ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

5 Reasons Why Inventory Control Matters

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 12:11 PM

 

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For whatever reason, being a “control freak” seems to have a negative connotation. However, when it comes to inventory control, being a control freak is actually a good thing. Having proper inventory management and control procedures in place is a critical factor in your success as a DoD vendor.

What is inventory control?

The objective of inventory control, also known as internal control, is right-sizing your in-stock inventory so as to serve the needs of your customers without keeping excessive supply on hand.

Although it is often confused with inventory management, there are some differences. While inventory control deals with tracking what you have in stock and knowing what is available, as well as understanding the location of your goods and ensuring they are stored properly, inventory management is more concerned with stocking the right amount of goods, knowing when to reorder certain items, and making sure you don’t overpay when you do.

Why should inventory control matter to DoD suppliers?

The importance of inventory management and control cannot be overstated. Cost, efficiency, and DoD process standards are all factors that lead best-in-class defense suppliers to employ strict inventory control procedures.

Here are five reasons to give careful consideration to your inventory control processes.

  1. The Department of Defense has inventory control standards.

UID and RFID comprise the backbone of the DoD’s inventory control methodology. Defense suppliers are required to use systems like iRAPT and Vendor Shipment Module (VSM) to do business with the government. These systems and methodologies are vital components of the DoD’s supply chain -- one that can only reach maximum cost savings if efficiencies are deployed on both sides of the transaction between the government and its vendors.

  1. Poor inventory control affects your profitability.

Inventory control and management is all about the interplay between too much and not enough. Having too much inventory on hand (especially slower-moving goods) ties up capital and eats into your profitability. When it comes to maximizing profitability, the established philosophies of lean and just-in-time inventory still hold true.

  1. Lack of inventory causes significant challenges.

The opposite of the above -- not having enough of the necessary inventory -- causes backorders, delays, and could put your government contracts at risk. In a competitive space where many vendors bid for the same work, you can’t afford to let inventory control issues hurt your performance and potentially damage your firm’s reputation.

  1. Good inventory control makes you more efficient.

Imagine being unable to find the inventory you need, even though you know it’s somewhere in the warehouse. Not only is this frustrating, but it results in lost time and other inefficiencies. Knowing where inventory is located at all times makes for a more efficient workflow.

  1. Better control yields better insights.

It’s impossible to make truly data-driven decisions when you don’t have an accurate picture of what’s going on. Knowing what you actually have in your inventory not only saves time; it allows you to make decisions based on the most accurate data possible.

Diligent inventory control practices are a vital component to your success as a DoD supplier. Odyssey provides a DoD-approved software solution for managing iRAPT and VSM compliance, simplifying the inventory control procedures you’re required to complete as a defense supplier. Learn more about how our solutions can streamline and automate these time-consuming processes: see a personalized demo.

Why RFID Tags Are Your New Normal

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 @ 13:11 PM

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Just as cellular phones the size of suitcases have been replaced by smart devices that fit in our pockets, newer technological innovations inevitably supplant less efficient tools. While barcodes served many industries well in the past, RFID technology has reached maturity and is rapidly becoming standard practice for tracking assets and inventory.

For defense contractors, RFID tags can make a significant impact in streamlining asset tracking and delivering better data. In this article, you’ll learn how RFID tags can make a difference in your business, how to implement RFID tagging, and questions to ask a potential RFID solution provider.

What are RFID tags?

RFID stands for “radio-frequency identification.” This technology relies on electromagnetic fields to automate the identification and tracking of tags placed on items. DoD suppliers know how transformational this technology can be in terms of tracking and managing their products and assets.

Why should RFID tags be your new normal?

Companies across many different industries, from retail to logistics to manufacturers, have adopted RFID technology over the past several years. According to the editor-in-chief of RFID Journal, Mark Roberti, RFID is "just now reaching maturity and will soon explode," particularly as more and more firms experience the benefits of the technology for themselves. In addition, research company IDTechEx estimated the total RFID market to be worth $11.2 billion in 2017. They also projected that 18.2 billion tags would be sold, representing impressive year-on-year growth of 20%.

There are many benefits of RFID over more traditional tracking methods, such as barcodes. Using RFID tags for asset tracking is:

  • More efficient: Wireless scanning, and the ability to scan multiple tags at once, allows RFID tags to provide information extremely quickly.
  • More precise: The real-time nature of RFID tracking gives you more precise information, leading to better, more informed decisions.
  • More accurate: Item-level RFID tags give highly accurate information and have less propensity for human error. In fact, according to RFID Journal, RFID can bring inventory accuracy up to 95% or better.

Convinced yet? If you decide to switch to RFID, there are a few considerations you should bear in mind: the implementation process and which solution provider you’ll choose.

10 steps for implementing item level RFID

As you start along your RFID implementation journey, here are 10 suggested steps for the process:

  1. Identify your implementation project team
  2. Begin any necessary manufacturer preparation, such as process changes
  3. Create and distribute an RFP for RFID vendors
  4. Select an RFID vendor and finalize the contract
  5. Determine any new equipment you’ll need and procure it
  6. Install and test new equipment and software
  7. Train employees on new processes and technology
  8. Start tagging items with RFID
  9. Gather data on tag performance, cost, lead times, etc. to measure improvement and determine future opportunities to enhance the process
  10. Resolve issues and provide further training as needed

Although your process will vary depending on your business needs, the suggested steps above can serve as a template to get you started.

Evaluation questions for an RFID tag provider

As you evaluate vendor proposals as part of the RFP process, here are some questions to ask a potential RFID tag solution provider:

  • How clearly does the vendor explain the details of their solution’s functionality?
  • Does their solution provide:
    • Fully integrated solution
    • Item-level visibility
    • Item-level accountability
    • Tailored processes and scalability
  • Does their solution enable you to:
    • Download open contract data from VIM-ASAP
    • Encode and print item-level tags in accordance with customer requirements
    • Encode and print case and pallet tags
    • Integrate into manual packing process within space specified
    • Programatically link item to case
    • Handle exceptions
    • Provide case to pallet link
    • Seamless upload to VIM-ASAP
  • Does the proposal meet implementation timelines?
  • Is the cost fixed or variable?
  • Is the solution architecture remote or local?

Learn more about vendor selection and RFID implementation in our Best Practice Guide to Implementing Item Level RFID.

The Odyssey cloud platform is a DoD-approved software that provides one integrated location for all your defense commerce tasks using passive RFID. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you take advantage of all the benefits of RFID technology.

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.

5 SAM.gov Best Practices for DoD Suppliers

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 14:10 PM

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As the saying goes, “Winning is the science of being totally prepared.” Winning defense contracts is no different.

According to the Small Business Administration’s guide to proposal writing for government contracts, the best way to prepare to win is by “understanding the process, aligning skills with needs and following through. In other words, prepare, align and execute – that will help you beat the odds.” Your first step is registering your business on the government contracts website, SAM.gov.

A quick refresher on SAM

What is SAM? The System for Award Management (referred to as SAM or SAM.gov) is the federal government’s database of potential vendors. All federal agencies, civilian or military, use the SAM database as their primary source of information about suppliers they might work with. State agencies, local governments, and prime contractors also use SAM to find vendors, suppliers, and subcontractors.

How does SAM work? To sell products or services to or receive payments from the federal government, your business must first register on SAM.gov. Creating a solid SAM profile is a foundational step to participating in any bid process with the Department of Defense or other agencies.

Why is SAM important? As a potential supplier, the SAM database serves as federal contract officers’ first impression of your business – almost like your firm’s resume. That’s why it’s important to follow best practices when creating and maintaining your SAM profile. Experts estimate that at least 20% of all company profiles currently listed in the SAM database contain mistakes, ranging from spelling errors, miscoded entries, and missing information. Such errors can cause businesses to be passed over for DoD contracts because their incomplete SAM record makes them difficult to find in a database search, or because contract officers recognize a lack of attention to detail.

5 best practices for using SAM.gov

  1. Get organized. Before registering in the SAM database, make sure you have the following items on hand:
  • The TIN/EIN for your business; even if you’re a sole proprietor, it’s wise to register using one of these numbers instead of your Social Security Number to protect your identity
  • The appropriate PSC/FSC and NAICS codes for your business, which the government uses to classify every product and service
  • Your firm’s DUNS number, which can be obtained for free from Dunn & Bradstreet (D&B)

You’ll also want to determine whether your business qualifies as an 8(a), HUBZone, woman-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business. Federal contracts of less than $150,000 are frequently awarded to small businesses, and DoD contract officers often give preference to the types of businesses above.

  1. Know your competition. To understand what you’re up against, put yourself in the mindset of a contract officer who might need your product or service. Search the SAM database as if you were looking for a vendor, and take note of the results. What keywords brought up companies similar to yours? What information do your potential competitors include in their SAM profiles? Keep this competitive intelligence in mind as you create and edit your own profile.
  1. Complete your SAM registration. Your SAM profile is your first impression with the DoD and other federal contract officers. As you register, keep in mind what potential buyers are looking for in a vendor. Make sure all relevant fields are completed. If your firm is a woman-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone or 8(a) small business, make sure to fill out the proper registration information to include this fact in your profile. You can also add supplemental information to the Small Business Administration database, which can be searched from SAM.

In addition, use the insights you gathered about your competition, and consider which keywords a searcher might use – and the fact that they might be different than the words you use to describe your company or your products.

  1. Keep your SAM registration updated. You’re required to update your SAM profile at least once a year. For this annual update, seek feedback from your peers on how they would improve your profile. If you’ve won DoD contracts in the past year, find out if any of the contract officers you worked with have suggestions for improving your SAM registration. Defense contract officers value working with vendors that have prior experience with the DoD.
  1. Rely on a defense commerce solution for the next steps of the process. Getting found through the SAM.gov website is just the beginning. As a DoD supplier, you’ll face constantly changing requirements and redundant processes across unrelated government websites and systems, which can lead to inefficiencies and lost profits. Using a software solution to automate and integrate these processes will provide better efficiency, visibility and flexibility.

Putting thought and effort into creating and maintaining your SAM profile will help you get found and considered by DoD contract officers. Odyssey’s software automates the process of interacting with the DoD’s purchasing, receiving and payment agencies, streamlining your workflow and giving you more transparency. Learn more about how our cloud-based software can help you work your DoD contracts more efficiently – get in touch with us today.

How Big Data Will Affect Your Supply Chain

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

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Big data is a hot topic, but one of its most promising applications is in supply chain management. Leveraging big data to inform and automate your supply chain, especially for Department of Defense suppliers, is the next step to increasing your efficiency and reducing your long-term spend. Here are 7 ways that big data will affect your supply chain.

Full Automation

What if you had insight into your entire supply chain? And what if your supply chain ran itself? That’s the kind of future we’re talking about by using the Internet of Things through RFID technology to bring big data to your supply chain. Increasing automation means time savings, compliance assurance to meet DoD standards, and a supply chain that’s flexible enough to adjust to market changes.

Last-Mile Delivery

Traditionally the last mile of delivery has been a patchwork of outside carriers, transportation, and deliveries. Aligning big data with your supply means that you know where your products are at all times, ultimately offering insight into your entire supply chain.

Responsive Operations

By tapping into your data, you have the ability to be more responsive to changes in DoD requirements and in your environment. Project scope changed? Big weather front coming in? With full visibility and a connected supply chain, you can shift your operations easily. You’ll spend less time potentially fixing issues and more time optimizing your supply chain and ultimately getting paid.

Route Optimization

Even in our digital world, transportation is still time-consuming and expensive. Delivering products to different locations isn’t easy, and the expectations for smart supply chains are increasing. Connecting the Internet of Things to your supply chain means that you can optimize how you transport your products and get the right products to the right locations as efficiently as possible.

Address Verification

While our goods are connected and our data is abundant, delivery can still present a challenge. We’re at the mercy of systems that require physical addresses to deliver our goods and services. Leveraging big data and RFID to verify these addresses can reduce points of human error and introduce additional efficiency.

Risk Evaluation & Resilience Planning

Increased visibility and flexibility throughout your supply chain means that your operations are more structurally sound. Your risk is lowered, your ability to meet DoD compliance standards is increased, and you can plan for long-term complications that might affect your supply chain.

Contextual Intelligence

Amassing large amounts of data isn’t enough anymore. Having a contextual understanding of that real-time data and tying it into your business operations is what drives the most value for DoD suppliers. By connecting big data to your supply chain, you have the opportunity to gain a complete, holistic vision of your business and introduce additional efficiency into your supply chain.

In order to take advantage of these benefits of big data, you must have the ability to properly identify your supply chain structure as well as your sources of data. A smart implementation takes into account your entire operations process as well as your assets and internal stakeholders. While these are just a few ways that big data will affect your supply chain, Odyssey can help you implement these concepts so you can take advantage of the benefits of using big data to inform your supply chain logistics. Contact us today to learn how our cloud-based software can help prepare you for the next evolution of supply chain operations.

 

 

 

Topics: data, supply chain, IoT, RFID

Machine Learning and Industrial Internet of Things

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

 

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What’s the first thing you do in the morning? If you’re like many people, you reach for your phone. You turn off your alarm clock, check the news, and review your email. All of this creates a digital presence that tells a story about your world. The digital world has become a seamless part of our lives, and it’s no different for businesses. All of your systems work together to tell a story, whether it’s about inventory, manufacturing, or people. Your world is connected by bytes and coding, and it’s only becoming more prevalent. The data we create is growing at an astronomical pace, and our ability to tap into the potential of our digital world is based on how we analyze that data.

We create a lot of data. By 2020, the digital universe is projected to grow to 44 trillion gigabytes. IoT embedded systems are expected to account for 10% of the digital universe by 2020, and the containers from those systems (like digital files, RFID tags and sensor files) will become 99% of all of the files in the digital universe (IDC, The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things). It’s more than data now; your connected devices are communicating in real-time to create a digital picture of your operations.

The rise of IoT.

None of this is news. In 2016, less than 40% of organizations surveyed had completed at least some kind of IoT implementation. That number is predicted to grow to over 80% by 2020 (Bain & Company, How Providers Can Succeed in the Internet of Things). IoT is quickly becoming the norm, and teams that are able to successfully implement these solutions stand to increase productivity and reduce costs. In fact, 47% of organizations implemented IoT solutions to improve quality of service or product, leading to price premium, lower support costs and 44% did it to increase reliability of operations (Bain & Company, How Providers Can Succeed in the Internet of Things).

This market is only growing. B2B IoT connections are projected to increase to 5.4 billion by 2020. That’s about one device for every two people on the planet. The organizations that leverage these connections are expected to be 10% more profitable (SparkLabs Global Ventures, Internet of Things & Hardware Industry Overview 2016). Can you imagine such a huge boost from such tiny devices?

The use of IoT by businesses is expected to drive $964 billion in spending this year. By 2020, hardware spending is projected to increase to almost $3 trillion for both business and consumers (Gartner, Forecast: Internet of Things). On top of that, the Industrial IoT market is expected to grow to $319.6 billion by 2020 (SparkLabs Global Ventures, Internet of Things & Hardware Industry Overview 2016). These devices represent a significant investment for any organization, but the return can be huge. Many Department of Defense suppliers have already seen the benefits.

A lost opportunity.  

Unfortunately, many organizations are not realizing the full potential of their IoT investment. McKinsey Global Institute predicted in 2011 that the manufacturing industry could see up to a 50% lower product development cost, 25% lower operating cost, and a 30% gross margin increase. As of 2016, only 20-30% of that predicted value as been captured (McKinsey Global Institute, The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World). While labor and workforce integration is part of the issue, much of the barrier remains in computing power.

 Just about .5% of that data is ever analyzed (MIT Technology Review, The Data Made Me Do It). Think about that. Even with such a huge investment and an even bigger opportunity for optimization, IoT is not yet driving the data revolution.

 Driving efficiency with machine learning.

 Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning. By 2019, cognitive/AI capabilities will support 40% of all digital transformation initiatives and 100% of all effective IoT efforts. (IDC, IDC FutureSpace: Dawn of the DX Economy and the Digital-Native Enterprise). This technology presents an opportunity to improve regulatory compliance, reduce risk, improve decision-making and operating efficiency, and enhance security. 79% of executives report that AI will make their jobs more efficient and easier (The Economist Intelligence Unit, Artificial Intelligence in the Real World).

 We’ve moved beyond simple data analytics in both our personal and our professional lives. In order to stay ahead of our competition, we must take advantage of current technologies and prepare for the future. Odyssey can help you leverage these emerging trends and ensure that you’re prepared for the future of business. Contact us today to learn how integrating cloud-based solutions for DoD suppliers can help you drive efficiency and compliance.

Topics: machine learning, Internet of Things, data

Everything You Need to Know About Electronic Data Interchange

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 @ 16:08 PM

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What is EDI?

EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is commonly defined as the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between business partners. The process allows a company to send information to another company electronically and in a standard electronic format, rather than using paper, snail-mail and fax machines.

Because EDI documents are processed electronically, all documents must be in a standard format. Without a standard format, each company would send documents using its own format and, much like a human speaking a foreign language, the receiver’s computer system doesn’t understand the sender’s company-specific format.

Many business documents can be exchanged using EDI, but the two most common are purchase orders and invoices. Other examples of business documents exchanged via EDI are advance ship notices, inventory documents, shipping status documents and more.

What are the benefits of EDI?

In order to grow and compete with other businesses, it is crucial for companies of all sizes to implement EDI. Those who have moved away from a paper-based exchange of business documents to EDI have experienced major benefits.

Increased Efficiency

  • Paper purchase orders can take up to 10 days from the time the buyer prepares the order to when the supplier ships it. EDI orders can take as little as one day.
  • Automating paper-based tasks allows your staff to concentrate on higher-value tasks and enables them to be more productive.
  • Electronic data exchange ensures that business-critical data is always up-to-date and can be tracked in real time. Real-time data can lead to more accurate decision making.

Reduced Cost

  • Transaction costs are reduced by about 35% when cutting out expenses related to paper, printing, reproduction, storage, filing, postage and document retrieval, according to EDI Basics.
  • Studies have consistently shown that manually processing a paper-based order can cost $70 or more, while processing an EDI order costs less than one dollar. 

Reduced Errors

  • According to EDI Basics, automating the process improves data quality, delivering at least a 30-40% reduction in transactions with errors—eliminating errors from illegible handwriting, lost faxes/mail and keying and rekeying errors.

Additionally, EDI promotes corporate social responsibility by replacing paper-based processes with electronic alternatives. Your company can save money and reduce its CO2 emissions at the same time. 

How can Odyssey help? 

We’ve designed our services with the DoD supplier in mind, and we want to help you move toward a streamlined process.

Most of the high-volume contracting vehicles, such as FedMall, General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), are moving toward Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) because of all the benefits we listed above. However, many small businesses don’t have EDI capabilities. And while some companies aren’t experiencing the stringent label requirements, you can bet they are coming. It is important for small businesses to use a platform that is easily adaptable and is also able to provide them with EDI services.

You don’t have to be an EDI expert to complete your transactions. Odyssey takes the pain out of EDI implementation by delivering easy-to-use, scalable and affordable EDI solutions. We also provide responsive technical support and ongoing customer service to help your company overcome any challenges.

Odyssey’s sole business is developing workflow process solutions for Department of Defense suppliers. This specificity is unique, which allows us to focus on your company’s success. We are committed to our partners and provide continual development and forward thinking solutions that help you overcome the challenging aspects of daily DoD commerce.

Contact us today to discuss your EDI needs.

Topics: EDI, Electronic Data Interchange, DoD approved software, dod compliance

3 trends to watch when working with the Department of Defense

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 10:07 AM

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In today’s world of constant technological advances, every industry is experiencing major changes- and ours is no exception. Many companies have welcomed these changes with open arms, adopting new technology and software to help grow their businesses and remain relevant. These companies have experienced more streamlined processes, ultimately resulting in greater efficiency.

With the industry and its requirements constantly changing, we’re always keeping up with trends and making sure that our partners are aware of the changes. It’s important that suppliers to the Department of Defense keep up with these advancements and adapt their strategies as needed.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most important trends you should be aware of when working with the DoD.

RFID compliance is a key focus

About 12 years ago, the DoD made the commitment to implement knowledge-enabled logistics through fully automated visibility and management of assets in support of the warfighter. How? Using RFID technology. Today, the DoD continues to push forward with its vision.

The Department of Defense just launched the distribution portion of its clothing and textiles program and is relying heavily on RFID technology to get the job done. The DoD rewards companies that submit data accurately and in accordance with their RFID requirements. The reward is faster payment, as well as a higher ranking in the rating system, which provides a better chance at winning future contracts. DoD suppliers cannot ignore that RFID compliance is a major focus for the DoD and will continue to be, moving forward.

High-volume contracting vehicles are moving toward Electronic Data Interchange

Most of the high-volume contracting vehicles, such as FedMall, General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), are moving toward Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI is commonly defined as the electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format. The process allows a company to send information to another company electronically, rather than with paper. Many business documents can be exchanged using EDI, but the two most common are purchase orders and invoices.

The bottom line is that electronic conversations are much more efficient. However, many small businesses don’t have this capability. And while some companies aren’t experiencing the stringent label requirements, you can bet they are coming. It is important for small businesses to use a platform that is easily adaptable and is also able to provide them with EDI services.

UID continues to be a driving force

As UID compliance continues to be a driving force for the DoD, it is mandatory that all suppliers with items over $5,000 in value be UID compliant. However, compliance can act as a major obstacle for many companies. Because UID labels and marks are serialized and highly specialized, it is complicated for suppliers to meet the DoD’s requirements. For example, it is difficult for suppliers to complete certain tasks on their own, like creating marks, managing serial numbers and properly inputting data into iRAPT, formerly known as WAWF. To add another layer of difficulty, UID serial numbers should be integrated into the MIL-129 R exterior labels.

Without a software solution like Odyssey, many companies have no idea where to begin, and they often end up wasting money and labor using outside vendors. UID compliance won’t be going away anytime soon, so it is important for suppliers to find long-term, fully scalable solutions for their DoD needs.

DoD suppliers are constantly challenged by evolving transactional military requirements and changing technology. We believe that today’s DoD commerce requires an IT platform that can make sense of requirements and provide an automated environment to easily react and respond in real-time.

Odyssey is a DoD solutions leader and the trusted platform for hundreds of DoD commercial suppliers, non-profit government partners and federal agencies, helping them transform their DoD commerce. You can learn more about how we can help your business here.

 

Topics: Passive RFID, RFID, DoD, DoD approved software, dod compliance, UID compliance

What to Look for When Selecting DoD Software for Your Organization

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

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Since 2006, when Odyssey began, we have worked with many companies and have listened to them describe their day-to-day pain points. We’ve heard just about everything a company and its employees experience as they muddle through the ever-evolving mandates and compliance measures required to do business with the Department of Defense.

 Every organization can agree that DoD Commerce is no trivial matter and that choosing the right DoD solutions software can be difficult. We want to re-focus the way DoD suppliers and other organizations view DoD commerce, as well as demonstrate all that is possible through an integrated cross-departmental solution, specifically designed for DoD suppliers. We’ve listened to our customers and colleagues and have put together our best advice.

Companies should ask themselves the following questions when comparing DoD commerce software platforms.

Will it be a simple transition?

When researching software solutions, be sure the software you are reviewing doesn’t cause any stress on your organization’s internal IT department or force further management or overhead to operate. Fundamentally changing your process will cause more harm than good. A simple transition will guarantee employee buy-in and better results.

Is integration possible?

DoD tasks should not be seen as events occurring one after another. The most successful companies have integrated departments, resulting in efficiency and ensuring 100% compliance throughout the entire process. Look for a software solution where integration is possible from award to payment.

Is it scalable for long-term success?

Scalable solutions allow companies to grow and plan for future requirements that are not yet mandated or not yet impacting current business. When comparing software solutions, be sure to find one that can easily scale up or down, based on the myriad of criteria that could affect the organization in the long-term. Fully scalable solutions for DoD suppliers is key to successful business.

Does it unite your organization?

DoD commerce tasks should not cause discourse between departments and stakeholders. Ensure that a proposed solution brings your team together for a common goal and does not require part of the group to continue using unrelated software. A collaborative software solution will help organizations see the best results.

It’s important that internal champions within a company, just like you, care enough to seek new, efficient and effective ways to successfully complete DoD tasks in one solution. It takes leaders to change the way an organization views DoD Commerce. Understand the impact of change and convey your message to peers and authorities with conviction.

Also, be sure to keep these questions in mind when researching software solutions. If you have questions, or would like to learn about using Odyssey as your DoD-approved software and commerce solutions provider, we would be happy to speak with you. You can contact us here

 

Topics: DoD approved software, dod software, department of defense, dod commerce solutions

How DoD Suppliers Can Benefit from RFID Technology

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 @ 15:06 PM

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is commonly defined as the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. Suppliers to the Department of Defense (DoD) know that RFID is a transformational technology that enables automated visibility and assessment management. The technology has changed the way we do business forever and has improved and automated supply chains everywhere.

 There are numerous benefits associated with RFID for both the Department of Defense and its suppliers. According to the DoD, “RFID is a means to facilitate accurate, automated data capture in support of business processes in an integrated DoD supply chain enterprise.”

Every day, suppliers come to us for exactly that reason: to complete their DoD commerce needs in a single, automated DoD-approved software platform. By streamlining supply chains and improving business functions, suppliers will see better business results.

Below is an infographic explaining the top 5 benefits of RFID technology for your company and other DoD suppliers.

RFID Benefits Infographic.png

Overview:

Efficiency

Due to wireless scanning, RFID tags can provide information much quicker than barcodes or other systems, and multiple tags can be read at once.

Accuracy

The automated technology requires no human intervention. This lessens the risk of human error that typically comes with manual data logging and product replenishment. Our partners have transformed their DoD commerce by streamlining the entire work-flow process into a review environment, rather than using manual data entry.

Real-Time Updates

Gone are the days of receiving numbers that are days or weeks old. RFID technology tracks and provides real-time data about inventory and products. Using Odyssey’s dashboard, your entire team can view real-time updates and communicate within the platform.

Easier Item Location

Less time spent locating inventory means more time focusing on other important tasks, such as production, fulfilling orders and selling to your customers.

Better Decision Making

Utilizing real-time data and insights leads to better decision making, commonly known as data-informed decision-making (DIDM). Business owners and managers can turn the data they acquire into actions that improve their business.

The Odyssey cloud platform is a DoD approved software that provides one integrated location for all DoD commerce tasks, to be handled in-house, using passive RFID technology. You can learn more about our company here. If you’d like to talk about how Odyssey can help streamline your business operations, feel free to contact us

Topics: Passive RFID, RFID, DoD approved software, DoD, automated data entry, supply chain