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    Manufacturers who supply products to the defense industry must remain compliant with state, federal, and international regulations. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) manages a large portion of the process for awarding government supply contracts and tracking military assets. Included in the DoD asset management resources is the Item Unique Identification (IUID) program that includes a standardized database for tracking all high-value and sensitive military assets.

    To remain competitive, military goods manufacturers must develop internal processes that support the military’s programs. In addition to designing compliant asset tags and labels and creating quality products, these companies must also establish systems that can maintain a high level of traceability. In this post, we’ll introduce several compliance resources that are helpful to reference for a greater understanding of DoD requirements and procedures.

    1. Inventory Management Resources

    Shaking hands in a manufacturing facility

    Inventory management software is an important component of an effective defense manufacturing operation. These programs create an automated and reliable system for maintaining important data and preparing for audits and other compliance needs. You can take a look at our list of the 25 best inventory management software programs for defense product manufacturers to learn more about the offerings in the market and how they compare.

    We also have a guide to inventory management for defense product manufacturers that shares detailed information for developing a strong inventory program. Many of the software programs and best practices we share are directly relevant to the DoD’s management of military inventory. Understanding these guidelines can help you create a stronger relationship with military entities and other supply chain partners.

    2. Specification Resources

    There are many great resources available for manufacturers to help navigate the complex network of specifications that govern the defense industry. One example is the compliance website EverySpec, which maintains a collection of over 55,000 specifications. Their database covers documentation from major entities such as NASA, DoD, and DOE. A deep understanding of relevant specifications is vital to running a compliant operation and these documents are of critical importance for products that are sold to the U.S. military.

    • MIL-STD-129. Department of Defense Standard Practice: Military Marking For Shipment and Storage. This standard defines the use of standardized markings to identify and track military assets during shipment and storage. Manufacturers who supply products for military use must comply with many of these requirements and any additional criteria established through a contract. The latest version of this specification can be found on the EverySpec website.
    • MIL-STD-130. Military Standard: Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property. The MIL-STD-130 specification is the primary document that defines the criteria for marking products that are used in military applications, including the IUID program. This is a useful resource for understanding the requirements for marking design, content, and placement. In addition to the EverySpec website, you can also consult our own Guide to MIL-STD-130 for more details about label design criteria.
    • MIL-STD-810. Department of Defense Test Method Standard: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests. This specification focuses on understanding the environmental factors that can impact the useful life of inventory and assets. As manufacturers, this information can help inform the design, evaluation, and testing needs for your products and any consumable or spare parts you will supply.
    • FARS AND DFARS Regulations. The Federal Acquisitions Regulation (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisitions Regulation (DFAR) are sets of regulations that govern the contracts used by the U.S. military and civilian agencies. The DFAR database is specific to DoD contracts includes 53 parts that define interactions with contractors. One example from this database is DFARS 252.211-70003, Item Unique Identification and Valuation, which explains how unique identification (UID) is defined in defense supplier contracts.

    3. IUID Program Resources

    Conducting a compliance audit in a manufacturing facility

    The Acquisition and Sustainment Department of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense has some great resources for manufacturers and other defense contractors. This page from the Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC) site compiles useful information related to the Item Unique Identification program. In addition to definitions of common terms, this page also links to specific DoD instructions, directives, and publications.

    Additional resources provided by the DoD are the Department of Defense Procurement Toolbox and the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment (PIEE) which gives direct access to the official IUID registry. Military supply manufacturers who ship products outside the U.S. may also need to review North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) information to confirm compliance with international standards and practices.

    4. Label Graphic Resources

    When designing nameplates and labels for your products, it may also be helpful to consult with the National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers (GPI) Industry Standards and Practices Manual. This information is useful for understanding how to select the best materials of construction for your product tags. Defense products must be able to withstand harsh environments and use in a variety of different situations. Selecting suitable materials for your labels and tags is another important step toward operating a compliant business.

    Metalphoto® anodized aluminum is identified by the National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers (GPI) Industry Standards and Practices Manual as the most durable printed aluminum substrate available due to its ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and outdoor exposure. Metalphoto also received the highest score among IUID (Item Unique Identification) label materials in a study conducted by the U.S. Navy. With a strong anodized aluminum substrate, Metalphoto is extremely durable, making it one of the best materials to use for asset tags and barcode labels that will be exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

    Defense manufacturers must comply with dozens of different regulations that define the construction, use, and transportation of U.S. military assets. As a military supplier, it is also beneficial to integrate systems in a way that makes it easy for your team to monitor and transfer assets to military entities. We hope these resources are helpful to you as you secure new military contracts and expand your business.

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