RFID Talk Blog

Industry standards groups GS1 and VICS to merge

After months of speculation, GS1 US and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association (VICS) have announced that they will merge. The two supply-chain standards organizations serve multiple industry sectors and expect the integration to be complete by the end of the year.

The merger is designed to streamline the standards adoption process for industry and give members of the not-for-profit organizations access to standards for a broader range of supply-chain functions. The two groups expect to enter into a definitive agreement during Q4 of 2012.

VICS has helped to usher in new standards and educational best practices that have accelerated the use of RFID in the retail sector, particularly among apparel retailers and vendors. The group founded the Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI) two years ago. Major retailers have joined VILRI in an effort to accelerate the use of RFID within their stores and gain better supply chain and inventory visibility.

“This integration benefits retailers as we work to improve both the customer experience and our financial performance,” said Gary Maxwell, senior vice president of the global business process team at Walmart Stores, Inc. “It will also translate to more direct access to the standards development process, an improved cost structure, and the technical expertise needed to support the responsible implementation and use of supply chain technologies, such as EPC-enabled RFID.”

Both the VICS Item Level RFID Initiative and the GS1 US Item Level Readiness Program are designed to provide the education, training, tools, and community support that apparel and general merchandise retailers – and brands – need to implement Electronic Product Code (EPC) item level tagging into day-to-day operations.

“Combining the strengths of GS1 US and VICS will benefit industry by providing a single ‘clearinghouse’ for innovation and new ideas,” said Bob Carpenter, President and CEO of GS1 US. “This integration is being modeled after other successful industry initiatives at GS1 US.”

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