Leading retailers, brands and suppliers - including The Jones Group, Macy's, Walmart, VF Corporation and Li & Fung - have joined an industry-wide push to drive the uptake of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology across the apparel supply chain.

Also taking part in the initiative to develop guidelines and standards to support the rollout of RFID are trade associations and technology companies, such as the NRF (National Retail Federation), RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association), VICS (Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions), AAFA (American Apparel & Footwear Association), and CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals). Standards organisations GS1 Canada and GS1 US are also involved.

"Now is the time for us to find our voice as an industry in order to raise awareness of - and respect for - the value of standards-driven RFID technology in the retail supply chain," says VICS, which is coordinating the advisory board for the Item Level RFID Initiative.

"We foresee the evolution of global supply chain efficiency through the adoption of item level EPC-enabled RFID technology, which will foster innovation, improve business processes and enhance consumer experiences.

"EPC-enabled RFID has quickly evolved from a technology worth piloting to one that's proven at the retail level and throughout the supply chain. The numerous studies, pilots and production systems that have been executed over the past few years have produced one consistent thing: results."

Among the group's goals are plans to compile guidelines for RFID usage at the item level, and define a strategy for its phased introduction. They also intend to reinforce the need to protect consumer privacy when using the technology.

According to research done by the University of Arkansas, item level RFID technology can help lift inventory accuracy rates from 62% to more than 95%; it can count 5,000 items per hour compared with just 200 when using barcodes; and can halve out-of-stock reductions.

Click here for more information.