Getting Ready for the Future Supply Chain

By Mark Roberti

RFID Forum 2012, hosted by the University of Arkansas, offers an opportunity to see the new RFID Research Center lab and learn about item-level deployments.


This year’s fifth annual RFID Forum, being held on Sept. 11-12, 2012, at the University of ArkansasSam Walton College of Business, will be hosted by the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the University of Arkansas and GS1 US. The 2012 RFID Forum will include tours of the new lab at the university’s RFID Research Center (see University of Arkansas’ New RFID Research Center Parallels Growth of RFID Industry). It’s a great opportunity for retailers and suppliers to learn about the benefits of item-level tracking via radio frequency identification.

“The success of the RFID Forum can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of a number of organizations, who approach the development of each agenda with a very objective goal in mind,” says Joe Andraski, VICS’ president and CEO. “That goal is about education and helping retailers and suppliers understand the value of implementing EPC-enabled, item-level RFID. The information shared can help companies determine individual strategies, which have an impact on effectiveness, efficiency and improved consumer satisfaction.”

The agenda at RFID Forum 2012 will include an update on the work of the VICS Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI), a collaborative group that has come together to develop standardized ways in which to use GS1‘s Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards in the retail supply chain. Nicole Bivens Collinson, the president of international trade and government relations at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., will discuss legislation, customs and regulatory compliance within the EPC supply chain. What’s more, there will be a panel discussion with Interstate Batteries and Goodyear, among other sessions.

The new RFID Research Center lab has a mock-up of a department store, a grocery store and a pharmacy, as well as a retail back-room area, a warehouse, a distribution center and a home in which EPC-enabled RFID technologies can be demonstrated and tested. “It’s the physical culmination of seven years of intensive research on emerging technology in the retail supply chain,” says Justin Patton, the research center’s managing director. “The concept is a simulation of the supply chain from the raw materials all the way to the consumer’s home. All of the use cases where RFID is currently affecting retailers and suppliers will be demonstrated, as well as horizon technologies that will combine with RFID to create the integrated, data-intensive supply chain of the future.”

Patton adds, “For those who haven’t seen RFID in action, the lab is a great opportunity to see what RFID can do in a variety of retail and supply chain settings. It can be a real eye-opener.”

A growing number of retailers are actively exploring RFID’s potential to improve inventory accuracy and store execution, but the technology and its applications are still not widely understood. RFID Journal will work with VILRI and the RFID Research Center to demonstrate cycle counting and other common applications, as well as the benefits that can be achieved, at RFID Journal LIVE! 2013. In the meantime, the RFID Forum is a great way for retailers to begin learning about how to benefit from radio frequency identification.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.