ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Electronic Data Interchange

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

Rentention-of-Electronic-Data-655x300.jpg

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

3 trends- defense.jpeg

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

How Manual Data Entry is Hurting Your Business

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

 

hands on keyboard.jpg

If you sell goods to the Department of Defense, you know that it takes a great deal of time, effort and attention to detail to ensure that your products are compliant with the DoD’s requirements and that you get paid. Many suppliers will turn to free government websites as a temporary solution to complete DoD commerce tasks, but they quickly find that collecting and manually inputting data can be time-consuming, labor intensive and monotonous. Not to mention, it isn’t a long-term solution.

Growing companies typically reach a point when their manual data entry process can’t keep up with their business needs. However, some companies still rely on manual data entry, despite its inherent drawbacks.

Let’s look at some of the top drawbacks of manual data entry.

Inaccuracy

Manual data entry has been proven to produce more errors than automated entry. According to software company Opin, manual data entry has, on average, an accuracy rate of 96 percent, compared to the 99.963 to 99.995 percent accuracy rate of automated data. Odyssey’s software automatically validates each RFID and UID to ensure its DoD compliance and prevent errors.

Slower Turnaround

To put it simply, automated applications are much faster than manual entry. The automatic data is streamlined, freeing up employees and business owners to complete other tasks. This allows companies to produce more and larger projects in less time. Odyssey’s SaaS platform uptime of 99.9% is efficient and reliable, helping your company meet deadlines, but free government websites are often inefficient and can even crash in the middle of your order.

Decreased Productivity

One of the main complaints we hear from business owners who are considering switching to Odyssey is that they want to focus on the work that really matters. Manual data entry often distracts employees from more important tasks, reducing their productivity levels and costing your company money. Automated entry software allows your employees to find higher value tasks to perform.

Overall, manual data entry is a slow process, prone to errors, reliant on employee’s accuracy, and expensive to scale as your business grows. Businesses are constantly looking for ways in which data entry and capture can be automated in a cost-effective manner.

Odyssey’s services take care of all DoD commerce tasks, allowing your goods to get to the DoD and for you to get paid. We designed these services with the DoD supplier in mind, and we want to help you move toward a streamlined process.

Below is a quick overview of some of the benefits of Odyssey and automated data entry.

  • Odyssey provides one integrated location for all DoD commerce tasks.
  • Odyssey manages receipt and insertion of all data, providing ongoing customer support.
  • Odyssey’s software automatically validates each RFID and UID to ensure its compliance and prevent errors.
  • Odyssey’s SaaS platform uptime of 99.9% is efficient and reliable, helping your company meet deadlines.

We help companies streamline their DoD commerce processes every day. Don’t let manual data entry slow you down. Contact us today.

 

Topics: DoD approved software, DoD, dod compliance, manual data entry, automated data entry

Smart Devices Shifting From Consumers to Businesses

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

pexels-photo-5.jpg

Consumers are adopting smart devices at a rapid rate, welcoming them into their homes, cars and everyday lives. These devices have changed the way we think, live and interact with one another, and there are no signs of it slowing down. However, while we often correlate smart devices and technology to products we use in our personal lives, they are more relevant than ever to businesses today, especially in manufacturing, logistics, industrial, shipping and tracking industries. Companies must notice these trends and recognize the advantages in investing in smart technology. 

What is smart technology?

Smart technology connects multiple devices or networks via wireless protocols, allowing objects to operate interactively and autonomously. Any type of equipment, instrument, or machine that has its own computing capability is considered a smart or intelligent device.

Harvard Business Review explains it well:

“All smart, connected products, from home appliances to industrial equipment, share three core elements:

  • Physical components (such as mechanical and electrical parts)
  • Smart components (sensors, microprocessors, data storage, controls, software, an embedded operating system, and a digital user interface)
  • Connectivity components (ports, antennae, protocols, and networks that enable communication between the product and the product cloud, which runs on remote servers and contains the product’s external operating system).”

You may be familiar with smart, connected products like smart refrigerators that can sense what kinds of products are being stored inside them and keep a track of the stock or FitBits and other wearable tech that offer personalized data, like heart rate, step count and calories burned. However, it’s no longer just about the “smart home”. It’s also about the “smart office” and “smart warehouse.” 

How are businesses using smart technology?

Data Collection

With more devices connected than ever before, companies have greater access to data regarding consumer behavior, patterns and interests. Companies are taking advantage of the increased amounts of data by making decisions, like product recommendations, effective advertising and sales decisions, based off their findings. Greater access to data is proving to be valuable as studies show that executives want their companies to focus more on data, and less on intuition.  We wrote about data and the Internet of Things in January.

Inventory Tracking and Management

The ability to view, track, and monitor inventory continues to improve through smart devices and technology. A smart supply chain is updated in real-time, so your company can track inventory, remain aware of shipping issues and keep track of what stock needs replenished. Additionally, RFID tags are able to hold and communicate even more information about an object, such as temperature, weather, traffic, damage to the object, etc. This will reduce the number of lost items, better identify inefficiencies and help companies make more informed decisions. Learn more about the benefits of RFID technology for businesses. 

Automating Manual Processes

One of the main complaints we hear from business owners who are considering switching to Odyssey is that they want to focus on the work that really matters. They are too distracted by the inconsistencies and headaches of multiple tools and manual processes. With smart devices, everything is connected, automated and streamlined, freeing up employees and business owners to focus on tasks that add value. This allows companies to produce more and larger projects in less time. Automatic processes also reduce the number of errors that are normally seen during manual processes. See how your company can squash errors. 

What are the benefits for companies?

Many businesses have found that smart technology improves their bottom lines through:

  • Informed decision making via data collection
  • Automating manual processes, freeing employees up to focus on value-adding tasks
  • Lower operating costs
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Reduced number of errors 

Because of the advances in smart devices and technology, everything is connected. Odyssey has adopted this growing technology to create integrated, cross-departmental work-flow processes that utilize an efficient and effective cloud-based platform. Today’s Department of Defense commerce requires an IT platform that can make sense of requirements and provide an automated environment to easily react and respond in real-time. Our DoD-approved software helps to make our partners’ work easier and more efficient by:

  • Improving resource utilization
  • Reducing errors
  • Enabling streamlined commerce and DoD compliant measures
  • Creating a more efficient process, saving companies time and money

We take pride in staying on top of the latest and most effective technology. Learn how your company can benefit here. 

Topics: DoD approved software, DoD, dod compliance, RFID, smart device, automation, business technology

What To Know About Corrective Action Requests

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

pexels-photo-3.jpg

Recently, we have had many discussions with Department of Defense suppliers about corrective action requests (CARs) and how to address them.  In fact, we have heard more about CARs recently than we have in our last 11 years of service. Our DoD approved software can help.

What is a Corrective Action Request (CAR)?

A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is commonly defined as, “A formal notification sent to a supplier, where an item or process is in nonconformity and a remedy is required.”

CAR’s ask that the cause of nonconformities of a product, process, or service be eliminated, with the objective of preventing recurrence and are normally determined during quality assurance activities. These non-conformances are resolved through corrective actions. Each organization will have its own specific CAR form, process and procedures.

Levels of Corrective Action Requests

The DoD has four levels of CARs. The level depends on the severity of the nonconformity and the level of supplier management visibility required to properly address corrective actions, according to ACQ Notes.

Level 1

  • Issued for a nonconformity that can be corrected immediately and where no further corrective action response is necessary.  
  • The issue is not considered systemic, significant or recurring. 

Level 2

  • Issued when contractual nonconformity cannot be corrected right away.
  • Problems that involve Critical Program Impact items, Safety of Flight or critical safety items are determined a Level 2 CAR, at a minimum.
  • CARs should be directed to the supplier management level responsible for initiating corrective actions.

Level 3

  • Issued to the supplier’s top management to call attention to serious contractual nonconformity.  
  • Because of the severity of a Level 3 CAR, the supplier must acknowledge receipt and understanding with a due date.
  • There may be contractual remedies involved, such as reductions of progress payments, cost disallowances, business management systems disapprovals or more.

Level 4

  • Issued to the supplier’s top management when a Level III has been ineffective.
  • May also be issued if the contractual nonconformity is serious enough to warrant contractual remedies, such as suspension of progress payments or product acceptance activities.

How To Overcome Corrective Action Requests

DoD suppliers are constantly challenged by evolving requirements. The data associated with these requirements, and coupled with the demands of unrelated governmental websites, often leads to nonconformities and CARs, and it diminishes the profits of a DoD supplier’s business. 

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.  Our DoD approved software provides the peace-of-mind that companies need to complete DoD transactions.

 The Odyssey platform offers fully-scalable solutions for organizations of all sizes and structures including:

  • Small businesses
  • Non-profits
  • Large publicly traded companies

To learn more about how your organization can overcome and avoid this all too common problem, please CLICK HERE.  We offer many services that will help you take corrective actions immediately.  If you are a supplier wrestling with DoD Commerce, please contact us to learn more about the Odyssey platform, designed specifically for DoD suppliers.       

 

Topics: DoD approved software, corrective action requests, CARs, department of defense, dod compliance

Squash Errors with Odyssey’s UID Module

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 @ 10:02 AM


Squash Errors 3.png

 

Managing UID tasks and compliance is difficult and tedious, and without a robust solution in place, you can be left with many errors.

 

Squash Errors 2.png

 

Odyssey’s UID Module can be your one-stop for all UID needs.  

Here’s how it works, step by step:

Click on the UID Construct Manager to begin creating new UID MIL 130 N Labels.

 

Squash Errors 4.png

 

The UIDs can be created in multiple formats, such as Construct 1 or 2, as well as custom, and in any quantity.

 

Squash Errors 5.png

 

You can also import files that include UID data already created.  Odyssey will validate the uniqueness of each UID to ensure it is compliant and ready for use.

 

Squash Errors 6.png

 

And with Odyssey’s embedded UID feature, you can efficiently manage pedigree building activities.

 

Squash Errors 7.png

 

Because the UIDs are housed in an integrated solution, it’s easy to associate either a single end-level UID, or a parent UID, and its subsequent children to a specific transaction located within iRAPT console.

 

Squash Errors 8.png

 

The data will then flow from Odyssey via direct DoD integration to iRAPT for payment and then to the UID registry for compliance.

 

Squash Errors 9.png

 

Lessen your chance of error, increase your chance of opportunity for compliance and efficiency, and let Odyssey’s integrated UID module manage your tedious UID tasks. 

 

Squash Errors 10.png

 

Learn more here. You can also watch the full video demo here.

 

Topics: UID, MIL 130 N, errors, dod compliance, department of defense

How To: Create Compliant MIL-STD 129 r Unit Labels

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 @ 10:01 AM

 Picture1.png

One of the main complaints we hear from business owners who are considering switching to Odyssey is that they aren't able to focus on the work that really matters. They are too distracted by the inconsistencies and headaches of multiple tools and manual processes. Creating standard and compliant DoD labels can quickly become cumbersome and disorganized. With Odyssey’s NSN Label Manager, everything is automated and streamlined to help you finally leave those headaches behind.

Picture2.png

Odyssey NSN Label Manager allows you to standardize the creation of specific unit labels and ensures they are compliant.

Here’s how it works, step by step.

 Click on the NSN Item Label Manager.

 Picture3.png 

Enter the last four digits or any portion of your NSN.

Picture4.png 

 

The information for the NSN will automatically populate directly from the contract.

 Picture5.png

 

From here, you can edit any of the data if necessary. Enter shelf-life markings, such as cured or manufactured dates, as well as lot or batch data. You can even serialize these labels if needed.  When the information is complete, you can select the appropriate standard or custom template and print as many labels as you need.

 Picture6.png

Let Odyssey’s NSN Label Manager help you standardize the assets specific label creation process to keep it efficient and effective. To view the video demonstration, click here.

 

Topics: DoD, labels, dod compliance, Odyssey DCS, cloud software

UIDs must be submitted to iRAPT during the transaction process

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 16:06 PM

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about iRAPT, WAWF and the UID Registry from vendors trying to make sense of recent changes and how they can stay compliant. We can’t blame them. DoD compliance is critically important, and making sense of shifting vocabulary and guidelines can be an issue. So let’s look at these changes, what they could mean for vendors, and the best way to handle data submission. DoD_Seal

First, a cosmetic change: a few months ago we wrote a post on Wide Area Work Flow being renamed to Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance and Property Transfer. The primary purpose of our post was to ease the minds of those working with these tools, especially those using Odyssey’s software.

“In November of last year, e-Business Suit 5.6 was released and thus changed the name of WAWF to iRAPT. Fear not, if you were familiar....... you’re also familiar with iRAPT. It’s still the secure web-based system used by the DoD for electronic submission of advance shipping data, invoicing, receipt, and acceptance, which allows DoD vendors to submit and track invoices and receipt/acceptance documents. That means that, critically, it allows government personnel to process those invoices in real-time. The most important thing to note is that the name change doesn’t alter the critical nature of the application or Odyssey’s position in the process.”

That last line is key.  The name change doesn’t alter its necessity, and it doesn’t alter how vendors use Odyssey’s software. We’ll dig into this more specifically in a moment, but the same few clicks that were previously used to submit data continue to be effective. As a side note, since the writing of that article, version 5.7 of the e-Business Suit has been released. Here is a Power Point outlining all the updates in 5.7.

Secondly, and more importantly, is the recent migration of the data needed to flow to the Registry. This gets down into the meat of the issue. Back in October we wrote about the migration and what it could mean for DoD vendors and the compliance process.

“Some big changes are coming to the UID Registry. Specifically, the Registry is migrating to the Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) [iRAPT] e-Business Suite, and with it, changes to when and where UID information needs to be submitted for new acquisitions. This new policy appears to be an attempt to make things easier on the supplier, as well as ensure DoD compliance across the board by all registered vendors.

“Some users may be accustomed to simply submitting contract and transactional shipment data to WAWF initially and then circling back to the IUID Registry when it’s convenient, if at all. That will no longer be a viable option, as the data will now flow from WAWF to the IUID Registry. In other words, the Registry will no longer exist in and of itself for new acquisition submissions.”

Think of it this way. Vendors work with iRAPT to submit their Mil-Std 130n data, which flows to the IUID Registry.software_integration The DoD then uses the IUID Registry to track assets and their life cycle events. Plainly put, vendors must do this.

While enforcement of these requirements is new, its importance is akin to the need for RFID on the inventory management side. Vendors are asked to “set the stage” for downstream activities that make asset visibility and management a lot easier to handle once in the DoD supply chain.

But that still leaves us with the million-dollar question, and what we alluded to previously about the Odyssey software. How does one go about ensuring they’ve properly submitted an asset’s IUID data? Well, for Odyssey users, it’s really quite easy. A process that might have been a hassle, caused delays or worse; has been condensed into a get-in-get-out solution that takes the guesswork out of all MIL-STD 129 r and mil-std 130n label creation, data entry and final submission for compliance and payment.

Since day one, our software was built to automatically create compliant labels with respect to the PDF417 UIIs and submission of IUID pedigree data to iRAPT and subsequently the Registry at the time of transaction. Vendors can either utilize the Odyssey software to marshal their Item Unique Identifications or they can easily scan in or import previously marked items for management and transmission purposes. Now that iRAPT is stopping the process dead in its tracks, submission of the UID data is paramount to a successful transaction

Watch IUID Module  Overview Video

Topics: WAWF, dod compliance, MIL-STD 129R, UID, UID Registry, MIL-STD 130 N, IUID, iRAPT

DoD RFID tags and the software that makes it all work

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, May 18, 2015 @ 12:05 PM

As radio frequency identification usage continues to increase, and the technology continues to make its way into headlines, we’ve noticed a growing trend in the application of DoD labels and DoD RFID tags. Specifically, RFID is being implemented as an inventory-tracking tool. We’ve previously blogged about clothing retailers, grocery stores and other corporations utilizing tags and readers to control their inventory on an individual level (here, and here). These item-level RFID solutions that offer tracking looks to be the future of product management because it allows singularRFID integrated process assets to be tracked with identification exclusive to those items. Whether it be a pair of shoes or a t-shirt, more and more retailers are using RF solutions to keep track of how much inventory they have, and where that inventory is located at any given time during its lifetime.

            A recent article in RFID Journal announced the integration of item-level tracking to manage uniforms at the Fort Leonard Wood Recruit Training Center. The article specifically discusses the training center’s use of tags and readers when ordering uniform items from the DLA. With the exception of low-cost items such as socks, all assets are individual tagged and tracked to ensure orders to the training center are both accurate and efficiently filled. Once on site, the tags allow individual trainees to pack duffle bags with necessary uniform items. Readers placed at a checkout counter ensure that the trainees have all necessary items before they depart. It’s a solution that makes managing tens of thousands of individual assets possible.

            Despite the timeliness of the article, item-level radio frequency identification isn’t a new technology. Another article written in RFID Journal focused on our Odyssey defense commerce solution software being used at Wellco, a manufacturer of combat boots that provides assets to the U.S. Air Force. This article, written in 2013, describes the process of tags being affixed to individual pairs of boots before being loaded onto cartons that are also given tags. These carton tags are married to the individual Item tags on each pair of boots that comprise the carton Item Level RFID solutionsthrough a process called aggregation. Cartons are then placed on pallets at the tune of about 16 cartons per pallet. You can probably guess the next step. An RFID label is then attached to the pallet and married to all the tags contained within that pallet. The boots can then easily be shipped in bulk while allowing workers to track them on an individual level once they arrive at their destination.

            Wellco’s item-level integration came as a necessity in early 2012 when the DoD requested tags on every pair of boots. So while the change was a necessity, the DoD knew what they were doing asking them to switch to this system. Previously, Wellco, and similar suppliers, would need to both receive and fill orders manually, electronically entering the data. With the sheer volume of boots moving at any given time, manual tracking welcomed the opportunity for errors, some requiring significant amounts of time to locate and rectify. By utilizing Odyssey’s cloud based software platform, along with RF tags and readers, the entire operation’s efficiency increased significantly.

            While Odyssey exclusively operates within the defense industry, we recognized that the benefits of item level tracking via software_integrationradio frequency identification are far-reaching. We live in a connected world, one where people and assets can be moved to different continents in mere hours. Because of this connectivity, both DoD suppliers and retailers are in positions to move massive amounts of inventory to locations all around the world. By using passive RF technology that inventory is assured to arrive in its accurate physical and corresponding data entirety (barring an external incident during the shipping process), in a manner that takes human error out of the equation. As the popularity of the technology continues to grow, we foresee more companies seeing the benefits of RFID for internal purposes and integrating it into their own asset/property management functions. We’re excited to be among the pioneers of this growth as organizations begin to reverse the current positive externalities associated with radio frequency identification.

Topics: DoD approved software, dod compliance, RFID Software, RFID, MIL-STD 129R, Item level RFID, Passive RFID

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.

 

5 Tips to remember  when evaluating  software solutions

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