The SKF brand is one of the most trusted and well-known global industrial brands. SKF’s offer has evolved over many years from primarily being based on bearings, to include products and services from all five technology areas. A key driver of SKF’s technology development is to improve efficiency and reduce energy losses, thereby helping to reduce the environmental impact both in its operations and for its customers.
The SKF Brand
SKF’s offer has evolved over many years from primarily being based on bearings, to include products and services from all five technology platforms. A key driver of SKF’s technology development is to improve efficiency and reduce energy losses, thereby helping to reduce the environmental impact both in its operations and for its customers.
In addition to the SKF brand, SKF also operates with a number of endorsed brands such as KAYDON, COOPER, ALEMITE and REELCRAFT. They are examples of strong brands which have been acquired by SKF and will be used for the foreseeable future. These brands represent the same brand promise as the SKF brand.The SKF brand also operates with acquired brands of strategic importance on a product level. The Lincoln brand is an example that represents the same brand promise as the SKF brand.
SKF has additional brands such as PEER, THE GENERAL and HYATT in its portfolio to provide service to areas of the marketplace that have different requirements. These brands are run by independent subsidiaries within the SKF Group, acting on the market under their existing brand names.
Protecting the SKF brand
Following efforts in recent years by SKF to raise market awareness about counterfeit products, combined with close cooperation with law enforcement globally, SKF continues to see a decline in the availability of counterfeits in mature markets. Nevertheless, all markets and industries are still affected, albeit to a varying degree. In 2015, police and customs authorities seized counterfeit SKF products in the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Italy, Portugal, Vietnam, and the USA to name a few examples. SKF works closely with customs in key markets, and over the year 95 shipments of counterfeit SKF goods were seized.
As SKF sees an increase in cases for markets in Asia and the Americas, the company has added resources to strengthen brand protection in these regions. During 2015 SKF continued to replicate successful customer awareness activities focused on alerting users to the existence of counterfeits, and how to best avoid them. One example was an event organized in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, where more than 100 customers were invited to learn how to protect their operations from counterfeit supply. Similar events where held in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, the UK, Germany and South Korea. The events gave customers a chance to interact directly with SKF’s brand protection staff, and generated new business to SKF as the absolute majority of the customers were previously unknowingly supplied counterfeit products.
Through the World Bearing Association (WBA), SKF and other bearing manufacturers are working to raise awareness about the trade in counterfeit bearings and the methods used by many small-scale counterfeit workshops, mainly based in Asia. Harsh working conditions and child labour is not uncommon atthese workshops, where low-cost products are illegally marked with trademarks of premium brands. This was also documented during one of the raids carried out by the Chinese police, with video footage showing young children working in a branding workshop. The video is available on SKF’s YouTube channel and social media accounts.
To provide better support to end-users who suspect they have been supplied with potential counterfeits, SKF has developed the user-friendly SKF Authenticate mobile app. In a few simples steps it allows customers to send photos and information about suspect products directly to SKF. Verification experts review the information provided and customers are informed if the goods are counterfeit. The SKF Authenticate app is available in both iOS and Android versions and has been very well received by users. In 2015 SKF took several steps to further improve awareness amongst SKF’s authorized distributors about anticounterfeiting best practice. This included holding seminars on counterfeit mitigation, good sourcing practice and also involved audits by SKF’s experts at randomly selected authorized distributor branches globally.