Asset Traceability 101: Do You Know the Difference Between UID, IUID, and UII?

There probably isn’t anyone who doesn’t remember their mother connecting mittens to their jackets using those little clips, so-called “idiot clips,” in their effort to keep kids and their clothing accessories in one place.

Obviously, it would be impractical, not to mention difficult, to use idiot clips on many government properties, but Uncle Sam still likes to keep track of not only the whereabouts of his property, but what condition it is in. For that reason, several asset tracking methods have been developed. These methods are called a UID label. What this and other types of labels mean is explained below.

What Are the Differences Between DoD UID, IUID, and UII?

The Department of Defense uses several different acronyms to keep track of its assets. These include UID, IUID, and UII. These acronyms are very similar, and are often used interchangeably, but they are, in fact, very different. When users of government property understand the differences between these acronyms, they can better understand why these are so important.

The Department of Defense uses what is called a Item Unique Identification Registry that utilizes 2D barcodes to identify government property. These numbers provide a method for the government to acquire, track, store, and distribute assets with a unique identifier.

This system allows the DoD to not only track asset data, but to also improve the accessibility of asset data. The Registry also provides a record of the chain of custody of property throughout the world. The assets that are tracked meet the criteria below.

UID: Unique Identification

A UID is a mark given to assets even before they are entered into the Registry. Each UID is totally unique for each item and keeps its identity separate from any other asset in the Registry. UID is in the process of being phased out to be replaced by IUID, more accurately representing compliance standards for tracking assets.

UII: Unique Item Identifier

The UII is the representation of an asset in the IUID database. This is globally unique in that there is no other asset in the government inventory that matches the unique number anywhere in the world.

When an asset is tracked with the UII, the designation on the label (usually both letters and numbers) is given to an asset to keep it separate from any other asset in transit. This allows the DoD to keep track of any asset as it passes from user to user throughout its history.

Total Asset Visibility

At first, these designations might seem academic, but they are not. They are used in the DoD’s efforts towards “total asset visibility” or its attempt to have instantaneous and accurate information about all its assets.

Total asset visibility allows DoD personnel to view the precise location of any government possession, including where it is currently located, what its current status is, and how it has been moved.

The identifiers, IUID, UID, and UII, were designed to streamline and increase efficiency in the movement of assets along the supply train of the DoD and related agencies. This also minimizes the opportunities for counterfeiting, theft, and other issues.

The identifiers are used to not only keep track of the current whereabouts are of an asset at any time, but it also sheds insight into the condition and history of a DoD property within its logistics system.

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