Managing UID Introduction

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If your company sells to the US Department of Defense, you might well have to comply with the MIL-STD-130 UID marking rules.

This standard outlines the marking requirement that will ensure your labeling is compatible with the DoD inventory and lifecycle controls. There is a lot more to UID introduction than just producing compliant labels however and here at Winco ID, we have put together a lot of experience helping customers with this transition.

I recently spent a couple of days at a Kaizen event with one of our clients. The focus was to come up with a plan to introduce a UID workflow into the business.

Our client makes large assemblies for DoD, some of which contain as many as 800 embedded UID items. Ensuring that everything is labeled in compliance with the Standards and that all the correct information for shipments is provided to WAWF is a tough task.

One shipment against a contract needing UID had already taken place. Some time ago we had provided the printer, software and verifier needed to produce MIL-STD-130 compliant labels. While carrying out this project it became clear that a consistent UID workflow needed to be structured to ensure future contracts would run smoothly.

The Kaizen event was to run for 5 days. I didn’t attend for the full time; I spent a day at the beginning and one at the end of the week. In order to control the complete UID process, the client had purchased our idWorx! software and this was to be the basis of the workflow. The aim of idWorx! is to be able to set up the complete workflow so that the WAWF and UID Registry submissions can be done automatically.

One key thing with introducing a UID workflow is that many parts of your business will need to be involved. In this case the following groups were represented at the event:

Contracts –
Need to ensure that incoming contracts are correctly formatted with all the data that will be required to automate the process. We had already identified that incoming contracts were not always correct.

Contracts also have to identify which orders contain the UID requirement and arrange for them to be delivered in the EDI850 format that can be automatically imported into idWorx!

Logistics –
The logistics people have to ensure that the correct items are purchased or made. This included identifying the items that need to have UID marking. In this company, the logistics people are also responsible for WAWF and UID Registry submissions.

Engineering –
Have the responsibility of designating the marking method that will be used for each UID item and showing this on the engineering drawings and parts lists. Issue the appropriate information in the event that there is an engineering change to an item (change in rev or current part number) during the build process.

Stock Room –
Print and verify UID labels and ensure they are correctly fixed to the UID items. This will also include purchased items that will be UID labeled on arrival.

Assembly/Test –
Keep track of which UID items are built into assemblies. Ensure that attention is given to any UID item that is removed from an assembly and make sure that the UID for its replacement is captured. Because of all the embedded UIDs it is imperative that the relationships between them are updated in idWorx!

QA –
Make sure that the records of UID for each assembly match what is actually shipped.

IT –
Responsible for the network devices (computers, scanners, label printers, verifiers) used in the UID workflow process as well as the idWorx! installation and the hook up with WAWF and the UID Registry.

Workflow –
A large part of the week was spent in defining the complete UID workflow from quotation to WAWF, also taking into account items that could be returned for warranty or service work.

David with the UID Team

David with the UID Team

Each point in the workflow that needed an interaction with idWorx! was identified and responsibilities were defined. In addition the hardware that would be needed at each interaction point was defined and purchased.

Because the team was put together from all the groups that are stakeholders in the UID concept, the result of the event was a complete integrated workflow for managing UID within the manufacturing environment.

One thing is clear – while UID compliance can be started without having an overall plan, it touches so many parts of your business that getting the whole team together and in agreement is crucial for continuing compliance and success.

How is your business managing UID and all the data that is involved? How can we at Winco ID best help you with this?

Feel free to contact me via the form on the site or call me at 603-598-1553 x237

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