There is value in Item Unique Identification (IUID) beyond simple compliance with Mil-Std-130. Utilizing UID Labels, organizations can improve asset tracking of items, comply with International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requirements, and easily manage check-in/check-out procedures.
A U.S. Army base recently discovered its current Arms Room inventory procedures and processes were slow, inefficient, inaccurate, and not standardized. Using the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Item Unique Identification (IUID) and Mil-Std-130 mandate as a foundation, the base streamlined and improved Arms Room processes, saving time and money.
The base’s Arms Room accounts for and verifies arms room equipment during receipt, storage, issue and inventory processes. The current Army policy regulating the use of machine readable markings to account for and verify arms room equipment was inconsistent.
For example, arms were subjected to a monthly physical inventory, which was done based on serial number. Items with serial numbers, Army registration numbers, and ammunition lot and serial numbers were verified against a property book or hand receipt. Yet, the use of IUID was the Army’s preferred method for accountability and all inventories were expected to be performed using a Unique Item Identifier (UII), with the serial number as an alternative method for identification. In addition, all receipt, storage, inventory, issue, and shipment functions were encouraged to utilize available Automatic Identification Technologies such as 2D barcodes.
Realizing they needed a more defined method of asset tracking within the Arms Room, this U.S. Army base made several recommendations.
First, they allowed the use of approved UII markings and materials to track arms maintenance and weapon rack locations. They also allowed use of non-damaging, non-tamperable materials and markings, such as data matrix labels, for daily arms room equipment accountability purposes. These markings were in compliance with Mil-Std-130.
Second, they relied on digital software to collect data from the scanned UID labels. This reduced error and created an automated inventory system.
Utilizing the DOD’s UID mandate for unique item identification marks, an automated data capture process to eliminate transposition errors, and an arms room inventory software program, the Army was able to more accurately control and manage inventory and assets, increase accountability, reduce risk, and decrease the effort and time associated with inventory procedures.
Using UID labels, the Army base was also able to establish a fully automated system that includes database management and standardized procedures. Overall, this Army base estimates a cost savings of approximately $20,000 within five years of creating a digital Arms Room. All of these benefits were achieved by making use of DoD mandated IUID mil-std-130 markings on equipment.