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Product ResourceUnique Identifier UID

Basics of UID


We at William Frick & Company are experts at navigating the complex terrain of unique identifier (UID) codes for military contracts. Veteran-owned Frick has more than 35 years of experience in the field of asset identification, so our experts understand what you need to do to meet UID, MIL STD 130 and MIL-STD-139 requirements.


UID: Unique Identification Code




Regulations for the Department of Defense (DoD) spell out which items delivered to them under contract have to be labeled with a Unique Identification (UID) code. DoD uses this information to manage logistics, replace and repair assets, and for financial accountability.

Most of the items that DoD obtains must adhere to a specific five-step process from cradle to grave:

1. Contract Requirement: DoD contracts indicate which equipment, property, plants, operating materials and supplies need to be marked with a UID code.

2. Create/Generate: Industry suppliers and manufacturers throughout the supply chain assign and apply UID codes to ensure the uniqueness of their products. These UID markings must be machine readable.

3. Capture: DoD establishes the “birth” record of the asset by capturing the component data elements to create the UID in the Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) /Automated Information System (AIS).

4. Use: Functional stakeholders use UID as a primary or alternate key in the AIS to access or update item information based on its UID.

5. Disposal: DoD / GSA records the “termination” of the UID at the time of the item’s disposal.


   Rules Governing UID
  • Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) contains the UID rules used by DoD and its suppliers
  • DFARS Clause 252.211-7003 specifies rules for item identification and valuation
  • DoD contracting offices are required to include the clause in all contract solicitations


What Must be Marked?


According to DFARS Clause 252.211-7003 Item Identification and Valuation (JUN 2005), the following items require UID markings:
  • Delivered items in which the Federal government’s unit acquisition cost is ,000 or more
  • Items in which the Federal government’s unit acquisition cost is less than ,000 when classified as serially managed, mission essential or controlled inventory
  • Items for which the Federal government’s unit acquisition cost is less than ,000 when the requiring activity determines that permanent identification is required
Regardless of value, the following items need a UID mark:
  • Any DoD serially managed sub-assembly, component, or part that is embedded within a delivered item
  • Any parent item that contains the embedded subassembly, component or part. According to DFARS, “The parent item is the item assembly, intermediate component or subassembly with an embedded item that has a UII or DoD unique identification equivalent.”

Ultimately, it is the office issuing the contract that is responsible for listing the items which require identification. For more information on DFARS clauses, UID marking and what items need unique identification, please refer to DFARS Clause 252.211-7003.


What are the Benefits of UID?


The use of machine-readable marks provides significant benefits to DoD. These marks improve data quality. They make data capture faster and more precise. They ensure integration and interoperability across organizational boundaries. They facilitate item tracking in DoD’s business systems. Plus they provide reliable and accurate data for program management, engineering and accounting purposes.


What Does the Mark Look Like?


Items must be marked with machine-readable information (MRI). The minimum requirement for DoD is the Data Matrix ECC200 symbol per ISO 16022. The data matrix code needs to use syntax of ISO/IEC 15434 and semantics of ISO/IEC 15418 or ATA Common Support Data Dictionary (CSDD). The ensuing code can then be translated into a 2D machine-readable matrix code, which is applied to the hardware via label, etching or other means.
There are several advantages to using a 2D data matrix symbol:
  • Can contain 100 times the data as the same space in a barcode
  • Can be read omni-directionally
  • Can be damaged but will return accurate data
  • Can be scaled up or down to fit within available marking space

Formatting UID Data


Formatting UID Data

How Should Items Be Marked?


The UID is constructed from its discrete component data elements:
UID Construct 1 UID Construct 2
If the serial number is unique within the enterprise identifier If the serial number is not unique within the enterprise identifier but is unique within the part number


The Enterprise Identifier (EID) portion of the UID is determined by the person who assigns the serial number to the item:


Enterprise Identifier
Original Part Number
Serial Number
(EID) = 15090
(PN) = 1234567-1
(SN) = 10001


Data Submission
The standard data capture mechanism for transmitting UID data from contractors to DoD is Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF). It is an electronic application designed to reduce paperwork at DoD.
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Unique Identifier UID

User Wiki

RFID Tags Key to Our Asset Management, February 21 2011

By: Tracy

We use SmartMark RFID tags as asset tagging labels for the high value equipment in our warehouse and on our factory floor. William Frick's experts were extremely knowledgeable about RFID and advised us on the right tags to use for our specific needs.

We have found that our RFID asset management system is especially useful for tracking portable tools within our facility, as well as for keeping them from mysteriously walking out the front gate. We also use RFID labels in our inventory and shipping systems, and have found them more versatile than our old barcode system.

New to Military Contracts and UID Codes, February 21 2011

By: Frank

We recently won a contract supplying goods to the military and quickly realized the need for understanding all the complexities of meeting DoD's specifications. The experts at William Frick helped us set up our unique identifier codes ??“ UID ??“ system so we could keep our products in compliance and expand on the range of contracts we were willing to bid on.

Our experiences dealing with military contracts have actually made all of our operations more efficient. We pay a lot more attention now to using custom labels and nameplates on our products. We have started using RFID tags as asset tagging labels so that all of our manufacturing, inventory management, and shipping operations can be integrated into a single computer-monitored tracking and accounting system.

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