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Industry Players Form Group to Push RFID

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - Several trade associations representing retailers, manufacturers and technology companies have banded together to guide the adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in retail.
     The advisory board for the Item Level RFID Initiative includes executives from Walmart, Kohl's, Macy's, Li & Fung and Dillards, among others.
     Participating associations include NRF (National Retail Federation), RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association), VICS (Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions), AAFA (American Apparel & Footwear Association), and CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) as well as the standards organizations GS1 Canada and GS1 US.
     "This initiative could change the way the retail industry does business - and could lead to the biggest supply-chain transformation since the introduction of the bar code," said Joseph Andraski, president ceo of VICS.
     The effort will first focus on the apparel category.
     "We believe it is time for the industry to come together to advance the use of this technology throughout the retail supply chain," said Peter Longo, president of Macy's logistics and operations.
     According to research done by the University of Arkansas, RIFD technology offers inventory accuracy rates of more than 95%, up from an average of 62%, can count 5,000 items per hours (vs. 200 per hour using barcodes) and reduces out-of-stocks up to 50%.
     The group will develop guidelines and standards to support the rollout of RFID.
     "The retail sector stands on the brink of a key technology shift, and members of the Item Level RFID Initiative believe that now is the time for the entire industry to move toward a more efficient system for manufacturing, supplying, selling and buying products," said Art Smith, ceo, GS1 Canada.
     More information is available at vics.org/ILRI.

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