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A group of North America's leading retail industry members - including stores and manufacturers - as well as retail and RFID associations, have teamed up to begin writing road maps and guidelines for RFID usage at the item level in the retail sector. The Item Level RFID Initiative, under the guidance of supply chain efficiency association Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) and standards groups GS1 US and GS1 Canada, is being compared by the initiative's members with work done in previous decades that made bar-code and electronic data interchange (EDI) technologies ubiquitous in the retail market.
The group's goal is to provide a set of guidelines that will enable retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and logistics providers (initially in the apparel industry, and eventually in other sectors as well, such as general merchandise) to deploy an RFID system using the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard that is compatible with other members of the supply chain, as well as of the retail industry. In this way, the group hopes to head off incompatibility issues, such as suppliers being asked to use different RFID tag-data specifications for different stores.
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