About GS1 US and the Voluntary
Interindustry Commerce Solutions
(VICS) Association

Earlier this year, GS1 US and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association, two leading supply-chain standards organizations serving multiple industry sectors, announced the integration of their operations.

The merger was designed to streamline the standards adoption process for industry and give the not-for-profit organizationsí members access to standards for a broader range of supply-chain functions. The new, integrated structure is known as the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative. A single, integrated organization will better serve members. It provides a venue for industry thought-leadership and change, as well as continued development, sponsorship, and facilitation of various workgroups and retail and manufacturer committees that address industry issues around floor-ready merchandise, logistics and product images—as well as the industry-driven Item Level RFID Initiative (ILRI). This is a logical next step in the growth of both organizations, especially considering the synergies between the member communities of GS1 US and VICS. Today's diverse, global retail supply chain challenges will also be well served by the global reach of the GS1 organization.

VICS is made up of various companies that have proven that a timely and accurate flow of product and information between trading partners can significantly improve their competitive position. It has been demonstrated that cross-industry commerce standards facilitate better customer service, while reducing costs. VICS' participation with hundreds of small and large companies has established that the implementation of its business processes and standards can achieve excellent returns that go far beyond initial expectations.

A 1996 study conducted by Kurt Salmon Associates showed that companies that have implemented VICS' business-replenishment processes have achieved dramatic results: increased sales, faster turns, improved inventory control and cost savings. While the results were impressive, VICS continued to develop a new collaborative dimension to supply chain processes: Collaborative, Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR®).

By 2001, an AMR Research study demonstrated that retailers and suppliers jointly achieved higher sales—with double-digit inventory decreases, as well as stock improvements at the wholesale level and on the retail shelf—at a lower overall logistics cost. At the same time, Kurt Salmon Associates estimated that "the benefits of CPFR®, for just the apparel industry alone, could conservatively total $8.3 billion annually."

VICS' board committees continue to build on its legacy of supply chain excellence, through the continuous improvement of existing supply chain processes, the development of new collaborative commerce business processes and the effective implementation of e-commerce standards.

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