Retailers and suppliers efforts to conduct commerce more efficiently are poised to benefit from the merger of two of the nation’s leading supply chain standards-setting groups.
GS1 US and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association on Monday said they signed a memorandum of understanding to merge their operations. The move comes as retailers and suppliers look for new ways to improve the efficiency of their supply chains as a key driver of customer satisfaction and financial returns. The merger is designed to streamline the standards adoption process for industry and give the not-for-profit organizations’ members access to standards for a broader range of supply-chain functions.
"Combining the strengths of GS1 US and VICS will benefit industry by providing a single ‘clearinghouse’ for innovation and new ideas," said Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 US. "This integration is being modeled after other successful industry initiatives at GS1 US."
The joint GS1 US-VICS initiative will reside in the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise group, opening the door for cross-industry synergies, and providing expanded resources, technical expertise, and global reach.
"This is a logical next step in the growth of both organizations, especially considering the synergies between the member communities of VICS and GS1 US," said Joe Andraski, president and CEO of VICS. "Our members will be well served by the global reach of the GS1 organization, particularly as they adopt EPC-enabled RFID. And existing VICS activities will be rolled into the new integrated structure, providing continuity."
The merger will also provide a venue for industry thought leadership and change, as well as continued development, sponsorship, and functioning of various VICS workgroups and committees. These committees address such industry issues as floor-ready merchandise, logistics, product images, and the industry-driven VICS Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI).
"This integration benefits retailers as we work to improve both the customer experience and our financial performance," said Gary Maxwell, SVP of Walmart’s global business process team. "It will also translate to more direct access to the standards development process, an improved cost structure, and the technical expertise needed to support the responsible implementation and use of supply chain technologies, such as EPC-enabled RFID."
The connection between GS1 US and VICS focuses on processes, procedures, and guidelines that use GS1 Standards. For example, VICS helped drive adoption of the U.P.C. barcode in the apparel industry, in addition to guiding the industry in the adoption of best practices for Floor Ready Merchandise, Collaborative, Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR), Logistics, and other important initiatives.