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MAC Resource: DoD Contractors: Make Sure You Understand Sept 2007 UID Requirements

By Mac Amani, Centrategy, LLC

As of September 2007, all DOD contractors will be required to apply Unique ID markings for all government property in possession of contractors. As described in the following article, this is yet another step in the DOD Unique Identification process implementation schedule.  All DOD contractors should be aware of this schedule and should be planning for their own responsibilities in its implementation.
– Jack Healy, Director, MassMEP

UID, or Unique Identification, is a marking standard for unique, lifetime identification of parts and components. The Department of Defense requires that qualifying items be marked per UID standards. This standard's timeline covers gradual compliance with milestones starting in 2005 and continuing through 2010.

UID automates identification of items in possession of DoD and its contractors. Basically, certain products shipped to the DoD or in possession of DoD or its contractors must be marked with barcode and/or human readable information representing unique item identification consisting of data elements such as enterprise number, serial number, or part number. Additionally, the identification information must be registered in the IUID registry. Below is a summary look at UID. You can refer to MIL-STD-130M standard for details.

Items That Need UID Marking
All solicitations, contracts, or orders for tangible items (with certain exceptions) delivered to the Government will require unique item identification or a DoD recognized unique identification equivalent, if:

  • Item unit acquisition cost is over $5000
  • Item is serially managed
  • Item is considered mission essential
  • Item is controlled inventory
  • Item is a consumable or material where permanent identification is necessary

UID marking of the above qualifying items applies to new items shipped to the DoD as well as items that are already in possession of DoD or its contractors. Specifically, the qualifying items above that fall under any of the following categories require UID marking:

  • End item deliverables
  • Government furnished property (GPF) in possession of contactors (PIPC)
  • Legacy equipment

UID Marking Activities
UID compliance consists of several activities to ensure that items are correctly marked, identified, and accounted for. These activities, as listed below, apply to new procurement of end item deliverables, government furnished property (GPF), and Government property in possession of contractors (PIPC).

  1. Marking. This step requires that a unique item identifier is assigned to the item and a marking, bearing the identification in a Data Matrix barcode, is made on the item or applied to the item. If space is available on the item, additional identification information in the form of one-dimensional barcodes and human readable markings will also be required. Depending on the part being marked, the marking can be made directly on the part with Direct Parts Marking (DPM) technologies such as ink-jet or laser etch, or applied via a pre-printed adhesive-backed polyester label or metal tag.
  2. Verification. The UID standard specifies guidelines for text and barcode in terms of size, readability, and durability.
  3. Validation.  The content of the barcode(s), i.e., the identification elements, need to conform to the format specified in the UID standard. The format specification covers such topics as the order of the various parts of the identifier information as well as allowable prefixes.
  4. Receiving. Contractors, when taking possession of government property, will need to register those items into the IUID registry. The registration can be automated by using scanners to read the item's UID barcode and transmitting the collected identification to the IUID registry. This step will satisfy DoD's requirement that all items be tracked to a specific location by their UID mark.
  5. Registration. UID data must be electronically submitted to the DoD's IUID registry in a prescribed format.

Bearing in mind that not all steps outlined above apply to all contractors, DoD contractors have several choices for UID compliance depending on their particular activities. These choices include outsourcing part or all of their UID services or purchasing and installing UID systems in house. 

September 2007 Deadline
Implementation of the UID standard began in a phased approach in 2005. One of the milestones of UID is fast approaching. By September 30, 2007, all Government PIPC (property in possession of contractors) qualifying items, as explained above, are required to be registered in the IUID registry. The IUID registry collects unique item identification of tangible items owned by DoD and distributes the identification and related information to DoD users. The IUID registry is operated by Defense Logistics Information Services.

Steps to UID Compliance
There are a few easy, yet vital, steps to follow when it comes to UID compliance. These steps include:

  1. Find out if items you ship to DoD require marking and registry.
  2. Find out if Government GFP (Government furnished property) or PIPC (property in possession of contractors) items in your possession require marking and/or registry.
  3. Work with your UID solutions provider to determine proper marking method.
  4. Evaluate your UID needs and determine if you should use outside UID services or purchase and install your own UID system.

UID is a new system for individual item identification throughout the DoD supply chain and replaces the current paper-based system of reporting (such as DD form 1662). UID is meant to streamline government's asset procurement and management activities such as purchasing, accounting, and inventory, and therefore is expected to provide a much higher level of visibility into government owned assets and significantly improve DoD's logistics, contracting, and financial transactions capabilities. These improvements are also expected to benefit DoD contractors by automating identification, registry, and tracking activities.

Mac Amani is president of Centrategy and can be reached at mamani@centrategy.com or (401) 234-1134. With over 20 years of experience in automatic identification technologies, Centrategy provides barcode and RFID systems and solutions for automation and compliance for factory floors, warehousing, inventory, and identification including RFID and UID marking systems and services.

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