Honeywell collaborating with automakers to stop counterfeits entering supply chain
Honeywell’s cloud-based, track-and-trace solution is being used by German automotive products companies to stop counterfeit products enter the global supply chain.
The company collaborated with automotive aftermarket provider TecAlliance to develop the oneIDentity+ service platform, which authenticates and tracks individual components for major auto parts manufacturers.
TecAlliance is providing its automotive customers with the platform, which assigns each component a specific digital identification label that can be tracked with a mobile device at all points from manufacturing to delivery.
The application runs on the Honeywell Movilizer cloud platform and provides end-to-end visibility and electronic documentation about where an item has traveled throughout the supply chain.
It provides each product with a unique identifier code to allow the item to be tracked at any point – whether it is loaded onto a truck, unloaded at a distribution center or shipped to an end-user.
“Track-and-trace regulations and increasingly complex supply chain operations are driving the need for visibility all the way down to the individual component level,” said Taylor Smith, president of Honeywell's Workflow Solutions business.
“With our cloud-based authentication solution, we're providing our customers with an unparalleled degree of transparency and simplifying the process to comply with regulatory mandates. We can, for example, help mechanics ensure the automotive parts they are using came from the original manufacturer and were not switched for a counterfeit alternative at some point during the logistics process."
The oneIDentity+ service platform provides manufacturers, suppliers and dealers with a single, standardised system of clearly marked products that can be accessed via a mobile device at any time. It allows end users and stakeholders to review a serial number that verifies the identity of the component.
“Companies across many industries need a cross-company, flexible and standards-based service platform - not only in the automotive sector,” explained Dr.-Ing. Daniel Dünnebacke, chief operating operator of oneIDentity+ at TecAlliance.
“oneIDentity+ enables role-based delivery of information, documents and processes to meet the needs of businesses in an increasingly digital and mobile world.”
Customs officials, for example, can scan a label to confirm that the item is an original component and has not been exchanged for counterfeit alternative.
Users can also access a database of additional information such as product details and vehicle repair and maintenance data that can be used for mobile marketing activities.
Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry
Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.
Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off?
How Will Japan Pay For It?
Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving.
According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option.
What Do They Plan To Do?
Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’.
As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’.
Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.