Is Your Supply Chain Safe from Counterfeits?

August 31, 2017

LMI Staff

Experts predict the global economic and social impacts of counterfeiting and piracy could reach $1.7 trillion by 2015. Counterfeits pose serious safety and security risks—fake pharmaceuticals threaten public health, while phony microcircuits compromise military and security missions.

Whether trying to make significant profits or deliberately compromising equipment, counterfeiters have an incentive to move their products into legitimate supply chains. “For some items, it’s impossible to identify or prove a counterfeit. The only answer is to buy authentic products,” said Taylor Wilkerson, program manager for LMI’s supply chain management group.

DNA Marking—a Lasting Solution

Ridding your supply chain of counterfeits creates new costs and risks, especially since many solutions don’t last long before counterfeiters start breaking them.

LMI has the answer. Using our domain expertise in logistics, financial management, and human capital solutions, we have teamed with Applied DNA Sciences to help clients integrate high-tech, forensic solutions that use DNA marking to identify legitimate products.

Proven Efficacy

LMI worked with one of the world’s largest nonprofit research and development labs to measure how well SigNature® DNA holds up to defeat challenges when marked on microcircuits. After testing hundreds of samples, “there was 100 percent discrimination between authentic and counterfeit attempts, and zero false positives,” Wilkerson reported. In additional environmental tests, the product withstood temperature variations, shock, and vibration, as well as a range of other industry specific test methods.


DNA marking applies to a wide variety of supply chains, including pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, microcircuits, and textiles. “DNA marking products can be used to protect virtually every type of intellectual property,” Wilkerson said.

Solutions include forensic identity markers for textiles, DNA tests for cotton, and DNA sprays that tag criminals. For instance, pharmaceutical companies can apply DNA marking to a pill (pending FDA review), eliminating concerns about fake pills being mixed with real medication.

Things to Think About

DNA marking often requires partner agreements that ripple through a supply chain. LMI helps you explore alternatives, including how to prioritize the products to focus on and balance implementation costs across partnerships.

For example, for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), we found DNA marking increased weekly manufacturing time by just one hour for a product line. To offset the financial cost, we helped DLA develop partner discounts. The agency now DNA marks all microcircuits it purchases. More than a half million DNA-marked parts are in circulation.

LMI helps you explore implementation alternatives, educate supply chain partners, and align people, processes, and systems to fully leverage the benefits of DNA marking. 


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