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Equipment labeling effort nearly finished at Randolph

By Robert Goetz | 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs | Sept. 7, 2010

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A marking team is in the final days of labeling more than 8,000 pieces of equipment at Randolph as part of a Department of Defense-mandated initiative that will clearly identify assets throughout the armed services, improving inventory and tracking capabilities.

Randolph is the first Air Education and Training Command base to take part in the process, which is called Item Unique Identification marking. Lackland Air Force Base is one of the AETC bases that will participate in the next increment of asset marking.

Maj. Gen. James Whitmore, AETC vice commander, said the Air Force is "implementing IUID marking and registration to meet the DoD requirement and to prepare for the stand-up of the Expeditionary Combat Support System," an initiative to transform the way the Air Force performs its logistics business.

"IUID marking provides global unique identification of all marked assets," General Whitmore said in a May 17 memorandum. "It also provides an opportunity for data cleansing and will improve asset inventory and tracking capabilities within ECSS."

James Williams, 902nd Logistics Readiness Squadron director, said an item unique identifier "is only assigned to a single item and is never reused."

"Once assigned to an item, the IUID is never changed even if the item is modified or re-engineered," he said. "The IUID is intended to be a permanent mark and cannot be changed over the life of the item."

The marking effort, which is currently under contract to Rhode Island-based A2B Tracking Solutions Inc., involves affixing industrial-grade acrylic labels of various sizes and styles and materials to a variety of assets, from government vehicles and maintenance, fire department, security forces and flightline equipment to weapons and boats.

"It's a huge variety of different types of equipment," said Joan Orosco, 902nd LRS Equipment Accountability Element manager. "They're all part of the Air Force Equipment Management System."

She said most of the equipment is located at Randolph, but the marking effort also includes assets at Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis as well as Randolph's Canyon Lake Recreation Center, Hondo Auxiliary Field and Seguin Auxiliary Field.

The marking effort involves downloading equipment information from AFEMS onto a laptop computer for transfer to a hand-held terminal. The hand-held scans each label, associating that piece of equipment with its unique data, which is called the unique item identifier, or UII. Marking team members apply the IUID labels, enter the equipment data, load the hand-helds and scan the IUID data to the item. Imbedded information for each item includes the stock number; a description of the item; the CAGE code, which identifies the manufacturer; the part number; and the serial number.

Doris Nielson, A2B site manager, said the marking team must follow a strict process in applying the IUID labels.

"It's dictated where we place the label," she said. "We also have to clean the surface of the item with an alcohol swab, dry it off and firmly attach the label."

Both Ms. Orosco and Ms. Nielson said the IUID system will enhance the management of equipment.

"It will make it simpler for assets to be identified," Ms. Orosco said. "When people conduct inventories, they should go faster and easier."

Ms. Nielson said the "accountability factor will be huge."

General Whitmore said he expects long-term benefits to include "more accurate inventory control, increased inventory automation, a reduced burden on equipment custodians, lower life-cycle management costs and improved operational readiness."

Mr. Williams said the program will "save taxpayer dollars by increasing productivity and efficiency while providing improved item visibility for the war fighter for operational planning."

He commended everyone involved in the Randolph marking effort, from the Headquarters AETC Command Equipment Management Office to unit equipment custodians, for its "successful implementation."

"This was a tremendous undertaking by everyone involved and I would like to recognize Ms. Orosco, Randolph IUID team lead, and her staff for their tireless leadership in this effort," Mr. Williams said.