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

DoD Approved Software.jpg

 

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

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

iRAPT; formerly known as WAWF

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 @ 13:03 PM

If you’ve been reading our blog recently you know that we’ve written pretty extensively on Wide Area Workflow, or WAWF for short. We’ve done this because WAWF is a critical element of DoD vendor compliance. In fact, it’s so essential we’ve built our software with that specifically with this in mind. Now, however, things are changing up a bit. WAWF has been renamed to iRAPT (Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance and Property Transfer). Change like this has the potential to be a little jarring, so we want to use this post to fully explain what all of this means. iRAPT Console

Before we get started, though, take a look at our blog post on the various acronyms associated with iRAPT, WAWF and ultimately UID. It will help clear up a lot of confusion if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology.

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 with WAWF, 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.

iRAPT will manifest itself in a DoD vendor’s compliance efforts most frequently in submitting advance shipping information, including RFID and UID data as well as Invoices. Our blog post on the UID Registry Migrating to WAWF (now iRAPT) explains these processes further, but essentially, this means that iRAPT must be the method in which new acquisition UID and RFID data is submitted to the DoD. This is extremely important as  RFID and UID data makes up the backbone of the DoD inventory control methodology and an asset’s lifecycle management.

The most important thing to note is that the name change doesn’t alter the critical nature of the iRAPT application or Odyssey’s position in the process. Because iRAPT Console is the core to what our software does (allowing DoD vendors to stay compliant in a manner that is both efficient andDoD Compliance effective), we’ve built the Odyssey program specifically around submitting RFID and UID data to iRAPT by marshaling these unique identifiers, providing their management and incorporation within MIL-STD 129 R and MIL-STD 130 N interior and exterior label compliance.

So fear not, specifically if you use Odyssey’s platform to complete your DoD-related tasks. You’ll still submit your data to iRAPT in the same manner you did for WAWF, which breaks down to a few simple clicks after our software automatically marshals the appropriate RFID and/or UID data. You can rest assured that those processes will remain just as hassle-free as you’ve always known them to be.

 Watch iRAPT Console Demonstration Here!

Topics: WAWF, Wide Area Workflow, dod compliance, MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD 129R, MIL-STD 130 N, iRAPT

Help! is it DoD IUID, or UID or UII??

Posted by James Lusk on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

In our previous blog post we discussed the basics of DoD MIL-STD 130N Item Unique Identification, or IUID for short. Our goal was to explain the complexities of IUID in a way that makes them accessible, particularly for those who find themselves working with the Department of Defense and attempting to stay compliant with procedures for military marking for shipment and storage. In this post, we’ll delve a little deeper into some of the acronyms frequently used alongside of UID. Many information resources, particularly government websites, will use these acronyms in place of their long-form titles, ensuring efficiency with complicated labels.DoD UID

 

Here is a list of common acronyms used with Military Standard 130 N, UID and Military Standard 129 R marking for shipment and storage and the definitions of each:

 

1. IUID, UID and UII: As stated above, IUID and UID both refer to Item Unique Identification. UII stands for Unique Item Identifiers. You’ll see all three used pretty frequently, which can be confusing unless you know they’re basically interchangeable. We’ll use all three, and we mean the same thing for all of them, a permanent marking method, mandated by the DoD, used to give equipment a unique identification to better track it.

2. TAV: Total Asset Visibility. This is the goal of MIL-STD 130 N, UID and why the DoD mandates compliancy for all of their suppliers. TAV means being able to view timely and accurate information on the location, movement, status and identity of items. TAV not only means the DoD can keep life cycle management records of an asset at all times, it also means they, and their suppliers, can view these records to gather information at any time about the quantity, location, and condition of assets anywhere in the DoD logistics system.

3. ECC200 Symbol: Error Correcting and Checking. ECC 200 refers to the 2D Data Matrix symbol we mentioned in our previous blog post. This is the physical mark or label that is wholly unique to that asset for its lifetime, even if the asset is modified in some way. It is read and decoded by a specialized barcode reader.

4. iRAPT-WAWF: Invoice Receipt Acceptance and Property Transfer - Wide Area Workflow. This is a new name given to an old standby in the DoD commerce world. This is the means in which new acquisition UID data is submitted to the UID Registry. For more information on iRAPT/WAWF and its relation to UID, check out our blog post on the UID Registry’s migration to WAWF. You’ll also learn more about how the Odyssey software is built to operate with this compliance specifically by marshaling UIDs providing their management and incorporation within MIL-STD 129 R exterior label compliance.DoD Compliance

5. PDF417: Portable Data File (consisting of 4 bars and spaces, and patterns that are 17 units long each). This stacked linear barcode is placed on the case label and is used for the quick identification of assets. Odyssey’s software automatically integrates UID data into the PDF417, while simultaneously handling the programmatic insertion of the UID data into the electronic file sent to iRAPT/WAWF. This helps meet the UID Advance Ship notice requirement as well as the requirement to submit the UID to the UID registry.

 

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and the DoD and its suppliers utilize many other acronyms; click here to read more. Hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better time navigating the various resources online regarding the use of UID and what the DoD requires to stay compliant with it. Please also visit OdysseyDCS.com and the rest of our blog to learn more about DoD compliance and how the Odyssey software makes it easy.

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD 129R, UID Registry, MIL-STD 130 N, IUID, iRAPT

DoD RFID and Commerce Compliance; Two Common Challenges

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

We want to start off by saying that we love RFID technology. We probably love it more than most people will ever realize. But as great as that affection is, we do recognize that there can be challenges in utilizing it correctly. Lately, we’ve noticed that prospective clients have been calling us with two specific issues related to the DoD Commerce process.DoD Software

1. ‘proof of delivery.’ Essentially, suppliers aren’t getting paid for the goods they’re shipping until they are able to prove the shipment occurred and was delivered.

2. the General Service Administration (GSA) recently transferring management of their contracts to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

      These two issues, if not approached correctly, can throw a wrench into the machine of any supplier looking to ship their products in the most efficient manor possible. The complications seem to loom large, but they don’t look like obstacles to us, because we’ve specifically developed our Odyssey software to counteract such scenarios. Allow us to explain.

      We’ll start with 'proof of delivery', as this tends to be more of a widespread issue. When a DoD supplier sends something to the Government that requires a RFID tag they must ensure that the information they provide is 100 percent accurate. If the label data isn’t inputted correctly into Wide Area Workflow (WAWF), the supplier won’t find out until they see they haven’t been paid, which may be 30 days later.  Contacting the Government in this case often doesn’t solve the problem either. Without proper tags/MIL-STD 129R labels and corresponding database reconciliation, there’s no way for the receiving agency to properly accept the shipment. The supplier is left to search through their files, make sure they’re organized, get a copy of the packing slip, and shippers receipt label (UPS, FEDEX etc.) and send to DLA. Needless to say, this situation, that we have dubbed ‘forensic accounting,’ is all too easy to fall into, and can cause a variety of issues that include accounting and wasted resources.

      A RFID tag is composed of 24 characters and can easily succumb to human error when being transposed or hand entered into WAWF. Since RFID technology only works properly when it’s being used 100% accurately, a little bit of human error can cause a lot of headache. This is supremely easy to fix, however. Odyssey’s proprietary software combats this issue by marshaling the tag data within its software and in conjunction with electronically received contract data. Odyssey’s customers don’t have to touch the tag, which means the information can be sent to the DoD with 100% accuracy. Issues with proof of delivery become completely nonexistent. Wondering whether or not the information that’s been sent to the DoD is correct, and waiting a month hoping to receive payment, becomes a thing of the past.

       The second issue that we’ve seen recently deals with suppliers of products whose contracts were formerly managed by GSA, such as, but not limited to, paints and adhesives. These contractors are suddenly faced with a slew of new label and data requirements they need to meet. DLA began managing these former GSA contracts approximately six months ago. By being thrust into a space they’re not as familiar with, these contractors have struggled with creating the correct labels and processes for invoicing through Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) DoD approved Softward

      Previously, these suppliers would ship orders via a typical commercial shipment company like UPS with no additional label marking requirements. That is no longer the case, however, as the DLA requires MIL-STD 129R case and military shipping labels, scheduling of shipment through the Vendor Shipment Module (VSM) as well as a submission to Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) for shipment notices including composition and payment. Most of these suppliers have never even heard of these military standards and websites, and sudden requirement of their utilization is intimidating. Odyssey can easily step in and provide a solution that’s both quick to learn and easy to operate, which means they won’t lose any time or efficiency shipping their product. This ease and efficiency is born mainly from Odyssey managing compliance behind the scenes. Any person could be pulled off the street and taught how to use the software because the tricky stuff is handled automatically.

      We like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. RFID technology, while practical and efficient, does present challenges to its adopters. The industry as whole is still evolving, and we’re striving to be the foremost leaders within the DoD space. The Odyssey solution eliminates a multitude of issues and inconveniences associated with RFID. We ‘ve recently seen these two specific issues popping up in droves and we want to let suppliers know there is an easy solution to both of them.

 

Watch iRAPT Console VSM Integration Here!

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, RFID, Wide Area Workflow, VSM, MIL-STD-129, dod compliance, MIL-STD 129R

EDI and VAN Services Aren't Always Glamorous But They Are Critical

Posted by Bo McMillan on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

Have you ever stopped to wonder how your email client works? We live in a world where exchanging messages is as simple as hitting “Send,” and hearing our phones beep as a new reply automatically shows up in our inboxes. Have you ever thought about the wealth of information that’s taking place behind the scenes for those messages to travel like that, though? You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t. Not everyone is interested in the logistics of data exchange. We live for it at Odyssey, though.

            Electronic data interchange, or EDI, is at the heart of what we do at Odyssey and, as critical as it is, one of our goals is to make sure our customers never have to worry about it. EDI essentially provides a standard for exchanging data via any electronic means. By adhering to these standards, two entities, in entirely different locations, can exchange complex data.  EDI, atSoftware integration its most basic, is the backbone of communication between the Government and Odyssey; hence why we think it’s so fundamental, and why we tend to get pretty excited talking about it.

            Unfortunately, for some, the process of EDI is a tedious, and ultimately frustrating, affair. Limitations to the adoption of EDI, such as companies sharing proprietary data, can cause issues with data exchange. To counteract this, Value-Added Networks, or VANs, were created. VANs act as mediators between companies so that data can be processed and exchanged appropriately. To that end, Odyssey took the necessary steps to become a government approved VAN. Think of a VAN like a post office. It takes the data and encapsulates it into something that can be shared between two entities, much like a post office placing appropriate stamps on your letters and then sending them out through their carriers. This sounds great on the surface, but VAN services are expensive and typically don’t have an easy-to-use interface component. Because of this, companies will sometimes pass up large contracts or special programs within the DoD that require special reporting or invoicing pathways. On top of this, companies that use a VAN will still need software to make practical use of the data.

            To bypass this mess, we made the Odyssey software to easily implement EDI connectivity with a user interface for business process functions such as:

  • RFQ noticfication, submission, and purchase acknowledgement
  • Contract management,
  • Mil-Std 129 R or Mil-Std 130 N label creation
  • Invoicing,
  • Submission of advanced shipment notices
  • Receipt of payment documentation and reporting,

            What does that mean from our customers’ standpoint? It means that EDI stops being a concern for them. Our software handles the logistical end of electronic data interchange and leaves the customer with a streamlined experience that takes just a few clicks to complete.

            Because ease of use is so important to Odyssey and its customers, we’ve created our software to be accessed anywhere, whether it be a PC, Mac, tablet, etc. This means that our customers have complete freedom in where they log into the Odyssey solution. We think this flexibility is paramount in today’s business world as more and more companies are operating inPrivate Cloud multiple geographic locations and employees working from home offices is becoming increasingly popular. We do recognize, however, that as cloud-based and web-based software become more prevalent so too do security risks. There are daily reports about data security and privacy breaches, viruses and malware, so we specifically constructed Odyssey’s software to offer all the conveniences of cloud-based architecture while simultaneously mitigating cyber security risks. No ads or outside sources are featured within the interface and our SaaS platform is accessed through private architecture and client-specific secure certificate domains. 

            Just like with email exchange clients, Odyssey’s software is at its best when the user isn’t concerned with the logistics of data exchanges happening in the background. We encourage our customers to enjoy the simple interface and the ease at which they can complete compliance and commerce tasks within the DoD space.

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, RFID Software, MIL-STD-129, dod compliance, MIL-STD 129R, MIL-STD 130 N, EDI, Government Approved VAN, VAN, Value Added Networks

The UID Registry is Migrating to WAWF

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

If you weren’t aware, some big changes are coming to the UID Registry on the planned date of November 3rd.

       Specifically, the IUID Registry is migrating to the Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) e-Business Suite, and with it, changes to when and where UID information needs to be submitted DoD Software Compliancefor new acquisitions. Click here to read more about the migration from the DoD Procurement Toolbox. 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. 

        This will no doubt cause headaches and potential process changes for some, particularly when it comes to creating compliant labels and submitting the UID data to WAWF at the time of transaction. Some users may be accustomed to simply submitting contract and transactional shipment data to WAWF initially and then circling back to the UID 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 UID Registry. In other words, the Registry will no longer exist in and of itself for new acquisition submissions.

     Of course, it’s difficult to guess how the Department of Defense will enforce this new change, but noncompliance could potentially lead to issues such as payment delays and negatively-impacted vendor scores. Simply put, this change is important to get right.

     We at Odyssey are actually pretty excited about the UID Registry migration to WAWF e-Business Suite, though. Since day one, our software was built to automatically create compliant labels with respect to the PDF417 UIIs and submit UID pedigree data to WAWF and subsequently the UID Registry at the time of transaction. Vendors can either utilize the Odyssey software to marshal their UIDs or they can easily scan or import previously marked items into Odyssey’s DoD Compliance Softwaresoftware for management and transmission purposes.

     Once the UID is tied to a transaction in Odyssey, whether RFID is required or not, it just takes a single click and, boom, all the data is pushed exactly where it needs to go and Vendors are compliant.

     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 130 N label creation, data entry and final submission for compliance and payment

     So, ultimately, how important is this UID Registry migration to Odyssey and its users? From a purely practical standpoint, not very. Odyssey users will continue to interface with the software as normal. No extra process steps or new settings that need to be toggled will be added. Our users are already 100% compliant with the new regulation. In another sense, however, the change is important because this migration, and Odyssey’s proactive compliance with it, shows that we’re staying ahead of the curve when it comes to DoD regulations.

   In the end, this migration makes us happy, because we’ve strived to design a compliant, transparent, repeatable program that’s quick and easy for our users. UID data is extremely important to the DoD because it is the backbone of lifecycle management for some of the most important new acquisitions made by our Armed forces. The fact that we don’t need to make a single change to adhere to this migration policy reaffirms our corporate understanding of the importance of upstream activities by DoD vendors and suppliers, and tells us we’re doing something right!

 

5 Tips to remember  when evaluating  software solutions

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, UID, Wide Area Workflow, dod compliance, RFID Software, MIL-STD-129, dod compliance, MIL-STD 129R, UID Registry, MIL-STD 130 N, IUID

The Goal and Purpose of VSM

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, May 20, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

If a company or person has been working within the DoD space for any amount of time the Vendor Shipment Module (VSM) formerly known as DPMS is probably somewhat familiar.

If your new to the DoD commerce world and specifically Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) transactions we will attempt to provide some clarity to this piece of the process.

The Vendor Shipment Module or commonly referred to as VSM is a distribution and transportation system that DLA utilizes to support global warfigther efforts. Suppliers access VSM through a web-based portal and registered login information.VSM, DoD Compliance

click here to visit the vsm registration and login page. It is reccomended that each organization register with VSM.

VSM provides DLA the ability to more effectively have in-transit visibility on assests as they move from the vendor to various DLA destinations, ports and ultimately to customers.

VSM was designed in order to provide the most efficient process both physically and fiscally for DLA.

The DLA effort to meet these stated goals is highlighted within VSMs successful implementation resulting in:

  • standard enterprise process
  • reduction of customer wait time
  • reduction of returned/frustrated shipments
  • favorable freight rates

Statistics point to over 2,600 vendors utilizing the system and processing over 100,000 shipments per month. This number is growing rapidly in the wake of the memo dated September 3, 2013 introducing the First Destination Transportation Inatiative.

Maximizing vendor participation increases the economy of scale thus improving the cost savings realized by the government. Cost savings is a mere by-product of deploying human capital in the most efficient manner possible.

In order for the entire supply chain to reach maximum cost savings; efficiencies must be deployed evenly on the vendor and government side of the transaction. Vendors should have the ability to meet these additional requirements as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What about MIL-STD-129 and RFID?

The question often asked is how does utilizing VSM affect the requirement of Military Standard 129 p change 4 specifically RFID?

The answer is that it doesn't. VSM is a valuable, yet additional step in the process. Contracts calling out for Mil-std-129 label requirements including RFID must still be addressed.

DFARS 252.232-7006 and 252.232-7002 and 7003 centered around Passive RFID and electronic submission of payment requests is still activeVSM, WAWF,

The in-transit visibility provided by VSM is not related to the passive RFID mandate which is used to populate Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) for inventory control methodolgy and payment.

It is still very important to address the MIL-STD 129 label requirement. The vendor is also required to submit advance shipment notices (ASN) and commercial invoices (CI), potentially together as a combo directly to WAWF with the appropriate RFID information.

VSM is in addtion too, not in lieu of WAWF

Focusing on the proper completion of these steps will ensure DoD compliance as well as continued high performance vendor scoring and prompt payment.

The government has provided free services and tools for vendors to meet these requirements. Regsitering with the following sites will assist any organizaiton that would like to work in the area of DoD commerce.

Dibbs- DLA Internet Bid Board System

VSM- Vendor Shipment Module

WAWF- Wide Area Workflow

SAM- System for Award Management

Future blog topics will include

  • First Destination Transportation Initiative
  • ASTM D3951 commercial packaging
  • Mil-Std-130N IUID compliance,
  • IUID registry submission
  • UID custodial and lifecycle management

Watch iRAPT Console VSM Integration Here!

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, Wide Area Workflow, dod compliance, RFID Software, VSM, MIL-STD-129

DoD Compliance ASTM D 3951 Commercial Packaging

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, May 7, 2014 @ 17:05 PM


We have been very busy here at ODYSSEY over the last few months; and that is a good thing! Unfortunately as we grow some things tend to take a backseat. As we continue down the path of growth we are working toward a consistent message utilizing our blog and other direct connect methods.

Recently ODYSSEY decided to become more involved with the DoD packaging side of the business. Not so much from a product or material standpoint, but rather a resource for information. Our journey to become more knowledgeable about DoD specification packaging led us to the ASTM organization.

ASTM has offered ODYSSEY an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about specific requirements while also opening new doors for networking within this niche field of ours.

We encourage organizations to research the ASTM International website and become as familiar with the new commercial packaging specs adopted by most DLA customers.

 

ODYSSEY joins ASTM International

Membership supports Dept. of Defense’s standards for most DLA Troop Support purchases

CINCINNATI, OH; April 28, 2014ODYSSEY, the leader in defense commerce solutions and the only Department of Defense (DoD) commerce solution provider delivering an integrated, cross-departmental workflow process in the cloud, is pleased to announce that they are now members of ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials).

ODYSSEY’s membership is driven by the DoD’s acceptance of ASTM D3951 Commercial Packaging as the standard moving forward for the majority of DLA Troop Support purchases. The adoption of the Commercial Pack Standard broadens the supplier base, while simultaneously reducing the difficult nature of previous packaging methods.

ASTM is the globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.

ASTM’s leadership in international standards development is driven by the contributions of its members: more than 30,000 of the world’s top technical experts and business professionals representing 150 countries. Working in an open and transparent process and using ASTM’s advanced electronic infrastructure, ASTM members deliver the test methods, specifications, guides, and practices that support industries and governments worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.astm.org/.

 

5 Tips to remember  when evaluating  software solutions

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, MIL-STD-129, dod compliance, MIL-STD 129R