Systech’s UniSecure & eFingerprint works for alcobev in India

Global alcobev company tackles counterfeiting in India

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alcoholic
Photo - chuttersnap on Unsplash (for representation purpose only)

In India, the multinational alcoholic beverage company that manufactures 16 different top-shelf spirits from beer to whiskey, began experiencing high levels of counterfeiting, from bottle duplication to the refilling of spent bottles. The loss in revenue — and more importantly, the safety of consumers — became a major concern. This led the company to research brand protection solutions. The well-known company is one of the largest distillers globally and currently distributes to over 180 countries.

UniSecure — Systech’s non-additive authentication solution

According to Systech, previously, the company had assessed numerous technologies, however, none were deemed effective for its use case in terms of risk mitigation or permissible in terms of cost absorption. To ensure that both parameters were met, the company embarked on a new analysis of 15 different solutions, including overt, covert, and forensic technologies. The primary needs for a robust solution were — anti-copy protection, market surveillance options, ease of use, data analytics, engagement security, and cost-effectiveness.

These requirements lead to the adoption of UniSecure, Systech’s non-additive authentication solution powered by digital eFingerprint technology.

Once the decision was made to partner with Systech, the company launched a field study to document the utility of the program fully. A popular brand was chosen, and it was decided that the initial pilot would involve 1.5 million units belonging to one specific SKU.

Systech collaborated closely with the company to design the pilot study details. Collectively they determined that it was best to perform the eFingerprint process at the label supplier’s plant using the linear UPC barcode on the back label. From here, the eFingerprinted product labels were delivered to a chosen distillery and then authenticated via the Systech mobile application in the field.

Five inspectors conducted the field study through a random selection of products in the marketplace known to have been eFingerprinted by way of the batch number.

Systech stated that the results were deemed to be excellent in terms of both accuracy and response time. Products that were not eFingerprinted consistently returned a negative result, reinforcing that counterfeit labels will fail authentication, whereas labels on genuine products will be confirmed as authentic. Plus, the inspectors were able to check the authenticity in real-time with a quick scan using the Systech app on their smartphones.

A key feature of the UniSecure setup is that any barcode that cannot be adequately captured by the system will result in the winder unit’s instant stoppage so that the label can be rerun through or removed. This utility ensures that every product — and its associated barcode — entering the market has been adequately captured and stored in the Systech cloud.

Based on the successful pilot, the customer decided to proceed to production — with the first phase encompassing four major spirit brands in India. The company views UniSecure deployment as a major accomplishment toward its brand protection objectives that will elevate its supply chain partners’ confidence. A future program involving consumers is being considered to increase engagement and brand awareness.

According to Systech, the efficacy and robustness of the UniSecure platform have inspired the company to become an advocate for anti-counterfeiting in the Indian alcoholic beverage market. As a result, Systech is now working with several key influencers and government authorities to establish a broad framework for drastically reducing the trade in counterfeit liquor, beer, and wine.

Note — There has been a lot of talk about smart packaging, active and interactive packaging in the past year, including at the IppStar Packaging, Design and Innovation Technology conference (PDIT2) at Pragati Maidan in December 2019. Now we have an example of both a practical application and a pilot study that has been successful in India. The Systech UniSecure and eFingerprint solution for anti-counterfeiting are now being taken into production with the first phase to take up four major spirit brands in the country of the global spirit manufacturer.

By the way, the next important Active and Intelligent Packaging event is the AIPIA Virtual Congress on 10 September 2020. Be sure to have a look at the Virtual Congress Agenda and register for this important event!

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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Technical Editor - Mandeep Kaur is working with IPP Group and holding editorial responsibilities for the IndiFoodBev and PSA Healthcare platforms. Earlier she handled editorial responsibilities of food, beverage, and agriculture publications at another publisher. A gold-medalist in M Tech (Food Technology), she has hands-on experience in operating different types of instruments related to physico-chemical testing of grains and flour. She has worked at Evalueserve in the Intellectual Property (IP) division for more than three years handling projects in the life sciences domain.

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