GS1 US and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association, two supply chain standards organizations serving multiple industry sectors, have signed a memorandum of understanding to merge their operations. 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. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The integration is being modeled after other industry initiatives at GS1 US, explains Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 US. The merger, he notes, will provide a single clearinghouse for innovation and new ideas.
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,” says Joe Andraski, president and CEO of VICS and a member of the MH&L Editorial Advisory Board. “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,” says Gary Maxwell, senior vice president, Global Business Process Team, Walmart Stores Inc. “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.”
Since its inception in 1986, VICS has operated as an independent entity, with the support and assistance of GS1 US. The VICS offices are located within the Lawrenceville, N.J., headquarters of GS1 US. VICS currently has 143 members; 68 percent of which also belong to GS1 US, which serves over 200,000 companies as part of the global GS1 organization.