The DoD mandate for uniquely identifying items generates many questions. Answers to the general questions – such as: What is UID? What is iRAPT (WAWF)? What is the DoD UID Registry? – are best answered by the UID Program Office directly. These questions and answers and others can be found at http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/pdi/uid.
Our list of frequently asked questions comes directly from our contact with those required to implement UID. We think the answers may further guide you in moving forward with your UID project and to meet our promise of making your compliance easier and less costly.
1. UID VS. IUID?
UID refers to the Government Program of Uniquely Identifying items. IUID refers to the specific unique identifier for an item – this is called the Item Unique Identifier, or IUID for short. The IUID is the actual number that identifies your item.
2. What items do I need to mark?
This is definitely a FAQ. The rules for what should be marked are in the UID Handbook: DoD Guide to Uniquely Identifying Items, Version 2.5 (PDF) (September 15, 2012).
However, the short answer is that your contract should identify what items are to be marked. A DFARS clause (252.211-7003) will be inserted into the contract to indicate that you need to mark your item according to the rules of MIL-STD-130. The contract should enumerate all the subcomponents that the Program Manager would like marked as well. Some contract managers have been missing this requirement so beware that UID could be implemented as an add on to your contract. All contracts for tangible items were to include this clause after January 1, 2004. There is currently a significant effort to train contract managers to include the clause for all new acquisitions.
3. How should I mark the item? Is it in MIL-STD-130?
How you mark the item is your engineering decision. MIL-STD-130 provides the rules for what is on the mark and some support information but is not intended to tell you how to mark. That decision depends on the life of the marked item, its operating environment, the material it is made of and a number of other issues.
What the Military Standard does say is that the item marking should last the life of the part and preferably through any refurbishment or rebuild process.
4. Should I use Construct 1 or 2 in formatting my data?
Sometimes your customer will indicate what they require. If not, then it will depend on the uniqueness of your serial number. Is it unique within your organization, or only unique within a part number? If your situation is the former – you can use construct 1. If the latter, you may have to use construct 2.
Many more people can use construct 1 than they think possible. Remember, the criteria/goal is to uniquely mark each item. Including a part number as part of the serial number or even creating a whole new serial number sequence can allow companies to use construct 1. If you employ strategies like these sometimes you can more easily manage your IUIDs and create them in advance.
5. What is this validation/verification requirement I’ve heard about?
UID markings/labels/data plates must meet the conditions set forth in MIL-STD-130. Those conditions include how the data is formatted, what the minimum marking requirements are, and what the quality of the data matrix MRI code must be. Camcode provides certification that the UID labels we make meet these conditions, meaning the formatting is correct (validation) and the data matrix code quality is right (verification).
6. When do I register the IUID for the items I’m providing?
First determine if you have to register. Only those companies selling directly to the DoD – those who are invoicing the DoD -are responsible to register the items. If you are a sub-supplier to a company with a Government contract, you do not have to, nor should you register the IUIDs.
If you are the contract holder, then registration of IUIDs occurs at the time of invoicing. Registration of IUIDs can be accomplished directly to the registry, through Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance and Property Transfer (iRAPT), formerly known as Wide Area Workflow (WAWF), or by using 3rd party software (see our Industry Partners page). Specifics about the process can be found at that DoD site we mentioned at the beginning.
7. What do I need to make my own labels?
The proper first question is should I make my own labels? It is almost always less expensive to have a professional label manufacturer like Camcode make what you need. In addition, you transfer the need to know and understanding of every detail of UID to us.
This is a subject we know perfectly since Horizons Incorporated’s ISG Division is a leading supplier of in-plant label manufacturing technology. We see both sides of the equation every day. If you do decide it is prudent to make labels on-site, our advice is to make sure you choose the material for your labels and data plates before you choose the marking technology. Since Camcode is a leading supplier of blank labels for on-site marking, we can advise on this topic as well.
8. Does it matter who I work with to meet my UID requirement?
Oh yeah! Give us a call!