Codan, the Adelaide-based electronics company that develops, manufactures and markets the highly successful Minelab handheld metal detectors with sales in over 60 countries worldwide, recently discovered that counterfeit Minelab GPX Series gold detectors, originating from China, had made their way into the African market. Realising the seriousness of the situation the company sought a solution in the form of Fujifilm’s unique ForgeGuard anti-counterfeiting labels.
Codan’s Peter Charlesworth explained, “Our Minelab GPX Series metal detectors are used for gold prospecting, coin and treasure hunting and humanitarian landmine clearance. Minelab products are widely recognised as having the world’s best metal detection technologies, especially for the purpose of gold prospecting. Many of the Chinese counterfeit products look cosmetically identical to genuine Minelab products, to the extent that dealers and customer cannot visually tell the difference. However, these copies do not perform anywhere near as well as genuine Minelab metal detectors. While Codan has registered trademarks in place for Minelab and GPX, this alone does not stop counterfeit products entering the market. Therefore other practical solutions were also required to reassure dealers and customers that they were buying genuine Minelab products, with high performance and the ongoing service and warranty back up that Minelab provides. That’s where Fujifilm and ForgeGuard came in.”
Due to the nature and sensitivity of the problem Charlesworth and the Codan team undertook a comprehensive evaluation of all the possible anti-counterfeiting solutions on the market.
Charlesworth continued, “We reviewed many options, but found that most were themselves easy to copy, or would require us to modify our existing successful products. ForgeGuard true colour hidden image labels provided a solution which we could apply quickly with the knowledge that its integrity was backed by Fujifilm. ForgeGuard labels also make it extremely difficulty for a counterfeiter when they are trying to copy the true colour hidden image, which now identifies our products as genuine Minelab. We were also greatly encouraged by the flexibility that the ForgeGuard team gave us to customise the final labels so that we could add our own unique identifiers.”
Fujifilm’s ForgeGuard labels are used extensively on Minelab metal detectors and carton packaging. In some cases Codan replaced old “warranty void if removed” labels with new ForgeGuard labels, whilst in others new labels were applied.
Peter Charlesworth added, “We also found that applying a ForgeGuard label on the outside of some packaging gave us additional reassurance that genuine products were being moved through our distribution channels without time consuming and disruptive opening of boxes and manual inspection. We restricted the distribution of ForgeGuard viewers to only our authorised Minelab dealers and added an additional level of verification by cross matching the hidden image against the product’s serial number. This verification process operates through a password protected webpage that only authorised Minelab dealers can access.”
Minelab metal detectors are used outdoors in harsh environments where the detector is subjected to dirt, dust and water. Despite these environments Codan also found ForgeGuard labels to be robust enough to reach the final point of sale anywhere in the world, fully intact.
Charlesworth continued, “Once this customer knows he has a genuine Minelab product the ForgeGuard label has really done its job. We are impressed with the stability of the hidden image all through our supply channels, even to some very remote regions and it would appear that the labels far exceed our needs. The truth is, for security reasons, we’d really like to keep the full details of this fantastic solution to ourselves. We’ve worked really hard to achieve our technical superiority and the ForgeGuard labels give our customers the reassurance that they’ve bought a genuine Minelab product. This gives us a significant competitive advantage against the counterfeiters.”
Commenting on Fujifilm’s levels of service and support since the company began using ForgeGuard labels Peter Charlesworth concluded, “Codan was able to work closely with Fujifilm to customise the ForgeGuard labels specifically for Minelab products with both the size of the labels and the information on them. Labels and viewers were customised to include Minelab brand images and key messages. Viewers show instructions in 4 languages; English, Arabic, French and Spanish. We were able to work well with ForgeGuard to explore what was possible to meet our needs and make our solution unique. This was a pleasant surprise when dealing with a large global supplier. ForgeGuard security labels have provided Codan with a cost effective solution that enables authorised dealers to quickly and easily determine if a product is a genuine Minelab or not. This assists greatly in the fight to stop counterfeit Minelab products. We can only achieve this as we have full confidence in the integrity of Fujifilm. Due to the growing volume of our products our investment in our relationship with Fujifilm is significant. We’ve also been very pleased to have the support of a highly professional Program Manager at Fujifilm in Japan, as well as excellent local support in our own country from Marc Van Agten and Simon Murphy.”
ForgeGuard labels are being used on a wide range of Minelab products including the GPX-4500, GPX 4800, GPX 5000, Commander accessory coils for GPX detectors, Eureka Gold and X-TERRA 705 Gold Pack.
Fujifilm Australia General Manager Motion Picture Film, Recording Media and Optical Devices Marc Van Agten said, “We are delighted that our ForgeGuard security labels are so successful for Codan and their efforts to stop the counterfeiting of their products.”
Picture credit: Marc Van Agten - Fujifilm Australia General Manager Motion Picture Film, Recording Media and Optical Devices.
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