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Item Level RFID Initiative considers adopting a global approach by partnering with retailers in Europe

The Item Level RFID Initiative made some big waves in January when it unveiled its mission at the National Retail Federation conference in New York. Since then, the group has been relatively quiet as it studies issues like serialization, tagging compliance and how to handle the massive amounts of data that retailers will soon harness from RFID.

The goal of the group, which includes retailers like Walmart, Macy’s, Kohls and Dillards, is to further accelerate item level tagging by publishing industry guidelines and business case roadmaps for return on investment for retailers and suppliers. (Click here to read RFID 24-7′s previous coverage on ILRI)

The group is now considering admitting European retailers into the group to make for a more global approach when it comes to standards. The move seems to make sense, since many retailers utilize the same suppliers in China.

In a recent interview with RFID 24-7, Gerry Weber CIO Christian von Grone explained his desire to collaborate with his North American retail counterparts.

“We have a similar situation in Europe with two or three different initiatives just coming from the ground where industry partners are joining to see what we can we do about RFID in Europe,” he says. “We are part of two of those initiatives. Some of the members of the ally would like to coordinate our efforts (with the U.S.) because in the long run we all meet at the same suppliers in China.”

Gerry Weber belongs to the FashionGroup  RFID and the Working Group Source Tagging initiative.

Bill Hardgrave, who is an advisor to the group and a member of the staff at Auburn University, believes the North American group should seriously consider global collaboration.

“The Item Level RFID Initiative should include all retailers and brand owners,” he says. “In short, I think we need to get them involved and I hope we find a way to do it.”

Grone says that developing separate standards in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world would only make things more difficult for suppliers. “We should coordinate our efforts so that we have the same technology standards and the same  standards for things like tag placement. We encourage GS1 US Europe and GS1 global and who else is out there to help us coordinate this worldwide.

“In Europe we have a great interest to join the ally.”

Grone says his North American counterparts have shown an interest in making the group more globally focused. “They know that we have conducted lots of research and in some cases we are maybe a little further along when it comes to implementations than the U.S., so sharing those experiences will be a good thing. Besides, the U.S. is very retail driven and Europe is industry driven and putting those strategies together could be very helpful to both of us.”

 

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