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For nearly half a century, Ashton Potter has empowered governments and organizations by ensuring product integrity on a global scale, protecting their brands, their customers, and their citizens through an all-in-one high security printing and SaaS-based traceability solution.
In an interview with CIO-Applications, Kelly M. Smith, Senior Vice President at Ashton Potter, provides an insightful perspective on the company’s history, points of value and differentiation, and vision for the future.
Please tell us about the history of Ashton Potter.
Founded in the 1920s, Ashton Potter has evolved into one of the largest high-quality secure stamp and label manufacturers in the world. Today, we produce 25% of the world’s postage stamps, and since 1996 have produced billions of tax stamps. Ashton Potter is proud to serve as a founding member of the International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) where we work alongside other industry leaders to drive the future of tax stamp security, traceability, and best practices. Beyond this, we have become a leading supplier of highly sensitive government documents including visas and identification documents as well as fiscal products such as money orders. Most recently, we’ve added ProLinc® to our solution portfolio. ProLinc®is an advanced global traceability solution that provides governments and industries across verticals greater insight into their global supply chains.
Could you please shed light upon your offerings in the government space?
Ashton Potter provides governments the high security, tamper-evident solutions required to uphold the integrity of fiscal and identification documents. Our strength lies in our ability to cost effectively manage large, single-source, multi-year, and multi-product contracts and programs for a range of government departments and agencies including passport and visa offices, revenue authorities, and postal administration customers around the world.
Our value proposition is founded on the ability to generate unique, serialized identities for every document and stamp printed. Using our proven process, these identities are affixed to each item leveraging the appropriate printing, finishing, and anti-counterfeiting techniques and correlated to a digital record. At a single scan of the tamper-evident label, the item’s genealogy becomes accessible to the authority, providing unprecedented forensic insight that empowers government agents to verify authenticity, protect consumers, and collect appropriate taxes.
At a single scan of the tamper-evident label, the item’s genealogy becomes accessible to the authority, providing unprecedented forensic insight that empowers government agents to verify authenticity, protect consumers, and collect appropriate taxes
In support of our ongoing effort to deliver the highest standard to our customers, we are a NASPO International Class II and ISO 14298:2013 certified company for security printing management as well as certified to the quality management systems ISO 9001:2015. These certifications demonstrate our on-going commitment to consistently meet government and customer standards for security and quality products and services.
What differentiates your solution from competitive offerings?
As the threat landscape evolved, we recognized that providing high security print solutions alone could not combat efforts to undercut regulation and over site. Along with our existing high security printing services, we recognized the need for a multi-faceted approach to item security that combined tamper-evident printing techniques with advanced traceability solutions.
Thus, ProLinc® was born. By pairing with our security printing offering, ProLinc® provides the unrivalled ability to physically and digitally trace and verify product origin, location, and integrity. As a result, we empower our customers to thwart illegal activity and ensure the authenticity and integrity of regulated documents and items, ultimately resulting in greater consumer safety through compliance and recall and higher tax revenue collection.
Could you please walk us through the benefits and capabilities of your ProLinc® technology?
ProLinc® is a SaaS-based product security and traceability technology designed to provide global, forensic insight into product lifecycle. Scalable to the billions, ProLinc® is optimized for applications in highly regulated industries that handle large quantities of items. ProLinc® works to break down data silos, aggregating information from across the supply chain and housing this data in a centralized, Blockchain-enabled database for remote insight. Moreover, ProLinc® can be seamlessly implemented into environments through Ashton Potter’s white glove integration partnerships to augment and extend the value of existing ERPs and operating systems.
While ProLinc® was born in the government sector, it is optimized for use across any global and highly regulated industry, including food & beverage and automated manufacturing.
What does Ashton Potter’s roadmap look like?
Looking to the future, we will take a multi-pronged approach to better serve existing customers and penetrate new industries and opportunities where scalability, traceability, and security are key considerations. As a primary focus of our efforts, we will be continuing to evolve and optimize ProLinc® in line with market needs and emerging threats, expanding our wheelhouse of offerings to ensure we are always on the cutting edge. Equally we will continue to develop and integrate new security features and anti-counterfeiting capabilities into our products to keep ahead of counterfeiters.
For governments, these efforts will involve introducing new digital traceability elements to our high security print solutions that ensure authentication efforts outpace strides taken by nefarious agents to circumvent regulation. For brands, where few companies offer solutions that enable true forward and backward traceability, we will introduce scalable, granular traceability that provides product-level data at any stage of the supply chain. This will allow companies to extend product-related insight all the way to the consumer to deliver the transparency that the increasingly-involved customer desires.