Plan HOW to Proceed with UID Compliance

We previously published an article, “Plan WHAT To Do for UID Compliance,” which discussed the questions related to WHAT you have to do to comply with the UID requirements. Once you understand and have some consensus on WHAT you have to do, you can now turn your attention to planning HOW you will comply.

We will talk about several of these questions in more detail in upcoming blog articles, or jump to the bottom for a link to read the entire text now.

HOW will you comply?

Here are some questions to consider –

How will I mark my part? What type of part mark is appropriate for my parts?

The part mark is intended to remain on the part for the life of the part. Armored personnel carriers and integrated circuit cards in a computer server are exposed to very different environmental conditions, which require very different part marks (which vary widely in cost to mark).

What will my part mark look like?

You have to factor in the part’s physical properties (composition, expected environmental conditions, and part size) and match that up against the marking requirements. Can you apply the government-preferred markings or do you need to seek an exception that allows you to apply an alternative mark?

What data will I include in the UID?

You do have some flexibility.

If you use Type 1 UIDs you have a greater need for a “UID Data Management System” which keeps track of which UID goes with which part and serial number. These systems cost tens of thousands of dollars to start, require on-site system installers and trainers, and have hefty annual fees.

Type 2 UIDs are pretty simple because they use part numbers, which you already manage, and serial numbers, which you also probably already manage.  Our advise is for most suppliers to use Type 2 unless you find some deal-breaker that forces you to go with Type 1.

How will I Register the UID data?

Do you have a requirement to register the UID data through Wide Area Workflow or will you register directly with the UID Registry? Or do you have enough embedded UIDs that you have to do both?

How will I mark the UID data on the packaging and shipping containers?

Package labels applied to containers of UID parts must have the UID barcoded on the package label, using a 2-dimensional barcode. This applies to Unit Pack, Intermediate, and Exterior Containers. No, not the same 2-dimensional barcode that is on the part, but a different format (called symbology). The reason they are different barcode formats is kind of technical, but just know that they are different. A single barcode on the box can contain data for multiple UID parts, but if they won’t all fit then you must print the UID data on a sheet, sort of like the serial number sheet that we’ve done for years, and put it in the box.

How will you print the compliant barcode labels?

Do I have an RFID requirement? How will I keep track of the correlation between UID and RFID data? How will I submit that correlated data to Wide Area Workflow?

RFID multiplies the complexity of UID compliance.

For Contracts with both UID and RFID requirements, UID-marked parts are placed into RFID-marked exterior containers. And you have to keep track of which specific UID is in which specific RFID. And you can have multiple UIDs in an RFID, multiple RFIDs for a single UID, and parts of multiple UIDs in multiple RFIDs. And then there are RFID pallets on which you put RFID exterior containers in which you put UID parts. It can get pretty complicated.  Learn more about correlating UID and RFID data for WAWF.

Once you get your shipment marked, packaged, labeled and otherwise ready for shipment, you have to tell WAWF all about your shipment hierarchy. You need a plan to correlate all that data easily and submit it in a batch transaction without typing all those long IDs.

Next Steps

Once again, write down all your plans. Add the HOW details to the WHAT details that you previously circulated (from our earlier article). Pass it around again. You’re just talking at
this point. No money has been spent and no processes have been changed. No shipments rejected or nations ruined. Changes in your plan at this point are relatively cheap, easy, and painless.


Key Questions about UID  Planning

This article is an excerpt from the DOD Suppliers Guide
Ten Key Questions about your UID Plan.