New guidelines released for RFID-based Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) are likely to help firms throughout the apparel and retail supply chain by boosting rapid replenishment and RFID tagging at source.

The GS1 EPCglobal strategic overview and technical implementation guides cover the use of RFID-based EAS standards with reusable and disposable tags.

The industry-driven standards "present a new model for the way in which retailers will monitor and manage shrink," said Chris Adcock, president of not-for-profit organisation EPCglobal Inc.

"EPC/RFID is designed to deliver item visibility, enabling retailers to reduce stock-outs, enhance the shopper's buying experience and increase sales."

Multiple standards currently exist for EAS systems throughout the retail industry, and by consolidating EAS with RFID technology it is hoped that retailers will enjoy both security and operational functionalities from a single tag.

"Existing EAS technologies only provide an indication that a theft has occurred when a product exits the store," explains Paul Chamandy, vice president, new business development for Avery Dennison, which supplies tags and labels that can be equipped with the technology.

RFID-based EAS, however, provides intelligence regarding what was stolen and precisely when that theft took place.

"It allows a retailer to do timely replenishment of lost product, and it provides enhanced visibility to better understand how to improve loss prevention strategies," Chamandy notes.

GS1 EPCglobal's new strategic overview and implementation guides provide a clear blueprint for RFID/EAS adoption.

The single tag will also facilitate source tagging, a process that relieves retailers from having to apply security tags at the store level.