Counterfeit products present real risks to European manufacturing

Brammer, which claims to be Europe’s leading supplier of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products, is implementing a pan European campaign to warn all of its customers about the dangers of counterfeit MRO products now finding their way onto the European market. The move follows initiatives from manufacturers SKF and Schaeffler Group, two world leaders in bearings manufacture.  In the last few weeks they pooled resources to track down and then destroy 40 t of counterfeit product to the value of €8 million discovered in the Franconia region of Germany.  The bearings carried counterfeit logos for INA, FAG, and SKF. 

Timken has also seized the initiative to guard against any fraudulent use of its logo or look-alike logo usage and counterfeiting and is now investing heavily in anti-counterfeiting measures and technology, as is NSK, another global bearings brand. All of Brammer’s suppliers are supporting the anti counterfeiting campaign from the very top of their organizations.

Brammer, however, is the first major distributor to add its voice to the campaign.  “The issue of counterfeit bearings can not only have serious economic impacts which in turn damage MRO manufacturers’ ability to invest in research and development, customer support and innovation, but, more importantly, can have extremely serious consequences for the companies that purchase them,” said Ian Fraser, CEO of Brammer. 

Operating in 12 countries across Europe, Brammer understands well the importance of maintaining production line integrity and the financial impact of lost production time due to break-downs. Such risks and problems are substantially increased when counterfeit products are used.  But the impact of using such products does not end in  production line inconvenience and the economic consequences.  In many applications the use of  failure prone counterfeits can risk catastrophic consequences, as when a Norwegian aircraft crashed on its way from Oslo to Hamburg in 1989 killing all 55 passengers due to use of counterfeit products.

“We feel it is as much our responsibility as our supplier partners to draw our customers attention to this serious problem and its potential repercussions,” continues Fraser.  “For those who use such products either knowingly or otherwise, the risks are much greater than any short term saving they might make.  They have no redress to the product manufacturers, and have to take on board all related costs, liability and claims when the products fail.  Using counterfeit product also means putting their employees’ and, in some cases their customers’ health and safety at risk which must be entirely unacceptable.  We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to purchase fully branded product only through authorised distributors.  Our pan European programme will ensure that our customers are fully aware of these issues and work with us and our suppliers to try to eliminate such serious risks.”