ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

What You Need to Know About MIL-STD-129R and MIL-STD-130N

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 @ 10:12 AM

DoD shipping standards

If you’re new to doing business with the Department of Defense, a vital lesson to learn upfront is there are very specific requirements that you, as a contractor, are required to comply with to fulfill your contract and receive compensation. Failure to comply with the smallest specification can result in rejected shipments and delayed payments, which could cause major headaches for your business. 

An example of these requirements that frequently cause DoD contractors trouble are the two labeling standards MIL-STD-129R and MIL-STD-130N. These DoD-approved standards outline a set of directions for labeling and tracking the shipping of requisitioned supplies and equipment, as well as marking items purchased by the DoD (including text formatting, syntax rules, and where markings should be located). 

Before you begin work on your DoD contract, here’s what you need to know about MIL-STD-129R and MIL-STD-130N.

MIL-STD-129R

The current incarnation of this standard, R, is an update to MIL-STD-129 that was made in 2014. MIL-STD-129R replaces linear barcodes on identification labels with machine-readable PDF417 barcode symbols that allow the use of UID labeling (which can be up to 50 characters long – too long for a traditional, linear barcode). This allows large amounts of data to be securely stored on a 2D shipping label. DoD and defense contractors can scan these barcodes automatically, greatly simplifying asset management and tracking. 

The Defense Logistics Agency has created a checklist of 10 key components that must be present, in order, on the shipping label to be compliant with MIL-STD-129R standards. They are as follows:

  1. NSN/NATO stock number
  2. CAGE code
  3. Part Number (identified as PN or P/N)
  4. Item description and nomenclature, exactly as it appears on the contract, purchase order, or requisition
  5. Quantity and UI
  6. Contract number or purchase order number
  7. Military preservation method and date of unit preservation, if applicable
  8. Shelf-life markings, if applicable
  9. Serial number(s), preceded by the abbreviation SER NO
  10. Barcode markings, including NSN and CAGE, if required 2D (PDF417), and serial number

With so many inputs needed, the process of creating MIL-STD-129 obviously has many opportunities to go wrong, resulting in shipping mix-ups, delayed payments, possible non-compliance penalties, and damage your credibility as a preferred vendor.

MIL-STD-130N

After World War II, the organization that would eventually become the Department of Defense created Federal Stock Numbers to facilitate inventory control. These FSNs were 11-digit identifier codes that acted as unique identifiers to military assets. This method was further refined several years later with the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act, which mandated a single catalogue system for the DoD. The system was successful. To make it official, the DoD published MIL-STD-130N in 1953 to require the uniform application of identification labels to military properties, providing a set of directions for proper marking of items purchased by the DoD. 

The most recent update to this standard, referred to as Change 1, occurred in 2012 and established the UID unique identifier data matrix requirement to allow for easier automated data capture. This unique identifier follows an asset throughout its entire lifecycle for easier tracking. This system greatly enhances inventory control and visibility. However, like MIL-STD-129R, the asset marking requirements set forth in MIL-STD-130N can be complex and difficult to manage.

What you need to know about managing these requirements

Managing MIL-STD-129R and MIL-STD-130N means reducing errors, and the key to reducing errors is limiting the opportunity for them to occur. If your current operations involve a great amount of manual data entry, consider introducing automation into this process to reduce human error and streamline information exchange. 

Odyssey’s products are made specifically for defense contractors trying to maintain MIL-STD-129R and MIL-STD-130N compliance. They automate data entry, label printing, UID validation and registry submission, and can even facilitate payments and future reordering. Learn more about how Odyssey can streamline your operations, reducing risk, and protecting your cash flow. Contact us today.

Topics: MIL-STD-129, DoD, Odyssey DCS, department of defense, dod commerce solutions, packaging

What Vendors Should Know About TLS Contracts, And How Odyssey's KOP Module Can help

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

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What's TLS?

The DLA’s Tailored Logistical Support program provides total logistics support and procurement for government customers. Vendors who qualify for this program are placed on a short list, and have the opportunity to bid and win contracts with the Department of Defense, federal agencies, state and local governments, as well as other authorized customers around the world. A wide variety of both military and commercial products, training and services are available for the TLS program. Examples include contracts for tactical equipment and supplies, safety equipment, hazardous material response training and maintenance, repair and operations.

What are the obstacles to success?

Being a TLS contractor is a coveted position! Future business, and plenty of it, is essentially assured- but only if you play by the rules. TLS contractors are required to send data in Electronic Data Interchange format, which on occasion can cause errors (especially if the contractor uses a separate enterprise resource planning tool). In addition, contractors are also required to conform to MIL-129 r labeling standards. Failure to abide by any of the rules can result in delays, refused shipments and unpaid invoices.

How can Odyssey help? 

To address these issues, and help ensure that TLS contractors’ business operations remain profitable, Odyssey developed the KOP Module. The module is a sophisticated, EDI-centric compliance and efficiency tool. It provides superb handling of exceptions, assuring contractors that all of their electronic transactions and MIL-129 r labels will be correct and result in paid invoices. 

Odyssey’s KOP Module is aided by an easy-to-use interface, which grants users the ability to see the entire transaction. Contractors have full visibility of all of their open orders, as well as detailed information on each specific order. Orders can be sorted and filtered by characteristics such as ID number, payment status and invoice amount. In the event of any inaccuracies resulting from human error or bad data, personnel can manually correct the errors without prior knowledge of EDI. 

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Since the KOP Module automates EDI transmissions, contractors can continue working in their own ERP and utilize the KOP Module as a point of reference or for exception handling. 

Contact Odyssey today to learn more about how our KOP Module can help your business make every TLS contract a profitable one.

Topics: MIL-STD-129, DoD, Odyssey DCS, department of defense, dod commerce solutions, packaging, KOP Module, TLS Contracts

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, department of defense, dod software, dod commerce solutions