Tuesday, May 26, 2009

IUID: The Enhanced Item Traceability Program

The IUID program has introduced the marking of unique identification for the personal property of the government for better asset management and item tracking procedure.

The Unique identification (UID) program was launched by the Department of Defense in 2003 to simplify the item tracking process under the DoD. The UID program is associated with tracking, personal property, Government property and property under the possession of the contractors. IUID or the item unique identification program is a subset of UID and it aims at the personal property of the DoD. The prime goal of the IUID is to enhance the item management and tracking of the delivered items to the DoD by marking unique item identifier.

The IUID program ensures that the items are marked with globally unique identification. The UII, according to DoD, is “identifies an item with a set of data that is globally unique and unambiguous.” All the goods delivered to the DoD should be marked with UII by the contractors. The UII is a set of data that is encoded into 2D data matrix barcode symbols. The MIL-STD-130 has provided the instructions for the data and the manufacture of UID nameplates. The contractors are required to follow the instructions and construct the UID nameplates so that they meet the standard and the requirements.

IUID marking methodology is a business critical operation and the DoD contractors need to know it’s basic so as to get their UID marked items accepted by the UID Registry. In fact, the suppliers should understand the IUID marking program that enhances item traceability, asset visibility, and lifecycle item management and accountability. If the service provider of UII marking understands the capabilities of different marking methods, it is not too difficult or expensive to achieve IUID program compliance. The DoD only requires a permanent marking solution to the items with the help of the contractors.

2D Data Matrix Marking

While developing the IUID marking system, the most important consideration is to determine the most effective way of marking the items and applying the 2D data matrix symbols. The UII data are expressed in a 2D data matrix barcode symbols. The UID marking standard has specified the exact size and font type of the symbols and the supply should ensure that the symbols are in accordance with the standard before making it to UID Registry. Many contractors outsource the IUID marking to the subcontractors. However, it is the responsibility of the contractors to check the quality of marking.

The IUID marking program allows two important methods of marking- Direct part marking and application of UID labels.

Direct Part Marking

The direct part marking allows etching the symbols directly to the items or parts. However, the process is allowed considering the structural tolerance and composition of the item. The advantage of the marking is that it is a durable and one step process. However, the downside is if the data is entered incorrectly the item is wasted.

UID Labels

This is the ultimate IUID marking solution of the items under the DoD. They are constructed with metallic and non-metallic materials and affixed to the items with fasteners such as rivets and screws.

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