ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

The DoD Crackdown on Labeling

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Sep 17, 2020 @ 09:09 AM

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There’s a reason why you don’t see many drivers today swerving down the road, fumbling with a map to figure out where they’re going. Or office spaces crowded with filing cabinets, and stacks and stacks of printed documents taking up space. It’s because the GPS app on almost everyone’s phone will do the navigating for you so you can keep your eyes on the road, and the rooms of filing cabinets have been consolidated to cloud storage that is accessible virtually anywhere with a Wi-Fi signal. Technology has taken these manual processes and replaced them with reliable solutions that are far easier and more accurate, freeing us up to accomplish more with our days. Sure, you could get by without these technological advances, but why would you? Managing item labels for your DoD contract is no different.

Doing business with the DoD comes with its unique challenges. The work is reliable and steady, as even in times of financial hardship our country must continue to supply its military men and women with the mission-critical supplies for them to continue doing their important jobs. But these contractors must also abide by the military’s strict regulations, and a recent trend is seeing the DoD cracking down on the item labels to make sure they are correct. Even the smallest label error can have dire consequences for the contractor.

Manufacturing the product to the appropriate quality and specifications is just the first step. Seasoned DoD contractors know that they must also abide by the minimum requirements for uniform military marking for shipment and storage outlined by MIL-STD-129R. This applies to both unit and NSN labels, which must accurately display all the required information about the product including lot number, manufacturing dates, expiration dates, name and description of the item as it appears in the contract, and more. Failure to do so will result in re-labeling charges, delayed payments, or refused shipments.

Running a successful DoD contracting business means maximizing your profit margins. While some might try to accomplish this by decreasing overhead and taking on the task of labeling without the help of technology, the inevitable mistakes caused by sheer volume and human error will end up costing you. In the end, it would be far better for your bottom line to invest in technology that replaces manual labeling processes and eliminates the possibilities of any human error.

Odyssey’s technology was developed specifically to help contractors comply with these strict regulations, and prepare shipments properly the first time, every time.

To learn more about how Odyssey can help your business add efficiency to its DoD processes, contact us.

Topics: MIL-STD 129R, Item level RFID, contract management, DoD, Odyssey DCS, department of defense, dod commerce solutions

Three Types of Government Contracts and What You Need to Know About Them

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Aug 4, 2020 @ 14:08 PM

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If you are new to the DoD contracting space, it is important to understand that not all contracting work is created equally. Every business day, the DoD posts new contracts available for bidding, which to the untrained eye appear chock-full of industry jargon and convoluted language. Depending on the type of work you are bidding on, the government offers different types of contracts to negotiate your compensation for completing said work- each with its various nuances, benefits, and varying levels of risk. Before you dive in and grab up a contract of your own, you should know what you are getting yourself and your employees into. Doing this will help you mitigate any risk involved so you can plan ahead and maximize your profitability.

Fixed-Price Contracts

This is the most basic, standard form of contract. Fixed-price contracts are exactly how they sound. In this agreement, contractors are provided with a description of the project and asked to submit a bid for their price to complete it. While fixed-price contracts will sometimes include a clause to renegotiate the price, these clauses are not always present and should be considered an exception to the norm for this contract type. For the most part, it is up to the contractor to provide a competitive bid that will accurately cover the costs to complete the work.

 

In this contract arrangement, the contractor assumes a healthy amount of risk depending on his or her operations’ integrity. Additional costs incurred but not anticipated during completion of the work are often not compensated. For fixed-price contracts to be a profitable venture, it is essential that both parties are completely clear on project specifications and final deliverables. Accurate forecasting of costs and highly efficient execution of work are also paramount to success. While fixed-price contracts offer great opportunity, it is the contractor who runs the tightest ship that will fully reap the rewards of this work.

Cost-Reimbursement Contracts

On the other end of the spectrum is the cost-reimbursement contract. While certainly not devoid of risk, this contract type gives the contractor a greater chance to recoup unexpected costs that pop up during completion of the project. The cost-reimbursement contract allows a contractor to submit an upfront quote that establishes a cost maximum. Then, once this cost ceiling has been approved, the contractors proceed and can file for reimbursement of costs incurred as they complete the work.

 

While these contract types are often lower risk for contractors than the fixed-price contract, they also usually offer a lower profit margin, thus requiring contractors to be more competitive in their bidding. While the incentive for efficiency might not be as upfront as with a fixed-price contract, it becomes imperative if you wish to turn the biggest profit off a competitive bid.

Incentive Contracts

These contract types are created to allow the DoD to customize the project work by incentivizing one or more important aspects and focus the contractor on the areas that are important to the government. Incentive contracts will offer some sort of positive or negative incentive to complete (or failure to complete) a predetermined objective, whether it’s a completion date, reduced cost, or some other form of the project objective.

 

Incentive contracts offer an excellent opportunity for contractors who are fully aware and confident in their capabilities, as the objectives are clearly defined. However, care must be taken as these contract types are often chosen when it’s difficult for the DoD to determine the project’s exact cost or realistic timeline.

 

The one common characteristic of all DoD contract types is that creating as much efficiency as possible in your operation will always give you a competitive edge and increase your margins. To learn more about how Odyssey can help your business add efficiency to its DoD processes, contact us.

Topics: contract management, DoD, Odyssey DCS, department of defense, dod commerce solutions

DoD Approved Software; DoD Commerce and the Internet of Things

Posted by James Lusk on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

If you’ve paid any amount of attention to the tech industry lately you’ve more than likely heard the term “Internet of Things.” The term was first coined in 1999 when commercial and personal use of the Internet was increasing. “IoT,” as it’s commonly referred as, is the idea of electronics, sensors and other devices that allow for networking being implemented into physical objects. The Nike FuelBand, or even the new Apple Watch are great examples of devices within IoT. Of course, smart labels fall directly into this idea, which means we’re completely on board with this connectivity. Odyssey’s proprietary DoD approved software works specifically with tags containing RFID inlays to track assets sent to the DoD. As the Internet of Things comes more into the mainstream, use of RFID and smart labels will become more widespread.DoD_Seal

            Consider Cycle Alert, a system developed for trucks in high-density traffic areas that decrease the risk of accidents with bicyclists. Cycle Alert’s system mounts RFID readers onto trucks and busses that frequent bike-friendly cities. RFID tags are then placed inside the handlebars of bicycles, particularly those that are maintained by the city as public transport. When the tags come within eight feet of the readers on trucks and buses the drivers are not only alerted that the rider is near, but where his or her relative position to the vehicle is.

            Retail stores are also becoming heavily involved in the Internet of Things and smart labels from a logistics and product availability standpoint. We wrote an article back in January on the accelerated adoption of RFID and smart labels in retail clothing stores, but those aren’t the only commercial entities adopting the technology and networking themselves. Grocery stores across the world are now using RFID tags to track their perishable inventory. Scanner are placed on shelves and keep track of how long those good have been on display. Some stores are reporting a reduction of up to 10% on wasted goods, which is a massive number for the industry.

            In a recent article by Tech Republic, they report that 30% of all data from the Internet of Things is driven by sensor devices like RFID, which makes sense considering the ease and cost efficiency of the technology. Smart labels are small and can be applied to almost anything without intruding on aesthetics or design. That same article warns of a “data tsunami,” in which the IoT’s connective nature means data will soon be passed back and forth between more objects than not. Some may find that ridiculous, but that’s the way the industry is headed. Sure, we don’t really need refrigerators that play our MP3s, but what about refrigerators that can tell us if our food is getting old?

            Odyssey is already experiencing this “data tsunami.” The nature of our clients’ DoD Commerce business means a large amount of data DoD Approved Softwareneeds to be efficiently and effectively distilled into something easily readable and action oriented. The use of passive RFID labels, combined with our DoD approved software that marshals all necessary data automatically, means our clients and the DoD can easily keep track of an asset lifecycle through Mil 129 and  Mil 130 compliance.

            So we say bring on the Internet of Things, bring on the data tsunami. We’re prepared, and we’ve made sure our clients are prepared. As this technology becomes more widespread outside of DLA, so will the innovation and adoption, and we’ll continue to be pioneers.

 

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Topics: DoD approved software, dod compliance, MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD 130 N, Passive RFID, contract management, Internet of Things

NCMA World Congress-ODYSSEY Attends

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 @ 16:07 PM

Part of the DoD commerce experience includes participating in educational seminars and trade shows. We at ODYSSEY are excited to exhibit in our first National Contract Management Association World Congress Conference. Meeting new people within the contract community provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from those that make it happen!

The conference promises to be a networking and educational opportunity for all attendees and exhibitors so please make sure to visit each booth, break-out session and gathering available.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

 

ODYSSEY DCS to Attend the National Contract Management Association’s 2013 World Congress Conference in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ODYSSEY, the leader in defense commerce solutions and the only Department of Defense (DoD) commerce solution provider delivering an integrated, cross- departmental work flow process in the cloud, will exhibit at the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) World Congress Conference in Nashville from July 21 to 24, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center.

“We’re thrilled to attend this conference and showcase ODYSSEY to the contracting community. The ODYSSEY platform is capable of dramatically simplifying the DoD commerce process for any DoD supplier. Specifically, ODYSSEY can help suppliers make sense of military requirements, reduce errors and streamline commerce and compliance measures, resulting in saved time and a better bottom line,” said James Lusk, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, ODYSSEY .                    DoD compliance

The National Contract Management Association’s World Congress focuses on collaborative, customizable training to help prepare everyone in the contracting profession for today's dynamic environment. With over 1,500 attendees, World Congress is hailed as a must-attend event because it's the most comprehensive training event for contract management, procurement and acquisition professionals. With over 20 educational tracks, content is offered for professionals at each and every stage of their careers.

To learn more about the agenda, speakers, or who is attending, visit the conference website.

ODYSSEY will be at booth #124 at the conference. Drop by and leave your business card for a chance to win an iPad 2! Visit the Odyssey website for contest details.

The NCMA is the world’s leading professional resource for those in the field of contract management. The organization, which has over 22,000 members, is dedicated to the professional growth and educational advancement of procurement and acquisition personnel worldwide.

To learn more about the National Contract Management Association, visit http://www.ncmahq.org/.

For more information about ODYSSEY and their defense commerce solutions, visit http://www.odysseydcs.com/.

 

 

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Topics: DoD approved software, dod compliance, procurement, acquisition, contract management