ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

How to Correctly Label Assets Using the MIL-STD-130 UID Label Format

Posted by James Lusk on Sun, Jan 13, 2019 @ 12:01 PM

 

business people working on correct uid label format

 MIL-STD-130 gives instructions how to mark items purchased by the US Department of Defense, including instructions on acceptable materials, text formatting and syntax rules for identifying marks, where markings should be located, etc.

What is UID label formatting all about?

The MIL-STD-130 requirements include rules about using the UID unique identifier data matrix for machine-readable information.

The most recent updates to MIL-STD-130N, “Change 1,” which took place in 2012, made changes to allow for easier automation data capture via machines. The unique identifier follows an asset throughout its entire lifecycle for easier tracking.

Why is this so important for DoD suppliers to understand?

Time and again, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and other auditors have reported that the US government lacks reliable, comprehensive information about all its property, equipment, and inventory. Without a strict system in place, the government would be incapable of knowing what assets exist, how many of a certain type they have, and where they are. Following the labeling and tracking requirements set forth by the government helps suppliers get paid on time and potentially win more contracts in the future.

UID label format basics

Let’s level-set with some basics of UID label formatting.

  • What does the government define as an “item?” The DoD defines an item as “a single hardware article or a unit formed by a grouping of subassemblies, components, or constituent parts.” In a general sense, hardware refers to physical items like tools, equipments, kits, fittings, and so on.
  • How do I know if I have to mark it with a unique identifier? The DoD has some helpful decision trees (starting on page 13 of this guide) to help answer this question. Items may need to be given unique identifier markings based on their value, intended use, and other factors.
  • What pieces of information are needed for the unique identifier? Instead of requiring items to be labeled with a unique identifier, the government only requires the label to contain the component parts of the unique identifier. Machines then read its component parts to figure out the unique identifier. Those components are: issuing agency code, enterprise identifier, serial number and, for Construct #2 additionally, original part number or lot or batch number.
  • What is an issuing agency code? The issuing agency code, or IAC, is that assigned by the Registration Authority for ISO/IEC 15459-2. Examples include organizations like the GS1 Global Office, the US Department of Defense, and Dun & Bradstreet.
  • What is the difference between Construct #1 and #2? These concepts refer to how items are serialized. If #1, they are serialized according to an entirely unique, alphanumeric code set by the manufacturer or vendor. If #2, the code is serialized within the part, lot, or batch number of the item.

How do I make all this easier?

Odyssey’s software, hardware, and labels help DoD suppliers ensure compliance with all government requirements with just a few clicks. We work with many companies to address the challenges of DoD commerce. With all the complexities and potential pitfalls, we’ve seen that a holistic approach to DoD commerce and compliance is the best option. In other words, using a single integrated system to manage the end-to-end process of finding and bidding on contracts, quickly and easily creating compliant UID labels, submitting required information to multiple government databases, invoicing and so on.

In addition, working with a company that specializes in this area ensures you have an expert partner to consult with as you get your team up to speed on DoD supplier processes and as new challenges and regulations arise. If you’re interested in learning more about how to drive greater efficiency and ensure 100% compliance with DoD commerce processes, talk to the experts at Odyssey today.

 

Topics: UID 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