Thursday, April 23, 2009

Significance of DoD UID Labels of Item for Department of Defense

The basic asset management system of DoD items requires unique identification of each item. With globally unique identification, the items offer an easy maintenance to the department and assist the DoD to keep track of them. The DoD UID labels are the identification marking affixed or etched to items and are marked with DoD data elements. The data to a DoD UID label is entered as high density machine readable 2D data matrix barcodes. The UID data are either etched to the items through direct part marking or permanently affixed to the items as labels.

The Item Unique Identification Program is designed by DoD so as to get implemented across the multinational organizational boundaries. The structure is also inter-operable among the various departments of the organization. Although the DoD UID labels are basically designed to globally and uniquely identify the items across the Department of Defense, the structure of marking and labeling has significantly enhanced the accountability and valuation of the assets.

The department of Defense made the DoD UID label mandatory for the items of the organization after 1st January 2004. The policies of the structure have been constantly changing for improved management inside the organization. The recent policy has made it mandatory that all the government furnished property- tangible personal property or property in the possession of the contractors- should have proper UID marking and registration. DoD also plans to mark all the embedded assets and items with DoD UID Labels within 31 December, 2010.

The criteria that make the items eligible for DoD UID labels are as follows

  • The acquisition cost of the item should be more that $5000
  • The item should be consumable, serially managed, controlled inventory or the any other item that requires a permanent identification mark.
  • The item ought to be an element required by the program manager to have unique identification

As it is mentioned that the DoD UID labels contain machine readable 2D data matrix barcode symbols, there are certain specified elements that combine to construct the total DoD UID. The elements are a unique part number, unique serial number that is assigned to that item, and the identification of the manufacturer or the enterprise. The data is encoded with a specific language and format. The IUID data is decoded with Automatic Identification Technology. There are two construction methods of UID marking-

Construction #1- serialization within enterprise identifier

Construction #2- serialization within the original part number, batch number or the lot number.

The marking procedure of the DoD UID labels should ensure that the markings are permanent for the functional life time of the items. The DoD UID of an item is either affixed to it with as a label or engraved to the item as direct part marking. The labels and nameplates are used where direct part marking is not possible. Whether it is the nameplate or mark, they should be able to withstand adverse environmental conditions and chemical cleaning procedures.

As the DoD UID labels are crucial for submission of UID data to UID registry proper care should be taken to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data.

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