Creating a permanent unique identification (UID) labels is very important. The Department of Defense (DoD) mandates that all military or government-furnished assets have a UID or IUID label.
However, creating them isn’t always an easy undertaking. There are a lot of rules and regulations you must follow to stay in compliance. As you start working on a UID project, you’ll need to decide if you want to make your own labels, buy from a supplier, or mark directly on the item.
There are pros and cons for each labelling solution, and the best one will depend on your needs and capabilities.
Making Your Own UID Labels
If an asset requires a UID label, you can make it yourself. However, designing labels on-site requires the right technology. It’s important to remember that every label needs to be permanently affixed to the item. The DoD also requires that each label follows specific standards and specifications.
The main advantage of making your own labels is convenience. Once you have a system in place, you’ll be able to create new UID or IUID labels on demand. There’s no waiting period, and you’ll be able to label new items as soon as you acquire them.
However, making labels is costly and involved. You’ll need to invest in expensive equipment to create them. Additionally, you’ll need a facility to house the equipment.
Since the DoD dictates what every label should include, it will be up to you to ensure all labels meet these requirements. There’s more room for error if you decide to make your own.
Buying UID Labels Elsewhere
It’s possible to purchase pre-printed UID and IUID labels from an independent supplier.
This is usually the starting point for most companies. Although buying labels is an investment, it’s much cheaper than purchasing the equipment needed to make the labels yourself.
Sourcing UID labels from a vendor has many advantages. First, the responsibility of following all DoD UID and IUID regulations falls into the supplier’s lap. Since vendors specialize in creating labels, you can trust the end product will be in compliance.
Pricing is also more transparent. The supplier should provide an estimate before starting the project. The costs are often lower and more competitive than making them on-site.
The only real downfall to buying labels from a vendor is delivery. It takes time to create and ship labels, and it’s also up to you to provide the vendor with the specifics of each label.
However, most suppliers should provide a clear time frame as to how long it will take to fulfil the order.
Marking on the Part
Depending on the asset, direct part marking may be the better choice. This type of labelling involves putting all the necessary information, such as the issuing agency code and serial number, directly on the item. Although direct markings will not come off, they may become difficult to read over time.
Once again, it costs a lot to purchase the equipment needed for direct marking. It also makes you fully responsible for compliance. In most instances, an engineering study is also required beforehand to ensure the marking won’t have a negative effect on the item.
Which Method Is Right for Your Business?
When it comes to making UID or IUID labels, there are options to consider. More often than not, most businesses find it’s easier and more cost-efficient to let someone else produce UID labels.
However, deciding whether you want to make labels on-site, outsource to a qualified vendor, or mark directly on the part depends on your capabilities, budget, labour, and schedule.