ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

Why Integrated, DoD Approved Software is the Best Solution for Suppliers

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 @ 12:03 PM

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Businesses of all descriptions work as Department of Defense suppliers; simply because the federal government is one of the largest purchasers of all sorts of things. But many DoD suppliers struggle with the systems and processes needed to effectively support their work.

For any vendors on the DoD approved software list you may consider, it’s important to know what to look for – not all DoD approved software is created equal.

What’s the difference between software and solutions?

The purpose of software solutions is to allow users to complete tasks as efficiently as possible. However, the words “software” and “solution” are often conflated, so as to suggest that all software is inherently a solution.

There are many kinds of software that organizations use to improve a specific process or meet a special requirement. Different teams use different software for different needs. For example…

  • The sales team uses software to communicate with potential customers or respond to quote requests
  • The shipping and logistics department uses software to create the required documents and labels to send assets out the door
  • The accounting team uses software to efficiently invoice and maintain receipt of payment for compliant record keeping purposes

The only common thread between these tools is that they are separate in nature, unrelated to each other, and they force an organization to maintain multiple applications.

Is ERP the answer?

Many organizations have found a way to achieve better integration using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP systems). ERP systems can be a great way for businesses to integrate their departments and allow users to work in a more streamlined way.

Yet for all their benefits, ERP systems have limitations in niche spaces. Seldom do they meet MIL-STD 129 r or MIL-STD 130 n mandates. Department of Defense requirements such as these can put companies at a disadvantage, especially when they’re working as a federal supplier for the first time.

Failing to comply with DoD requirements can have a major impact on your success as a government supplier. For all the time and money spent, you should expect your software to provide a complete and compliant solution. Unfortunately, it is common to hear from DoD suppliers that have purchased an ERP system only to later learn that more investment is necessary to create a solution that fits both their needs and the DoD’s requirements.

What makes DoD approved software different?

CRM, ERP, accounting, and logistics software works well for many businesses, but not necessarily for DoD suppliers. This is because DoD suppliers have unique requirements and process standards that other businesses do not, including:

With these needs in mind, what should DoD suppliers look for when it comes to software solutions?

Look for DoD approved software that provides an integrated, cross-departmental solution

Finding a compliant DoD approved software solution specific to your needs is often one of the greatest challenges facing supplier organizations. No matter which vendors you’re considering from the DoD approved software list, you will be best served by initially reviewing your DoD process from a 10,000-foot view rather than “boots on the ground.”

It’s important to first understand how the entire DoD commerce process flows between your departments. This will help you ask the right questions during a solution evaluation.

Here’s why the cross-departmental view matters:

  • Tasks occurring within the contracts department affect the shipping and accounting departments
  • Shipping and logistics data corresponds with required accounting information
  • Compliant fulfillment affects your organization's future ability to win DoD awards

DoD commerce is truly a 360-degree process. Enabling your key departments to work together and capture the right data will help you be successful as a DoD supplier.

The bottom line? Software is not truly a “solution” when more than one unrelated application is needed to complete a process.

At Odyssey, we have deep experience working with DoD suppliers to help them drive efficiency and ensure compliance with DoD requirements. To learn more, see a demo of our DoD approved software solutions or contact us to start a conversation.

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, RFID, UID

Why You Should Care About Data

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 @ 13:06 PM

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Data has become critical to our lives over the past 30 years. It has changed the way we are educated, entertained, and even how we do business. The sum of all the data created, captured, and replicated is rapidly increasing and will only continue to do so.                                                           

The amount of data created worldwide will increase by tenfold by 2025, according to a recent white paper published by International Data Corp (IDC). The paper, titled “Data Age 2025”, says that because of the major increase in data, organizations will have to prioritize which portions to manage and how. Organizations that don’t manage the data correctly could lose revenue, provide poor customer experiences, and suffer operational inefficiencies.

“As data grows in amount, variety, and importance, business leaders must focus their attention on the data that matters the most,” says IDC. “Not all data is equally important to businesses or consumers.”

The white paper predicts that virtually every organization will somehow be impacted by the increase in data. There are a few key trends organizations can expect to see by 2025.

Enterprises will create the bulk of the world’s data

Data Age 2025 predicts that one of the biggest shifts will come from new data sources, as enterprises will soon replace consumers as the primary creators of the bulk of the world’s data. The study says that organizations will create 60 percent of the world’s data in 2025. To provide additional context, in 2015, they created less than 30 percent of data.                                           

Data will evolve from business background to life-critical

Once inaccessible and mostly underutilized, data has now become essential. When defining “life-critical”, IDC says:

“Data usage is being analyzed by its level of criticality as indicated by factors such as the need for real-time processing and low latency, the ad hoc nature of usage, and the severity of consequences should the data become unavailable (e.g., a medical application is considered to be more consequential than a streaming TV program).                                                                                            

IDC estimates that by 2025, nearly 20% of the data in the global datasphere will be critical to our daily lives and nearly 10% of that will be hypercritical.

Data is mobile and in real-time

It is increasingly more important for data to be instantly available whenever and wherever anyone needs it.  Businesses everywhere are transforming their digital platforms to meet these requirements. In fact, IDC says that real time data will grow at 1.5 times the rate of overall data creation and by 2025, more than a quarter of data created in the global datasphere will be real time.        

These predictions and insights could impact virtually every organization, but they are especially important for suppliers to the Department of Defense (DoD). For example, our industry maintains a vast amount of information like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID) to effectively track and ship products, meet DoD requirements and complete transactions. Because of the advances in technology, data is more crucial than ever to remain competitive. 

Our clients rely on us to provide accurate, real-time data every day to keep their businesses running and prospering. With the data that our DoD-approved software provides, our partners can:

  • Make better informed decisions
  • Increase productivity and efficiency
  • Reduce the number of errors made
  • Lower operating costs

These trends will only continue to drive the world of data in the years to come. By collecting and analyzing the right data, DoD suppliers can save time, money and resources getting the job done. Executives and data professionals should keep a close eye on these trends and adapt their strategies as needed. We wrote about this a little more in depth in April when discussing 2017’s biggest data trends. You can learn more about our data-driven services here.

 

 

Topics: data, department of defense, DoD, DoD approved software, UID, RFID

Seamlessly Manage IUID Tasks in One Platform

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, May 3, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

The Department of Defense is consistently changing and updating requirements for military marking, shipments, storage and more. These new standards often add to an already long list of requirements and processes that must be managed.  Companies must engage in asynchronistic activities, log into multiple unrelated software programs and coordinate with outside suppliers, just to complete a DoD transaction.

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Imagine how efficiently your company could run if all that redundant work was eliminated by a single, end-to-end product.  Odyssey is a cloud-based, fully integrated IUID compliance and transactional software solution and is DoD approved.

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UID activities generally fall into two main tasks:  Events and transactions.

Events

  • UID Mil-Std 130 N marks
  • Receipt of previously marked assets
  • Pedigree building or embedded IUID relationships

Transactions

  • UID data into required exterior labels
  • Advanced ship notice and invoice submission
  • Managing lifecycle events within the registry

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Even though these tasks are separate from one another, and each uses its own specialized software and data pathways, you, the supplier, are tasked with entering and integrating data for each one to complete a successful DoD transaction.  Odyssey unifies this process, allowing you to engage in successful IUID mandated commerce from a single end-to-end solution.

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Now you can seamlessly manage the following, all in one DoD approved platform:

  • End level UID creation
  • Assets previously marked with UID
  • Embedding IUID for parent/ child pedigree assembly
  • Government furnished property
  • UID compliance requirements mandated to occur through the IUID registry

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Odyssey’s technology also eliminates keystroke or typographical errors. Our approach is based on automation, rather than redundant data entry. Its flexible, low-impact implementation won’t obstruct your unique set of assets, requirements and workflows.

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Hundreds of organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, have already standardized on the DoD approved Odyssey platform.  Success and longevity demands a compliant, transparent and repeatable process.

 

Watch the full video demonstration here. Schedule a no-obligation, personalized demonstration today, here.

Topics: DoD, DoD approved software, IUID, MIL-STD 130 N, UID, Odyssey DCS

Squash Errors with Odyssey’s UID Module

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


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

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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. 

 

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

 

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

Infographic: Odyssey vs. Manual Data- Entry Websites

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 10:11 AM

If you sell goods to the Department of Defense, you know that it can take a lot of time, effort and attention to detail to ensure that your products are compliant with the DoD’s requirements. Whether you are selling aircraft parts, paint, medical devices or clothing, your company must comply, and this isn’t an easy task. Many companies turn to free government websites as a quick, temporary solution when looking to complete DoD commerce tasks. But they eventually discover that these websites don’t save them the time, money or frustration that they expected.

Odyssey’s services take care of all DoD commerce tasks that are necessary to get your goods 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.

The infographic below breaks down the difference between our software and manual-data entry websites, such as free government websites.

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Overview

  • Odyssey provides one integrated location for all DoD commerce tasks, while free government websites require manual data entry across several unrelated sites.
  • Odyssey manages receipt and insertion of all data, providing ongoing customer support, while free websites are managed by different agencies and people who aren’t familiar with your business.
  • Odyssey’s software automatically validates each RFID and UID to ensure its compliancy and prevent errors, but when you use free government websites, the manual and repetitive data entry creates a high probability of data-entry errors.
  • Odyssey’s SaaS platform uptime of 99.9% is efficient and reliable, helping your company meet deadlines, but free websites are inefficient and can be down or even crash in the middle of your order.

The Odyssey cloud platform provides one integrated location for all DoD commerce tasks, to be handled in-house. We can provide the peace-of-mind that you need in the DoD approved-software space. Stop looking for temporary solutions and start thinking about the sustainability and long-term success of your business.  If you want to learn more about our products and services options, you can watch video demos here.

Topics: UID, RFID, DoD approved software, manual data entry

Internet Of Things: Key to DoD Commerce Success

Posted by James Lusk on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 @ 14:09 PM

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The Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT, continues to grow as a topic of ongoing conversation, and could soon be a household term. IoT, commonly defined as, “a proposed development of the Internet, in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data,” is beginning to impact almost every industry. LTE-enabled cars now offer real-time traffic information and real-time vehicle diagnostics. Your FitBit and other wearable tech offers personalized data, like heart rate, step count, calories burned, etc. And retailers are tracking your shopping habits every day to send you coupons and offers at the right time and place.

Not only is IoT aimed at consumers, but many business-to-business companies are adopting it, as well. For example, it’s being used to connect manufacturing equipment, medical devices and all the other commercial equipment used by the world’s largest companies. Many businesses have found that the technology improves their bottom lines by:

  • Lowering operating costs
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • Expanding to new markets
  • Developing new product offerings

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, found that the future of IoT is looking bright, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. They project that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years and that businesses will be the top adopters of IoT solutions.

 The Internet of Things has also largely affected the federal government, from the Department of Defense to NASA to the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, big data and analytics firm Giovini reported that the federal IoT market saw 20 percent year-over-year growth in fiscal year 2015. This is a trend that will likely continue as the technology gets more and more sophisticated.

Because of the advances in the Internet of Things, 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.  For example, item unique identification (IUID) is a system of establishing unique item identifiers (UII) within the DoD by assigning a machine-readable character string or number to a discrete item. This serves to distinguish it from other items. The data required to properly manage a successful IUID transaction is easily created within our software or imported in a compliant format provided by the user.  We also create pre-encoded RFID labels, which are smart labels that meet DoD requirements and track the location and status of a client’s product.

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 helps to make our partners’ work easier and more efficient by:

  • Improving resource utilization
  • Reducing errors
  • Enabling streamlined commerce and compliance measures

We take pride in staying on top of the newest and most effective technology. Our goal is to be one step ahead of industry trends to help our partners get the most out of their business.

Topics: UID, IUID, RFID, Internet of Things, DoD approved 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

Item level RFID and its far reaching impact

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 10:06 AM

Last year, we wrote a couple of blogs discussing challenges with item-level RFID and different solutions companies, researchers and manufacturers were utilizing to overcome them. We also wrote about the increased adoption of smart labels as it relates to the Internet of Things and sectors outside the DoD, particularly with DoD_Sealretailers. These two topics actually go hand-in-hand really well. As adoption increases so will challenges. We’ve ensured that our software is built such that it can absorb new changes and challenges seamlessly, creating a streamlined user experience. For those using the technology outside of DoD compliance, other, more creative solutions are needed.

            Let’s start with retail. An item-level RFID inventory solution can be invaluable to a store looking to ensure they never run out, or overstock, inventory. The challenge is that a tag/reader system can be expensive for stores with multiple locations. To battle this, clothing retailer F&F is working to cut down on the man-hours it would take to scan each tag, balancing the price of the system by removing the cost of manpower going forward. Their solution is certainly out-of-the-box, but the logic is tight. Imagine you’re walking down an aisle, casually browsing cardigans, when suddenly you see a six-foot tall robot come strolling by. No, we’re not talking Terminator-looking robots; more like tall vacuum cleaners. These autonomous robots are equipped with scanners that can read tags in a 360 radius several times a week, ensuring accurate data capture.

            Another interesting article we came across brought up the idea of using item-level RFID on a smaller scale to keep track of items in an office. The writer said that he was contacted by a business manager who wanted to keep an inventory of everyday office supplies like computers, monitors, chairs, etc. The writer suggested tagging each item as well as the doorways to the rooms they were located in. He envisioned a scenario where an app on a reader would bring up a list of items in a room after the tag in the doorway was scanned. The reader could then be waved around and tell the manager if all items were present or not. Sounds great, right? Well the issue, and the point of the article, is that no such app exists; at least not on the level this man was looking to use it. So while there aren’t apps available for smaller-scale, item-level tracking, we have to assume that could be coming down the pipeline sometime soon. If radio frequency identification technology, particularly the passive kind (due to cost efficiency), continues to grow in popularity, we could be seeing all kind of advancements that allow more and more people to track assets easily.

            It’s important to know, however, that while robots are neat and flashy and provide a solution that’s sure to grab headlines, sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference. For example, if you read our blog post last month you saw us comment on a particular solution to WAWF being renamed to iRAPT. The outside solution was a training manual costing hundreds of dollars and time necessary for employees to read dollar_signthrough it. Don’t get us wrong; iRAPT is critical to DoD vendors as it’s the method in which they submit RFID and UID data for compliance purposes. Our point, as you can read in the blog, is that if vendors are using DoD-approved software solutions, such as Odyssey, then nothing changes. Vendors can keep doing what they’ve always been doing.

            While we wish we had more autonomous robots walking around the Odyssey offices, we’re confident that our DoD compliance software solutions enables vendors to submit this information electronically by marshaling unique identifiers, providing management and incorporating data within MIL-STD 129 R and MIL-STD 130N interior and exterior label compliance. We also know that we’re pioneers in a young and ever-changing industry, and we need to constantly be on the forefront of adaptation.

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, MIL-STD 129R, UID, MIL-STD 130 N, Item level RFID, iRAPT, Internet of Things

Don't Waste Time or Money on iRAPT Training Materials

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 @ 12:06 PM

A couple of months ago we wrote a blog post on WAWF being renamed to iRAPT. You can read the post here, but the gist is that, essentially, not much will change for DoD vendors looking to keep compliant by submitting advance shipping information, including RFID and UID data, as well as Invoices electronically. This is particularly true if those vendors are using Odyssey’s software solution. The reason we’re revisiting this topic is that, without proper understanding, DoD vendors could potentially pay for information and training that isn’t really necessary.

            Before we begin, we’ll refer you to another blog post detailing the acronyms we’ll be using like iRAPT (Invoice receipt acceptance and property transfer), WAWF (wide area workflow), RFID (radio frequency DoD_Sealidentification), UID (unique identification), etc. Check it out here if you’re not familiar with any of these.

            What really sparked this post is an email we recently received offering a training manual on the WAWF changeover. At first glance, this detailed manual (almost 200 pages and “written in layman’s terms”) seems like a great training tool for any DoD supplier. At $495 per manual, the buy in is pretty steep, but it’s worth it to ensure proper vendor compliance, right? Maybe, but there are a few issues we see with this.

            First, having employees comb through a 200-page manual on a subject as tedious as this isn’t incredibly practical. An iRAPT training manual this large will not only take time to get through, but if these DoD instructions are to be followed they must also be studied and memorized. This is simply not an efficient process. Secondly, while $495 per manual may not be substantial for larger suppliers, it is a cost that isn’t really necessary. As we stated before in our blog, if your company is utilizing a software solution from the DoD approved software list then nothing has really changed.

            We look at it this way: why spend time and money figuring out how the watch works when Odyssey will just tell you what time it is? In other words, our software is specifically built to be user-proof, only necessitating a few clicks to send all imperative DoD RFID and DoD UID data as well as the electronic invoicing component. As we stated in our previous blog, the most important thing to remember is that the change from iRAPT to WAWF doesn’t alter the critical nature of the application or Odyssey’s position in the process. Our DoD software is specifically built around submitting this information electronically by marshaling these unique identifiers, providing their management and incorporation within MIL-STD 129 R and MIL-STD 130N interior and exterior label compliance.

            It all breaks down to this: If you’re using Odyssey’s DoD approved rfid software solution, keep doing what you’re doing. If your not using Odyssey’s software platform that’s ok too, but don’t go buy an expensive manual and hold classes for your employees so they can better understand the system. Please consider saving yoursoftware_integration time and money and don’t send employees to third party training junkets to get certified on how to use a free government website.

          The problems and challenges related to the DoD process are intertwined between departments. Knowing how to use the DoDs free site, is only one piece of the puzzle; and the last piece at that. In order to make the process efficient and effective, companies must recognize and think through the entire set of tasks. Contract management, RFID creation, MIL-129 label creation, UID format and marking are all tasks that need to be addressed prior to even logging into iRAPT. If all of these can be handled in one solution and then pushed directly to the government through a single point and click submission, doesn’t that make the most sense?

 Watch iRAPT Console Demonstration Here!

Topics: DoD approved software, RFID Software, RFID, MIL-STD 129R, UID, MIL-STD 130 N, iRAPT

A Brief History of DoD UID

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 @ 13:03 PM

As we continue to explore the depths of UID and MIL-STD 130N in this blog series we want to next discuss the history of the compliance process mandated by the DoD. UID was very much a system built out of necessity, and understanding that necessity sheds a lot of light on the reason for its widespread usage today. Item identification, as it pertains to military assets, has been around for quite awhile, but let’s go back, for the sake of illustration, to World War II.DoD Commerce

            Consider the Sherman tank, which was the American tank most commonly used by Allies in WWII. During the U.S.’s involvement in the war, primarily between 1942 and 1945, roughly 50,000 Shermans were manufactured and shipped to various Allied nations. While the German Tiger tank was a vastly superior product, manufacturing times and expenditures on these armored vehicles were dramatically higher than the Sherman. In the end, the U.S. tank became vital to the war effort because it allowed the Allies to overwhelm their Axis counterparts with sheer numbers. Surely George Patton reveled in the influx of Shermans into his 3rd army, but the asset volume caused headaches for those keeping track of the logistical side of the war.

            During this time, each branch of the U.S. military used separate methods for identifying assets, meaning a single part could have a different name depending on which branch you asked. With such a substantial amount of items being delivered around the world, it didn’t take long for the military to realize inventory control was neigh impossible under the current system. After WWII, as part of a series of events that gave birth to the Department of Defense, the Federal Stock Number (FSN) was created. This system utilized an 11-digit stock number that was applied to assets to give them a unique identifier. This method was even further refined a few years later with the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act, which mandated a single catalogue system for the DoD. The entire system was so successful that in March of 1953 the first edition of the MIL-STD-130 was published to require the uniform application of identification labels to military properties.

            This system of asset management went through various stages of change in the coming years, but saw its largest evolution in 1990 with The Chief Financial Officers’ Act, which called for cost reduction and improved item accountability. The DoD found itself in a situation where it needed to greatly improve asset visibility and lifecycle item management. It was one thing to properly identify and distinguish assets, but now it was necessary to track those assets at any point throughout their lifecycle and provide real-time data and logistical information. Such was born the DoD’s first vision of modern unique item identification. MIL-STD 130

            In 2003, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense signed into effect a policy that lead to UID as we know it today. This policy made UID management a mandatory DoD requirement on all new assets issued on or after January 1st, 2004. This was also around the time that UID began utilizing a 2D Data Matrix. The technology for this type of marking had actually been around since the 90s when NASA was in need of a way to mark individual items that was both secure and compact. The inclusion of the 2D Data Matrix into UID meant that all items of a certain value were required to be marked with this machine-readable code to improve inventory data quality, asset visibility, and accurate data capture.

            And so we find ourselves here, today, with the most modern interpretation of UID. It’s a system that has been around for decades and continues to evolve, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in larger ways, but always to streamline the cost, effectiveness and efficiency of asset management. Please contact us to learn more about how the ODYSSEY DCS SaaS platform can help your organization manage MIL-STD 130N, UID and as well as all other DoD commerce requirements.

Topics: UID, dod compliance, MIL-STD 130 N, IUID, Government Approved VAN, iRAPT