The Shareholder Online The alumni magazine of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Dean Hardgrave elected to GS1 US Apparel and Merchandise Executive Leadership Committee


Dedicated to defining business challenges and providing companies with insight on issues pertaining to guidelines and standards, the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative often relies on the direction — and thought leadership — of its nine-member Executive Leadership Committee.

One of the committee’s newly-elected members is Harbert College of Business Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Bill Hardgrave, who previously served on the Initiative’s Industry Sponsors Group.

Dean Hardgrave“As an active participant in the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative’s Industry Sponsors Group, Dr. Hardgrave has been a consistent, thoughtful contributor on topics that have resulted in positive outcomes to the retail industry,” said Melanie Nuce, GS1 US Vice President. “His election to the Executive Leadership Committee will build upon his contribution to the industry and guide forward thinking that will benefit the members of the Initiative and the industry as a whole.”

Hardgrave, the only academic on the committee, joins Hudson’s Bay Company CIO Dan Smith, Kohl’s Senior VP of Logistics Gregg Barta, Macy’s President for Logistics and Operations Peter Longo, Walmart Senior VP for Applications Randy Smalley, Jockey VP of Operations Karen Smith, PVH Corp. Group VP for Strategic Services Linda Sarentino, Ralph Lauren VP for Supply Chain Integration David Rush, and VF Corp. VP for Product Development Jay Craft.

“This is a very important GS1 committee and I am humbled to be among the great group of thought leaders that comprise the committee,” said Hardgrave. “I have had the pleasure to work with most of these companies and individuals over the past few years because of my work with RFID and my extensive involvement with GS1.  As the only non-industry person on the committee, I will look to bring a unique perspective to the group – a perspective that is broad and neutral.”

Hardgrave mentioned that one of today’s most pressing business challenges is the “new era of retail,” an era he dubbed “Retail 3.0.”

“In Retail 3.0, the power is all in the hands of the consumer,” he explained, noting that retail power was once wielded by manufacturers, then retailers. “Today, the consumer drives retail. The consumer is very demanding — anywhere, anytime, any product. This change has been driven largely by mobile – having a powerful ‘computer’ in your hand. This shift is fundamentally changing how we do retail and it is potentially disruptive to traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers.”

Hardgrave said traditional retailers must change to accommodate today’s omni-channel “anyplace, anytime, any product” consumer.

“The first step in doing that is they have to know what they have and where they have it,” he said. “That’s where things like RFID come in. This group (Executive Committee) really helps GS1 as the global stand-setting body with those issues around new technologies and new guidelines and new standards that will help drive this new era of retail.”

Nuce believes Hardgrave’s exhaustive RFID technology experience will benefit the committee. Before coming to Auburn in 2010, Hardgrave was founder and director of the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas.

“Dr. Hardgrave has been a visionary and thought leader in the retail industry,” Nuce said. “Not only has he been an advocate on topics ranging from best practices for achieving omni-channel success and the transformational capabilities of item level RFID, but he has also been at the forefront in helping to drive awareness and education among brand owners and retailers.”

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Joe McAdory

Joe McAdory is Communications Editor at The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. Prior to his appointment at Auburn University in January of 2013, McAdory was Editorial Page Editor (2004 to 2013) and Sports Editor (1999-2003) at the Opelika-Auburn News. He has been recognized by the Alabama Press Association and Alabama Associated Press for his sports columns, news columns, investigative reporting and news features. He is a 1992 graduate of Auburn University.
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