We want to start off by saying that we love RFID technology. We probably love it more than most people will ever realize. But as great as that affection is, we do recognize that there can be challenges in utilizing it correctly. Lately, we’ve noticed that prospective clients have been calling us with two specific issues related to the DoD Commerce process.
1. ‘proof of delivery.’ Essentially, suppliers aren’t getting paid for the goods they’re shipping until they are able to prove the shipment occurred and was delivered.
2. the General Service Administration (GSA) recently transferring management of their contracts to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
These two issues, if not approached correctly, can throw a wrench into the machine of any supplier looking to ship their products in the most efficient manor possible. The complications seem to loom large, but they don’t look like obstacles to us, because we’ve specifically developed our Odyssey software to counteract such scenarios. Allow us to explain.
We’ll start with 'proof of delivery', as this tends to be more of a widespread issue. When a DoD supplier sends something to the Government that requires a RFID tag they must ensure that the information they provide is 100 percent accurate. If the label data isn’t inputted correctly into Wide Area Workflow (WAWF), the supplier won’t find out until they see they haven’t been paid, which may be 30 days later. Contacting the Government in this case often doesn’t solve the problem either. Without proper tags/MIL-STD 129R labels and corresponding database reconciliation, there’s no way for the receiving agency to properly accept the shipment. The supplier is left to search through their files, make sure they’re organized, get a copy of the packing slip, and shippers receipt label (UPS, FEDEX etc.) and send to DLA. Needless to say, this situation, that we have dubbed ‘forensic accounting,’ is all too easy to fall into, and can cause a variety of issues that include accounting and wasted resources.
A RFID tag is composed of 24 characters and can easily succumb to human error when being transposed or hand entered into WAWF. Since RFID technology only works properly when it’s being used 100% accurately, a little bit of human error can cause a lot of headache. This is supremely easy to fix, however. Odyssey’s proprietary software combats this issue by marshaling the tag data within its software and in conjunction with electronically received contract data. Odyssey’s customers don’t have to touch the tag, which means the information can be sent to the DoD with 100% accuracy. Issues with proof of delivery become completely nonexistent. Wondering whether or not the information that’s been sent to the DoD is correct, and waiting a month hoping to receive payment, becomes a thing of the past.
The second issue that we’ve seen recently deals with suppliers of products whose contracts were formerly managed by GSA, such as, but not limited to, paints and adhesives. These contractors are suddenly faced with a slew of new label and data requirements they need to meet. DLA began managing these former GSA contracts approximately six months ago. By being thrust into a space they’re not as familiar with, these contractors have struggled with creating the correct labels and processes for invoicing through Wide Area Workflow (WAWF)
Previously, these suppliers would ship orders via a typical commercial shipment company like UPS with no additional label marking requirements. That is no longer the case, however, as the DLA requires MIL-STD 129R case and military shipping labels, scheduling of shipment through the Vendor Shipment Module (VSM) as well as a submission to Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) for shipment notices including composition and payment. Most of these suppliers have never even heard of these military standards and websites, and sudden requirement of their utilization is intimidating. Odyssey can easily step in and provide a solution that’s both quick to learn and easy to operate, which means they won’t lose any time or efficiency shipping their product. This ease and efficiency is born mainly from Odyssey managing compliance behind the scenes. Any person could be pulled off the street and taught how to use the software because the tricky stuff is handled automatically.
We like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. RFID technology, while practical and efficient, does present challenges to its adopters. The industry as whole is still evolving, and we’re striving to be the foremost leaders within the DoD space. The Odyssey solution eliminates a multitude of issues and inconveniences associated with RFID. We ‘ve recently seen these two specific issues popping up in droves and we want to let suppliers know there is an easy solution to both of them.