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RFID Systems for DOD Suppliers

RFID Systems for DOD Suppliers

RFID systems for DOD suppliers use Radio-Frequency Identification technology to support automatic processing of shipments.  This makes data collection at depots much faster and more accurate. The Department of Defense requires that suppliers use RFID technology to submit shipping information to the supply depots electronically. Suppliers have multiple options when selecting a method for entering the required information. Using RFID systems can streamline the process and offer maximum flexibility during the data submission process.

The Mil-Std-129 specification defining military labels does not require that RFID tags be directly incorporated into mil-std labels.  However, using integrated DOD RFID labels allows such labeling systems to automatically collect CLIN, RFID and IUID data for submission to Wide Area Workflow as it prints container labels.   This data may be submitted as part of a WAWF DD250 Receiving Report or as a follow-up RFID Pack Update transaction.  The need to aggregate and handle this data is an important consideration when planning for an outbound RFID system.

What Are RFID Systems?

RFID systems include a number of hardware and software components that defense depots use to track and manage shipments. In its most basic form, an RFID system includes a transponder, a reader and computer hardware and software used to collect information. The transponder shares the location of the object to which it is attached. The reader gathers information from the transponder and the computer processes and shares the information with interested parties. Businesses and the Department of Defense, use the technology to speed and simplify receipt of supplies shipped by contractors.

How Do They Work?

The system requires several components to provide the most flexible business value. In addition, some of the smaller components, such as the tags, come in several configurations. Each configuration works best for a specific application. For example, active RFID tags work well for complex and consolidated shipments. Passive tags work well for goods traveling through the supply chain to DOD depots. Either way, the tag transmits information collected by a reader.

Once the reader collects the information, the data is uploaded to a computer using RFID software. The software may act as a middleman that processes RFID technology information for use with business applications, such as ERP, accounting or inventory control.

What are RFID Systems for DOD Suppliers?

There are two central processes that are required for defense contractors.   The first step is creating RF-tags, which is most simply done by selecting an RFID label format in a Mil-Std-129R labeling solution.  While it is not required to use such formats for DOD compliance, printing RF-enabled military standard labels allows for collection of shipment data at the same time for electronic submission to WAWF.

This is particularly important when printing Mil-Std-129R IUID container labels, so that you can record the UIDs associated with each RFID-tagged container.  This is the most complicated of the RFID information that has to be submitted to Wide Area Workflow (WAWF), the government’s electronic acceptance and invoicing system. It is much easier to submit this data electronically (via EDI) than manually entering it into the WAWF web site.