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Wednesday, February 24 2010

The World Trade Organization has lobbied for standardized practices and a common frequency to be implemented for radio frequency identification devices (RFID) for many years.  In 2006, the ISO introduced the ISO/IEC 18000-6 Amendment 1 incorporating the EPCglobal Generation 2 UHF RFID Air Interface protocol which had the intention of making available a license to manufactures to create devices fitting both the EPCglobal standard and the ISO standard.  This still did not establish a global standard but was a first step in that direction.    Further success is now being seen in this movement thanks to the announcement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on February 19 introducing ISO 17367:2009, Supply chain applications of RFID – Product tagging. 

Global logistics requires better tracking methods, e.g. traceability.   Traceability is defined by the ISO "as the tracking and tracing of product and information related to it at each stage of a chain of production, processing, distribution, and selling.  The development of radio frequency identification (RFID), including peripheral devices and their applications, is indispensable for increasing the safety and reliability of products for consumers".  Craig K. Harmon, Chair of TC 122/WG 10 comments: "ISO 17367:2009 will provide higher level security of products worldwide using RFID technology.  It will enable easy and efficient exchange of commodities in international trade and logistics. "


Anyone who has used RFID knows the value this implementation can add to a supply chain.  As this technology has gained recognition and increased in usage, the price per unit has decreased allowing RFID to become an affordable option for many businesses.  True global usage has been uncertain due to the lack of a common global frequency and lack of standardization.  While a common frequency is still needed, the ISO has untaken major steps in the area of standardization.  It is important to note that these standards only address product tagging (identification) and not packaging. 

Freight containers (ocean containers), product packaging, transport units and RTIs (returnable transport items) have recently become regulated by the ISO under different certifications. 

ISO 17367:2009 is applicable to a wide range of industries and it has been elaborated in order to ensure compatibility at the physical, command and data levels with four other International Standards under the general title: Supply chain applications of RFID. International Standards within this suite are interoperable and non-interfering:

·         ISO 17363:2007, Supply chain applications of RFID – Freight containers

·         ISO 17364:2009, Supply chain applications of RFID – Returnable transport items (RTIs)

·         ISO 17365:2009, Supply chain applications of RFID – Transport units

·         ISO 17366:2009, Supply chain applications of RFID – Product packaging.

These International Standards define the technical aspects and data hierarchy of information required in each layer of the supply chain.  ISO technical committee ISO/TC 122/WG 10, Packaging, in collaboration with ISO/TC 104, Freight containers developed this series of standards. TC 122/WG 10 has undertaken a revision of this suite of standards to provide better clarity to the encoded methods to be utilized and support for sensor technology. (

As the global supply chain grows, it is reasonable to expect to see more ISO standardization in this field.  Standardization will aid in cost reduction, loss reduction and overall lower costs in the transportation aspect of the supply chain.

Posted by: Dr. Sitler AT 04:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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