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Asset Tracking When You’re a Department of Defense Supplier

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

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Keeping track of company assets can be difficult enough on its own, but asset tracking for DoD suppliers has its own set of unique challenges. However, the right tools and practices can make asset management easier and ensure compliance with federal standards.

What is asset tracking?

Asset tracking, sometimes referred to as asset management, is the process of tracking physical assets. Common asset tracking methods include barcodes, GPS, and RFID. Precise, consistent asset tracking is critical to any supplier’s bottom line because data about asset status influences decision-making, and because the cost of lost or missing assets can be substantial.

The main objective for any asset management system should be to control assets efficiently while minimizing asset loss. Software that delivers real-time asset tracking allows businesses to make decisions with up-to-the-minute data.

How is asset management different if you’re a DoD supplier?

Put simply, UID. Unique Identification (UID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID) are permanent marking methods for equipment and assets required by the DoD. All defense suppliers must use the UID tracking system.

Even before UID became mandatory for DoD suppliers in the early 2000s, some form of equipment asset tracking has been a prominent feature in US military operations since World War II. Learn more about the DoD’s asset management system in this article, A Brief History of DoD UID.

For suppliers like you, managing the UID tracking process can pose some challenges. You must create end-level UID, track assets previously marked with UID, embed IUID for parent/child pedigree assembly, monitor government-furnished property, and ensure compliance within the IUID registry. Each of these tasks uses its own data pathways and specialized software, putting the burden on you as a supplier to enter and integrate the data for each of your defense commerce transactions.

3 best practices for DoD supplier asset tracking

  1. Automate UID tasks. All of the UID-related tasks above can be automated and streamlined to eliminate user error and redundant processes. Use a cloud-based IUID transactional software like Odyssey’s to get the job done quickly and accurately.
  1. Ensure IUID compliance. The Department of Defense has mandated that all their suppliers must use the IUID system—so it’s in your best interest as a supplier to ensure you’re using it correctly. This is another area where technology can be your savior: Odyssey’s software is DoD-approved, and allows you to seamlessly manage all required IUID tasks and make sure you’re compliant.
  1. Use RFID for asset management when possible. Creating and managing UID to designate assets is one thing; the physical method you use to track said assets is another. When possible, leverage RFID labels for real-time asset tracking. Not only is RFID more efficient than more traditional tracking methods, like barcodes, this technology is able to provide asset data in real time. Up-to-the-minute data gives you the ability to make decisions with the most accurate information available.

Asset tracking can be a complex and arduous task for any supplier, but even more so for companies that work with the Department of Defense. The right technology can drastically simplify the process and make compliance with DoD standards easier.

Want to learn more about how Odyssey can help you manage DoD asset tracking, IUID compliance, and other DoD commerce requirements? Get in touch with us to request a personalized demo of our software.