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VICS Item Level RFID Initiative Enters Phase II

The group intends to publish a road map by mid 2012 to help retailers, suppliers and technology vendors deploy RFID systems for the supply chain, while seeking more membership from retailers and suppliers and inviting technology providers to join at a fee.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 18, 2011The VICS Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI), a group composed of retail supply chain participants and organizations aimed at standardizing deployment of item-level RFID tagging, has established plans to publish a road map by mid 2012 that retailers, suppliers and solution providers can follow for implementing RFID systems.

The Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association (VICS) spearheaded VILRI's formation more than a year ago. VICS' mission is focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the retail supply chain. In June 2010, the association—together with standards organizations GS1 US and GS1 Canada—established the VILRI, and officially announcing its creation five months later (see Major Retailers, Industry Groups Launch Item-Level RFID Guidelines Initiative and Item Level RFID Initiative Focuses on Supplier Benefits).

Bill Connell, Macy's senior VP of logistics and operations
The founding members of VILRI—which include Levi Strauss, Jockey, VF Jeanswear, The Jones Group and Macy's, Wal-Mart, JC Penney and Dillard's—were intent on meeting the needs of retailers and their suppliers as they adopted RFID tagging of products. The adoption of item-level RFID technology has grown, as retailers and their suppliers seek to increase inventory accuracy, reduce out-of-stocks and prevent loss. Today VILRI membership consists of nearly 200 organizations, including many of VICS' 160 members.

"The best way to describe this initiative is the bringing together of retailers, suppliers, associations, academic institutions and solution providers under the umbrella of VICS to develop collaborative adoption of a standard [for item level RFID tagging]," says Bill Connell, cochair of VILRI's Communications & Outreach committee and senior VP of Macy's logistics and operations.

During its first year, VILRI organized three separate committees (namely "Communications and Outreach," "Business Case and Value Proposition" and "Getting Started") and launched proof-of-concept trials by Macy's Dillard's and JC Penney at a laboratory operated by the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center, as well as in select stores.

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