By Louis Rumao
Imitation may be the sincerest of flattery, but for businesses imitation turns out to be unauthorised production and distribution of products that are protected by intellectual property rights, such as copyright, trademarks and trade names. Counterfeit clothes, shoes, jewelry, watches and handbags from designer brands are made in varying quality. We all have seen or heard of fake Louis Vuitton handbags, Rolex watches, and “vintage” Bordeaux wines. Sometimes the intent is only to fool the gullible buyer who only looks at the label and does not know what the real thing looks like, while some consumers may not care if the goods they buy are counterfeit knock-offs, and just wish to purchase inexpensive products.
But when the “imitated” products affect safety, such as drugs or tyres, it goes beyond flattery, and becomes a danger to consumers.
As fuel prices and labour costs increase, trucking companies are forced to look closer at other parts of their businesses to trim costs. One area receiving increased attention is tyres, the third-largest expense behind fuel and labour for most fleets. The result has been more truckers turning to two options.
The first lower-cost alternative to new tyres is retreads, which generally enjoy a good safety record and cost about half the price of new tires. No wonder, then, that nearly 20 million retreads are sold in North America. According to the retread industry associations, advances in rubber chemistry and retreading techniques have improved the safety of retreads, and tests have shown that mileage delivered by high-quality truck retreads differs by just 5 per cent, compared with new tyres.
Full Text in PTA Dec/Jan issue