If retailer A was using item-level tracking on a red Polo Ralph Lauren shirt at its stores, could retailer B utilize the same tracking number to identify that item at its shops?
If the retailers are employing the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard, as most are, then this is feasible. Polo Ralph Lauren has a company prefix and a product identifier, which is essentially what is contained in the Universal Product Code (UPC). On top of that, radio frequency identification now allows a company to add a serial number. So the company prefix and product identifier for a red Polo Ralph Lauren shirt would be the same for retailers A and B. However, the serial numbers would be different. So Ralph Lauren would know which specific shirts went to each retailer, while each store could track the shirts at its shops individually.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal