Is There an EDI Transaction to Share Numbers to Encode on an RFID Tag?

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Ask The ExpertsIs There an EDI Transaction to Share Numbers to Encode on an RFID Tag?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago

Has a standard yet been developed that defines the means by which to submit RFID tag number information in an electronic data interchange (EDI) transaction set to a manufacturer, in order to define which RFID tag numbers should be encoded onto a price ticket for a particular stock-keeping unit (SKU)?

—Name withheld

To answer your question, I reached out to GS1, which has established the global standards for identifying products through the Universal Product Code (UPC) and the Electronic Product Code (EPC). Michele Southall, GS1's implementation services director, says the short answer to your question is no, there is no EDI transaction to share the numbers to encode in an RFID tag.

EPCs are essentially Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTINs). GS1 standards define the GTIN as 14 digits and the serial number as 1 to 20 alphanumeric characters. "If the price ticket on an item is used to scan at the point of sale in retail, it can be assumed that those tickets are encoded currently with a scanable bar code that contains either the GTIN-12 (UPC) or an EAN (GTIN-13)," Southall explains. "So the sharing of what RFID tag number should be encoded would not require an electronic transaction." The retailer could simply instruct the supplier to encode the RFID tag with the same identifier it would apply to the bar code, along with, of course, a serial number to uniquely identify the object."

If you are asking if there is an EDI transaction to tell the tag encoder (usually a service provider) what to encode into the tags, the answer is also no. Most service providers ask which GS1 key a company uses in its bar code (shared with a datafile upload) and then develop serial-number assignments based on discussions with the item's owner. However, there have been modifications to most EDI transactions to refer to the EPC (GTIN, along with serial number) of the object being discussed through the typical order-to-cash scenarios that EDI users exchange today.

I can put you in touch with Michele Southall if you wish.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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