Integrator Lands A $50,000 UID Installation For A Government Supplier
This integrator projects 150% sales growth in 2008 by installing UID (unique identification)-compliant bar coding solutions for government suppliers.
As a VAR, can you effectively articulate to a potential client the benefits of contracting with you, instead of trying to achieve UID compliance on their own? For A2B Tracking Solutions, continually educating clients on what it means to be UID compliant is the first step. Its second step is providing value-adds in terms of business-to-business data exchange services and compliance-based software upgrades after the initial install. Taking this approach won A2B a recent $50,000 installation with a DoD supplier and is a contributing factor to the VAR's projected 150% sales growth next year.
A2B's client was a DoD supplier of rugged mobile computers. A2B educated the company on the general purpose of UID compliance in the DoD space — to mark all tangible items with a unique identification number. Uniquely identifying all parts enables the management of complex DoD systems (e.g. complex weapons) in supply circulation.
To accommodate the UID mandate, the DoD supplier was forced to add 2-D bar codes on the existing standard plates attached to the mobile computers. The standard plates attached to the mobile computers contain information that ensures accurate tracking of the hardware in the field.
Print UID Labels To Meet Mandate Requirements
Previously, the supplier was not required to incorporate 2-D bar codes into its label design. It outsourced the label and plate design, then applied them to the finished laptops at the UID labeling stations on the end of each manufacturing line. "Most IT departments think they can create a 2-D bar code, but they fail to realize that 2-D does not equal UID," says Peter Collins, president of A2B. Furthermore, with a change in data requirements from UID, the supplier was in need of a new software application to create the label designs imaged onto the plates. A2B evaluated the client's current labeling process and recommended the Zebra 105 as the UID labeling station (printer), the Motorola VS6608 as the 2-D imager, and Seagull Scientific Bartender software as the UID labeling software program.
"The installation focused primarily on the mark and label; however, the supplier also had to meet the reporting requirement of the UID policy," says Collins. To meet the reporting requirement, the DoD supplier must electronically send its UID data elements (e.g. type, enterprise identifier, part number, serial number) to the UID registry maintained by the DLIS (Defense Logistics Information Service). The IUID (item unique identification) Registry is the end repository of all related data from DoD suppliers and contractors. A2B recommended its own VAN (value-added network) service to properly transmit the associated information from the supplier to the IUID Registry. "We developed a VAN service at A2B to capture our customer's UID elements — our VAN then interconnects with the DoD's GEX [global exchange service], which uploads the information into the IUID Registry," explains Collins.
Furthermore, A2B installed its own software, UID Comply!®, at the customer's site to ensure UID compliance and help manage the increase in UIDs and an item's pedigree data. "UID Comply! coupled with the VAN service are additional revenue streams for us. We incorporate the monthly VAN service fees into the annual maintenance contract itself," adds Collins. With the service contract in particular, A2B provides the supplier with UID Comply! software upgrades and unlimited technical support.
As a result of the installation, the DoD supplier has achieved full compliance with UID and MIL STD (military standard) 130 formatting specifics. MIL STD 130 is the specific DoD requirement indicating that each item be marked with a machine-readable 2-D data matrix bar code. What's more is that the MIL STD 130 specification requires all DoD suppliers to accommodate the DoD's transmission standard in regard to B2B data exchange. A2B streamlined the data transmission for the client by including the VAN offering service to electronically uploading the UID elements to the DoD IUID Registry. Now, the end user can focus on its core competency of manufacturing rugged computers as opposed to establishing its own data connection to the IUID Registry to ensure all UID data elements are synchronized. The combination of UID Comply! and the VAN offering from A2B enables this DoD supplier to stay in compliance and continually support the war effort overseas.