Tracing the origins – the importance of asset history

In our last blog post, we discussed how asset intelligence technology and item-level unique identification can improve visibility and traceability in an effort to combat counterfeiting in global supply chains. This week, in a related topic, we want to explore a lesser-known side of counterfeiting that requires an even more comprehensive, data driven approach.

Not all counterfeits are created equal

We all understand the threat of fake goods. However, not all counterfeits are created equal. The most obvious are those that are inferior copycats. The other type, and possibly of even greater concern, are those genuine items which have a history that’s been tampered with. And these items can compromise the safety and integrity of mission-critical operations just as much as a copycat might.

Remarking of genuine parts

One such practice involves the re-marking of original genuine electronics components with false information [e.g. a more recent date of manufacture] in order to sell them as ‘new’ again. In the past, companies have used visual checks under microscope, or solvents such as acetone, to identify this practice, but counterfeiters are growing ever more sophisticated so these safeguards are no longer enough.

Who is at risk?

With the proliferation of electronic systems and devices, a growing number of organisations, and end-consumers, are at risk of this practice. A well-documented example was a 2010 case of a re-marked Samsung IC that had made its way onto the US DoD’s C-130J Super Hercules fleet. A government inquiry into the incident stated that ‘failure of the memory chip could cause a display unit to show a degraded image, lose data, or even go black altogether’ in mid-flight, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The importance as asset history

Combating this issue requires much more than an ‘is this item genuine or not?’ authentication check – as these items would almost certainly pass this test. Instead, organisations now need to know, with absolute certainty, exactly what items they have, where these items came from, and what they’ve been doing at every point in their lifecycle, since manufacture. This requires a more comprehensive and secure data-driven approach.

Asset intelligence for tracing origins and lifecycle

Asset intelligence technology platforms, like Relegen’s assetDNA, can play a pivotal role in identifying and authenticating assets, parts and components. An integrated software, tagging and mobile solution, assetDNA creates a single point of truth for tracing the identity and complete history of assets through their life.

The system enables complete records for all configuration, manufacturing, operation, usage, performance and maintenance information to be gathered on each asset, item and component so that anyone interacting with it – anywhere in the world, over its entire lifecycle – will know exactly where it’s been and what action to take to ensure quality, safety, security and performance.

Key features and benefits:

  • Item-level unique identifiers – Key to the system is the ‘DNA’, a global unique identifier allocated to an asset or component pre-manufacture managed by the software till its end of life
  • Works with a wide-range of asset tagging technologies – 1D & 2D Barcodes, HF & UHF RFID, covert security markers as well as a combination of technologies simultaneously
  • A full-suite of mobile data capture apps – Mobile applications can then be used by those interacting with the asset to verify origin and authenticity and collect ownership/operational data on them
  • Full supply chain visibility – assetDNA ID’s provide full item-level visibility of assets as they move from the point of manufacture through the cycle of life, into retirement and obsolescence.
  • Security – assetDNA has been developed to defence-force security standards.

Ultimately, tackling the issue of counterfeiting requires a multi-layered approach. On one level, it is about reforming supply chains and closer collaboration between OEM’s, distributors and end-customers. However, at data level, assetDNA works to ensure the right information is at the organisation’s fingertips so they can make better decisions, take better action, and safeguard their operations.

Learn More

Get in touch with Relegen to learn how assetDNA can provide:

  • Item-level serialisation and authentication
  • Item, asset, component through-life tracking
  • Barcode, RFID and covert security asset tagging solutions
  • Counterfeit prevention
  • Asset compliance management

We can be reached for a free software demo at +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or sales@assetDNA.com