Founded in 1961 as Tecno Tubo Torino (Turin Tube Technology), 3T has long had a strong reputation for lightweight racing cycle components favoured by many world champion cyclists. 3T’s founder, Mario Dedioniggi, was skilled at manipulating and bending steel tubes to fabricate the lightweight handlebars preferred by racing cyclists and the company became renowned for innovation and quality. By the mid-1980’s, 3T was the world’s leader in quality handlebar manufacture, exporting 80% of its production to Europe, the United States, and Japan.
3T products continue to embody success with their products used by recent winners of such prestigious events as Euro MTB championship, Ironman World Championship, the Olympics, and Tour de France. Such accolades always attract negative attention though in the form of counterfeit and grey-market products, and 3T began hearing from customers who were victim to fake 3T parts.
3T was not only being ripped off by fakers and taking a hit to their brand reputation but their customers safety were also at risk with low quality and under-performing counterfeits available in the marketplace.
3T engaged OpSec Security to assist them accomplish four specific goals:
Combat counterfeiting of bicycle components
Ensure product from suppliers is authentic
Better manage warranty claims on substandard product
Track their products throughout their supply chain
The OpSec Solution
Securing every 3T part in the program is a custom-made pressure-sensitive label manufactured by OpSec in its high security premises, which are certified to both ISO9001 and ISO14298, the international standards for quality and security.
Each label is hot-stamped with an OVD (optically variable device) in the form of a holographic stripe, originated using advanced electro-beam technology.
The optical features embedded within the OVD incorporate advanced overt and covert security technologies.
Overt features are easily seen with the naked eye, allowing for quick verification of product authenticity by all parties along the supply chain. 3T field inspectors and customs officials can investigate further by utilizing covert and forensic security features, only visible using specialist reading devices.
Serialization and Order Tracking
The next-generation solution utilizes the OpSec InSight™ product lifecycle platform, to generate digital files of unique identifiers (UIDs) that are transmitted directly to 3T’s suppliers. The suppliers utilize the files to laser etch UIDs directly onto component parts they manufacture.
Suppliers then ship component parts to 3T’s distribution centers where the components are repackaged and the holographic label applied.
All order and shipment data is recorded in a secure online database easily accessed to trace the territory, supplier, shipment date and other relevant information.
The final element of the solution was the adoption of OpSec’s Consumer InSight module, which gives customers the peace of mind that their purchase is authentic, allows them to register their product for an extended warranty program and receive a discount code for replacement purchases.
The additional benefit to 3T is the provision of intelligence and contact data that can be utilized by the 3T marketing team to increase engagement with their customers.
The problem of counterfeit parts is a threat unlikely to disappear anytime soon and remains a risk for both manufacturers and their consumers. By tightening up the supply chain and providing optical and digital authentication solutions, manufacturers can reduce this risk significantly, removing potentially dangerous, but certainly substandard, counterfeits from the marketplace.
The four-part solution utilized by the 3T has ensured that:
Genuine 3T parts selected for the program can now be authenticated at overt, covert and forensic levels
Unique serial numbers embedded within each security label can be authenticated by 3T enforcement and customers alike via the OpSec's InSight mobile app
3T is able to track each delivery of security labels to its supplier network and utilize the OpSec InSight reporting functionality to gain additional analytics
Customers can extend their warranty period by registering their products online