SKF Kenya Ltd. has launched a new mobile application, ‘2authenticate’, which will enable consumers to detect counterfeit bearing parts in the Kenyan market. The mobile application will be able to scan a special Data Matrix Code, which is similar to a QR code, on all genuine SKF parts.
SKF is a Swedish based company and leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of bearings and other industrial products.
The Kenyan subsidiary has been chosen to run the pilot anti-counterfeit programme in a bid to ensure consumers get authentic bearings for their equipment. All single pack bearing boxes imported via the official SKF AB subsidiary in Kenya, SKF Kenya Limited, will have a special Data Matrix Code, which can be scanned by a smartphone camera using the new Android app, 2authenticate.
Harris Kariuki, SKF Kenya Ltd. Managing Director, noted the move was driven by increased counterfeit products in the market, especially from China and India, that have seen consumers in the market count major losses, from retail to manufacturers.
“The Kenya office was picked to run the pilot programme due to increased counterfeit products in the market that have seen both retail and corporate customers record major losses. The increased mobile and internet penetration in Kenya played a major role in the market being picked to drive this new initiative,” said Mr Kariuki. “We have already started working with our distributors and this launch is to ensure the whole market is empowered to identify genuine parts.”
Mr Kariuki said the company would roll out an education and awareness campaign to sensitise the market on genuine parts and the cost of counterfeits in the long run.
SKF Kenya is working in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeit Agency to authenticate products in the market and protect Kenyans from these products.
“The government cannot fight the counterfeit battle by itself, we are working in partnership with manufacturers such as SKF to protect intellectual property,” said the Ag Executive Director, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Dr John Akoten.
Last year SKF Kenya Ltd., which serves nine markets in the region from its Nairobi office, run six raids in Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya, goods worth over Kshs 10 million were netted in the raids that were carried out in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeit Agency.
Bearings are a major part for rotating equipment ranging from cars to large industrial machinery.
The 2authenticate App is basically a 2-in-1 app as it gives instant feedback after the code is scanned or gives clear instructions on how to photograph the product if there is no code on the box, especially for parts that entered the market before the launch of the new technology. Then it automatically submits a request to SKF headquarters where dedicated experts review the information, authenticate the product and reply back.