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Omnichannel retailers get TIPP from standards group


Inventory visibility is a prerequisite for retailers executing omnichannel strategies, which is why RFID is enjoying a resurgence and something called the Tagged Item Performance Protocol holds great promise.

Inventory visibility has always been important in retail, but never more so than today when retailers of all types are looking to execute omnichannel strategies that involve ship from store and return to store capabilities. Omnichannel creates all sorts of new supply chain challenges that make it more difficult to keep tabs on inventory.

It’s why RFID is enjoying a resurgence and the standards setting organization GS1 US recently released a new guideline called the Tagged Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) to help the retail sector consistently define, test and verify the performance level of Electronic Product Code (EPC)-enabled Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.

Developed by retailers, suppliers and technology solution providers, TIPP offers a standardized system to benchmark the performance of RFID-tagged items in multiple environments. Implementing an RFID program with enhanced tagged-item performance enables retailers to maximize the benefits of RFID, including greater inventory accuracy, improved point-of-sale, decreased out-of-stocks, improved loss detection, enhanced stock conversion reporting, increased full price sales, and expedited returns.

TIPP comprises three components that provide an industry-scalable solution for defining tagged-item performance: tagged-item grade definitions, testing procedures and a product catalogue that defines the RFID tag orientation and layout of common retail items.

“The performance of an RFID tag depends on many environmental variables such as the store environment, product packaging and orientation to the reader,” said Melanie Nuce, vice president of apparel and general merchandise, GS1 US. “Historically, retailers have conducted their own RFID performance testing and set their own individual expectations for tag inlay solutions that may be used to tag products destined for their stores. This required suppliers to provide different solutions for different retailers. TIPP now allows retailers to set performance levels for a specific use case, and it also allows suppliers flexibility in how they meet grade levels from multiple retailers.”

According to Nuce, TIPP will facilitate tremendous innovation and flexibility in future RFID expansions since tagged-item performance is now clearly defined and can now be verified independently by retailers, suppliers or any third party.

The TIPP guideline was developed by members of the GS1 US Item Level RFID Workgroup, a focused collaboration within the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative.

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