An exploratory study of business strategies employed by Kenyan manufacturing industry to fight counterfeits
In recent years, an increasing number of Kenyan manufacturers have witnessed some form of counterfeiting. Although counterfeiting may affect an organization’s pursuit of a quality-focused business strategy and a commitment to quality management practices, counterfeiting may merely be a response to external (customers') demands for alternatives. The research sought to assess the extent of counterfeiting of goods in the Kenyan manufacturing industry, evaluate the business strategies deployed by the manufacturers in Kenya to address the counterfeit menace, assess the role of regulatory authorities and agencies in assisting manufacturing companies to address the counterfeit problem, and finally to identify possible solutions to the counterfeit problem. The study population comprised members of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. Based on a multi-method approach of data collection, the study assessed the extent of the counterfeit goods problem and found it to be present in all sectors of the manufacturing industry. The focus in the first stage was all the 723 members of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. A second phase was done for deeper analysis on the food and beverage, and pharmaceutical sectors. This was based on findings of the first phase that identified these two sectors as being the most affected sectors in Kenya. A further set of interviews were carried out on executives of regulatory bodies and a sample of seven manufacturing executives to gain further insight into the counterfeit problem. The results showed a significant difference in the business strategies pursued by the various sectors. The study highlights that manufacturers use various methods to discover the counterfeits as well as to communicate with the public. The study looked at possible solutions and discovered a range from new packaging to mobile phone-based solutions. In the case of regulatory framework, the manufacturers confer that the framework is still very weak and does little to help fight the problem The recommendations from this study include the need for manufacturers to implement solutions, put in place strong controls and exchange ideas with fellow manufacturers and regulatory authorities that will help all. The study finally identified areas of further research. There is also need to understand further the contribution to the problem by imported finished goods.