UID – Too Much is as Bad as Too Little

Not understanding your UID requirements can be painful. Consider a couple of
worst case scenarios which we’ve actually seen, and which illustrate the
importance of planning –

They Did Nothing

We know of more than one supplier who had UID requirements on their contract
but did nothing to comply with the requirements. They didn’t know what to do, so
they did nothing. Their inspector/acceptor didn’t understand the requirements
either, so they also did nothing.

“We’ve always done it this way and we’ve never had a problem” was the call of
the day.

Eventually the oversight of the supplier caught up with them. After months or
in one case 2 years, someone on the government side of the street realized that
the requirements were not being met. But by then, dozens, hundreds, even
thousands of systems or parts were in the field that should have been marked and
registered, but were not.

Shipments were frozen, payments were withheld, and discussions started about
how the supplier would find, mark, and register all those deployed systems and
parts. Supplier ratings were affected. The ability to win future business was
impacted. Individual professional responsibility was brought into light.

Failing to comply with a customer requirement is risky. Failing to comply
with a customer requirement that dictates that you physically touch the products
that you are selling, as well as organize and submit a complex set of data, is
just foolhardy.

They Did Too Much

At the opposite end of the spectrum from suppliers who do too little to
comply, we’ve seen suppliers do too much to comply.

The supplier didn’t make the effort to get educated. As a for-profit
enterprise they naturally wanted to do as little to comply as possible. The
supplier assumed that compliance requirements were less than they actually

Their inspector/acceptor also didn’t get educated. Since the government
inspector/acceptor’s job is to make sure contractual requirements are met, they
wanted to make certain that the supplier did all perceived required tasks to
comply. The inspector/acceptor assumed that the compliance requirements were
greater than they actually were.

Parts were marked that didn’t need to be marked. Equipment and supplies were
bought that didn’t need to be bought. Processes were needlessly changed. The
supplier ended up doing more, sometimes much more, than they would have had to
do, because they didn’t know the facts.

“Had the supplier laid out a plan that showed an understanding of the requirements as
well as methods and processes to meet the requirements, in the end they would
have had to do less to comply, saving them money and effort.”

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