The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a mandated compliance process for the acquisition and maintaining of equipment that:
- Has an acquisition cost that exceeds $5,000, or
- Is controlled inventory, or
- Is mission essential, or
- Is consumable, or
- Is serially controlled
One part of the mandate is the use of Item Unique Identification, or IUID. All federal contractors must have IUID markings on all government furnished equipment and end item deliverables that are shipped to the military. This is accomplished by using a two-dimensional barcode called a Data Matrix barcode. The barcode encoding requires the exact syntax as defined by MIL-STD 130.
With some contracts, the DoD mandates that a RFID tag must be embedded into Military Shipping Labels (MSLs) at either case-level or pallet-level on specific shipments. This combination of technologies, the barcode IUID and the RFID shipping label, makes it easier to collect the data upon receipt of the shipment, track it, identify it, and send pre-shipment notices called Advanced Ship Notices (ASNs) to the government. It makes the entire process easier and more convenient for all parties involved while adding a level of checks and balances to ensure that all the right items are being shipped and received by all parties.
Who is DCMA?
The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is a support agency for the DoD and works directly with defense suppliers. The agency’s mission is to ensure the integrity of the contracting process and part of that means ensuring that supplies and services are delivered on time, at the projected costs, and meet all performance requirements. This includes scrutinizing the barcode IUID and military shipping labels in place to ensure compliance.
DCMA’s duties begin once the contract is awarded. They monitor the contractor’s performance and management systems to ensure that schedule, performance, and cost are compliant with the terms and conditions of the contract. This guarantees the expected level of quality is met for services, support, supplies, and equipment that are provided to the United States military and meets the agency’s mission of delivering actionable acquisition insight from the factory floor to the front line.
What is DCMA’s Role with IUID and RFID?
Instructions from the DoD regarding DCMA’s role with IUID and RFID were updated September 3, 2016. Under the guidance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)), DCMA develops policies to provide the systematic assessment of a sufficiency for contractor marked items according to MIL-STD 130. It is vital that all government contractors are diligent about putting the barcodes on the correct items and tagging them accurately to meet the level of quality and expectation of the government. It is also essential that contractors associate or submit that data to the appropriate government systems. However, before contractors can effectively meet the standards set forth by the government and DCMA, they must first understand what the agency is looking for and what they expect.
What’s DCMA Looking For?
As DCMA monitors federal contractors, ensuring that they meet their contractual obligations, there are some things that they look for that the contractors would do well to understand. Contractors need to ask the following questions:
- Do we understand IUID and RFID, and their place as automatic identification technologies within the whole DoD eco-system?
- Have we documented a plan to put in place that extends beyond the, “Yes, we are putting barcodes on all of our assets?”
- Are we including how we’re consistently tagging the assets, ensuring that we are not making mistakes such as creating duplicate serial numbers which could cause duplicates in the IUID Registry?
- Are we physically marking the items so that the tags, labels, or marks are properly placed (DCMA will inspect shipments that are received) according to the engineering specification?
- Have the tags been verified to the grade and quality that is expected?
- Are we electronically reporting the IUID data along with the contract information and military shipment data?
- Is all of the data attached to our shipments flowing through iRAPT (Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance, and Property Transfer) as well as the IUID Registry?
These are the things that DCMA will be looking for and contractors need to develop a plan that meets each of these objectives.
What is iRAPT?
It is important to understand what iRAPT (Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance, and Property Transfer) is and how it figures into this equation. It is an electronic receipt, invoicing, and acceptance system that is web-based, secure, and a component of the e-Business Suite. Formerly known as Wide Area Workflow (WAWF), iRAPT handles property transfer for government property and end item deliverables. Contractors are required to submit their contracting data and electronic data into the iRAPT system. The submission of the invoices initiates a government inspection by DCMA. The electronic documents are accepted as part of the DoD’s goal to move to a paperless acquisition process and as long as the contractor submits all of the required information meeting all of the contract obligations, the DCMA will accept it.
DCMA uses iRAPT as a gate through which all property transfers and end item deliverable contracts must pass through. Every contract must meet the requirements in order to be accepted and only contracts that have been accepted by DCMA will be paid.
DCMA’s Role with iRAPT
DCMA’s role as it pertains to the iRAPT system is as a government inspector. This government inspector role is explicitly and carefully defined within the iRAPT system:
- They have the ability to confirm that the goods or services have been inspected.
- They are able to identify the quantities received.
- They have the capability to place a hold on any documents that are sent to them from contractors.
- They can view and check the status of documents sent to them; create receiving reports, correct receiving reports, and void receiving reports.
- They receive the goods coming in and perform inspections.
- They have the ability to recall documents and receive an email notification.
DCMA’s role is to monitor all federal contractors and to make sure that they are fulfilling the obligations in their contract. They use the iRAPT system as a way to clearly define a framework for compliance so that contracts can be inspected and monitored as efficiently as possible.
Learn more about DCMA’s requirements and how IUID and RFID are used to ensure compliance by watching our on-demand webinar.