Friday, June 11, 2010

How UID Can Save You Time, Money, and Efficiency

Unique Identification (UID) is a system made mandatory by the government to assist in the efficiency of logistics flow. Dealing with the Department of Defense requires use of the UID standard as detailed in the MIL-STD-130. Several other government agencies make use of the system as well for the benefits it provides.
The UID system can assist in the long-term tracking of various wares and sundries. Simple scans of UID compliant labels can increase flow of goods, lowers the cost of managing them, allows for more strategic purchasing strategies, and has a high return on accuracy for inventory counts.

All goods must include a UID for items over $5000 except in the cases where the item already possesses an unique tracking identifier. This could include a serial number such as on a weapon or a Vehicle Identification Number on a car. If a company wishes to do business with the Department of Defense or other government agencies, they will need to be compliant and use UID for their sundries.

Several different kinds of markings and labels exist that are compliant with UID policy. These can include shipping labels, laser etching and bonding, stenciling, and pinstamping. A variety of hand scanners and printers are available to help manage the flow of UID compliant materials to their respective destinations. Different solutions may work better for different companies depending on the product they are dealing with.

ID Integration, Inc. is a company dedicated to helping businesses find the solutions and equipment that work for them. Dealing with government regulations to stay compliant can be a taxing process. This is why we make it our business to provide you the expertise you need to keep your business with the government within regulation. For over fifteen years we have been providing UID shipping solutions and management to a wide array of contractors. Groups from divisions of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Army and Navy utilize our services and products for their UID compliance needs.

We are a veteran owned company, thus we take great pride in being able to ensure that our soldiers get the equipment they need in a timely fashion. If you are unsure of what equipment you need, we offer consultation to help work out the UID solution that best fits your company’s needs. Navigating government bureaucracy and standards can be difficult. We make it our job to know how to navigate these waters.

Understanding MIL-STD-130 for UID Compliance

The DOD oversees the MIL-STD-130, a standard that explains how to be compliant with UID, which stands for Unique Identification. The military is very serious about controlling and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. All Department of Defense (DOD) assets must be specially marked and meet numerous specifications when designing a contract.

Items like cars that already have an identification number are excluded from this UID marking standard. Included in the standard of marking items is anything “produced, stocked, stored, or issued by the Department of Defense.” There are extensive rules involved in properly marking items that are under the DOD’s control.

UID Specific Marking Specifications

The most important rule to follow is making sure the identification tag, band, label or plastic identification plate is securely attached to the item. The UID marking can be fixed onto the surface of the item if it is visible, easily read, and permanent. The marking must be able to handle environmental turmoil and conditions.

Machine Readable Information or MRI is the preferred method of marking and should be used whenever practicable. If that method of UID is not possible, then the item must be marked in a way that will endure for the life cycle of the item.

For items that are too small to handle proper UID, the most important identification information should be marked. The Enterprise Identifier or EID (organization and activity distinguisher), PIN or Part Identifying Number, LOT or batch number of the marked item should be identified.

If there is not enough space on the item to properly mark the item, the package should identify the unit, following the guidelines of the UID standards.

Industry Specific Protocols

The marking standard has specific requirements for many different industries. Air transport, automotive, consumer electronics, manufactures using GS1 standards, and NASA should adhere to the protocols specific to their industry. Any MRI protocols that are different than the UID standards should request protocol inclusion from the Asset Visibility Division of the DOD.

The MRI explained

There are specifications and minimum requirements in place for how much information the UID mark includes. The EID, serial number, and PIN number as applicable. Duplicate items are often given a Unique Item Identifier or UII, “a numbered prefix given to items in the event of a duplicate part number assignments on behalf of an enterprise so that each individual part can be easily identified.”

Commercial Off the Shelf or COTS items are exempt from UID marking and additional requirements if the item is clearly identifiable with commercial identification information. Obviously, the DOD does not expect parts within an assembly to be identified so long as it is not expected to be repaired and replaced. However, it can be required if included in a specific contract.

Sometimes there are legacy items that need UID markings. The EID that is used to create a UII must be from the organization that ensures uniqueness as opposed to previous markings.

UID Marking Arrangements and Quality

Of course, there are further specifications regarding MRI marking quality. There is specific protocol for linear bar code and data matrix symbols. If the manufacturer is also the Original Design Activity or ODA there are additional protocols to follow. This subject is complicated and you should refer to the experts at ID-Integration for more information.