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An exploratory analysis of counterfeiting strategies: towards counterfeit-resilient supply chains

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number1
Volume35
Number of pages35
Pages (from-to)110-144
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to identify strategies employed by product counterfeiters in their exploitation of legitimate supply chains; to develop a theoretical understanding of counterfeiting and its impact on competitive resources; and, to propose counter-measures for increasing the resilience of supply chains to the counterfeiting threat.

Design/methodology/approach
– An inductive, qualitative analysis of secondary case data obtained from three sources.

Findings
– Initial searching and coding identified four sets of strategies: extraction strategies, for obtaining products or materials from the legitimate economy; production strategies, for manufacturing counterfeit goods; distribution strategies; and, infiltration strategies, for introducing counterfeits into the legitimate economy. Secondary, focused coding revealed that much of what the counterfeiting strategies set out to achieve involves the generation, suppression or exploitation of signals. A theoretical account of counterfeiting and its impact on competitive resources (quality, reputation and trademark) is then developed based on signalling theory and the resource-based view.

Research limitations/implications
– A set of counter-measures for dealing with the counterfeiting threat are proposed. There is scope for much further work on counterfeit resilience, including on establishing the effectiveness of these counter-measures.

Practical implications
– Counterfeiting is an increasingly significant supply chain problem. It provides a direct economic challenge to legitimate producers, undermines the value of trademarks and threatens consumer welfare. It affects many industries, including automotives, aerospace and pharmaceuticals, where counterfeits have sometimes proven fatal. The paper adds to the understanding of how this phenomenon takes place and how it might be tackled.

Originality/value
– Although many OM studies refer to the risks of patent and copyright infringements that arise in supply chains, the problem of product counterfeiting has received only limited attention, leaving a clear gap in the understanding.