GS1 US and Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association to merge

Both leading supply-chain standards organizations serve multiple industry sectors

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In a move to take advantage of constituent “synergies,” GS1 US and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association have signed a memorandum of understanding to merge their operations. 

Both leading supply-chain standards organizations serve multiple industry sectors.

The joint GS1 US-VICS initiative will reside in the GS1 U.S. Apparel and General Merchandise group, opening the door for cross-industry “synergies,” and providing expanded resources, technical expertise, and global reach, noted Joe Andraski, President and CEO of VICS, in a statement.

“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,” he added.

In an interview with LM, Patrick Javick, vice president, retail and general merchandise, for GS1 US, explained that 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.

“This integration process is under way now and we expect to enter into a definitive agreement before year’s end…perhaps by October.”

Combining the relative strengths of the two organizations 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,” he added.


Spokesmen said that 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, 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.”

“VICS focuses on what the industry wants, and GS1 focuses on how to get it done, said Cynthia DiPietrantonio, Chief Operations Officer, Jones Apparel Group, Inc. The GS1 US industry engagement model will help industry move forward together toward mass implementation of this transformational technology throughout the global supply chain – including new sectors and categories.”

Since its inception in 1986, VICS has operated as an independent entity, with the support and assistance of GS1 U.S. The VICS offices are located within the Lawrenceville, N.J. headquarters of GS1 US.

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. 

Both the VICS Item Level RFID Initiative and the GS1 US Item Level Readiness Program are designed to provide the education, training, tools, and community support that apparel and general merchandise retailers – and brands – need to implement Electronic Product Code (EPC) item level tagging into day-to-day operations.

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.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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