Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

EPCIS Benefits Manufacturers

By sharing data with retail partners using the Electronic Product Code Information Service, manufacturers can cut costs and increase sales.
By Andrew Price
Jun 05, 2007—From the moment Wal-Mart announced that it would require top suppliers to tag pallets and cases with radio frequency identification transponders based on the Electronic Product Code standard, consumer product goods manufacturers complained they had to bear the cost of the tags and got little benefit in return. The recent ratification of EPCglobal's Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS) should change the equation.

The EPCIS is a set of standardized network interfaces and protocols for sharing EPC data. These interfaces and protocols create a single way to capture and share information automatically. They allow computers to communicate with each other, so processes can be automated. And because they are based on common Internet standards, different industries and even individual companies can implement the standard in ways that work for them.

All industries will be able to use the EPCIS, but retailers and CPG manufacturers have been among the first to test EPCIS's capabilities.
In a sense, the EPCIS is similar to European banks setting up, in 1973, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), to create a standardized messaging service to facilitate the rapid transfer of funds. Prior to 1973, all interbank communication was done via telephone, telex, courier or mail, which was slow and inefficient. Under the SWIFT standards, each type of message contains information about the kind of transfer. A sending bank must write SWIFT instructions that conform to preset messages in order for the receiving bank to respond.

All industries will be able to use the EPCIS, but right now the retail/CPG industry is furthest along the EPC adoption curve because of retailer mandates. So retailers and CPG manufacturers have been among the first to test EPCIS's capabilities. Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and others have all run pilots.

The EPCIS should deliver value to CPG manufacturers as RFID rollouts expand because it standardizes the communication and the data formats. Data from one or more retailers can be transferred securely and automatically via the EPCIS and stored in an EPCIS repository. CPG companies can use the data to determine in real time what's happening in the supply chain.

For instance, Kimberly-Clark is using EPC data to improve the way it manages in-store promotions (Kimberly-Clark Gets an Early Win). K-C gets information in near-real time from Wal-Mart, analyzes it and determines which stores are not getting the promotional displays and products onto the retail sales floor on time, so it can alert its merchandising service provider to take corrective steps.

Up to now, that data has been shared via Applicability Statement 2 (AS2), an Internet form of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The AS2 system works when a company is managing a limited number of tagged promotions with one retailer, but AS2 and standard EDI networks are point-to-point solutions, akin to one bank faxing another. EPCIS adds value by allowing for one-to-many or many-to-many connections, so a CPG company can have data from many suppliers flow into the EPCIS automatically and respond when promotions aren't being executed properly.

Moreover, by having data from many retailers flow into its EPCIS, a CPG company can manage replenishment across its supply chain. Today, for instance, it would be hard for a CPG company to divert a pallet of a product from ABC Retailer, which has seen demand weaken, to XYZ Retailer, which has seen stronger-than-expected sales. That's because the two retailers provide point-of-sale data in different formats, making it hard to look at the data on an aggregate basis. The EPCIS should make it possible for CPG companies to examine the demand across all retail partners and make decisions about what to ship where.

It's not clear how quickly EPCIS will be adopted. Many companies have been testing the standard, but few are using it as part of their EPC rollouts. It's likely that companies will shift to the EPCIS standard as applications that use it are rolled out; some—such as replenishment, supply-chain management, electronic pedigree and electronic proof of delivery—already support it. The true value of the EPCIS comes as more companies adopt EPC technologies within an industry, because the EPCIS is all about facilitating the sharing of EPC data securely among many players in an industry. Consider that some 7,800 banks in 200 countries use the SWIFT network to route $6 trillion daily. It would be hard to do that by phone, fax and mail.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 727 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations