reading Brand protection through the cloud and watching the video Brand protection in a counterfeit world.


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