( Major retailers, technology providers and brands have joined together to develop a set of guidelines for assigning serialized identification numbers. This development would make it possible to trace where a product has come from or been throughout the global apparel supply chain. The guidelines were recently released by the information standards organization, GS1 US.

The GS1 US website is now offering the new technical guidelines (EPC-enabled RFID Serialization Management for SGTIN-96) on its website free of charge. Information on how to use a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) plus a unique serial number known as the Serialized Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) is offered on the website.

When using an SGTIN number helps to identify products that are identical making it highly efficient to do inventory counts across the global supply chain. The full power and benefits of RFID technology are used as a result of making use of the SGTIN number because the system helps to determine where a product is at any given time.

Several large American retailers including Macy’s, Jockey International, Lord & Taylor, Maidenform, and PVH Corp. were a part of the document-creating process.

Pam Sweeney, Senior Vice President, Logistics Systems at Macy’s said, “This should be part of every company’s EPC item-level RFID implementation toolbox”. She further stated, “It helps companies understand the importance of serialization, its relationship to the technology and why standards are so important when managing serialization”.

The current supply chain standards framework that is most commonly used will not be trashed with the release of the new guidelines. Instead the new guidelines are intended to supplement current GS1 standards. The new guidelines offer several strategies to avoid duplication of serial numbers when multiple parties are involved in EPC tagging.

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