Mil-Std prescribes how DOD suppliers are to mark shipments to the military. Like many technical specifications it can be difficult to comprehend, particularly for those new to defense contracting. This guide is intended to simplify compliance with the latest revision of the Mil-Std (Revision R, Change Notice 2) and provide some clarification of its complex rules. See examples of Mil-StdR labels.
The first thing to know is that there are three kinds of containers: unit, intermediate and exterior, as shown below. There are rules for marking each container level, and for unpacked items. Note that pallets are not containers, rather something that containers sit on. However, there are special marking rules for their use, as well as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging implications.
Mil-StdR Container Levels (DOD)
Most shipments use a combination of unit packs and exterior containers. In a broad sense, the unit container may be thought of as the consumer packaging, while the exterior container provides protection for shipping and includes address labeling in the form of the Military Shipment Label(MSL). In cases where the exterior container serves as unit pack, only exterior container marking rules apply.
Migration to PDF (2D) Symbols
The use of two-dimensional PDF bar codes for container identification was introduced in Mil-StdP (Notice 4) as a method of handling the demands of Unique Identification (UID) markings, which at up to fifty characters in length are practically impossible to represent with traditional Code39 linear bar codes.
The PDF is a very dense data symbology which can accommodate all of the data previously required to be linearly bar coded (NSN, Contract, CLIN, CAGE and Shipment Number), as well as the maximum number of five serial numbers or UIDs per container. In Notice 4, the 2D symbol mostly supplemented the linear bar codes. Revision R went further, suggesting that the 2D symbol entirely replace all linear bar codes on container labels. For the contractor, this can reduce the number of labels and their complexity. For the DOD, use of the PDF allows the depots to use automated data collection systems, which was virtually impossible with linear barcodes. [more]
Have linear bar codes been entirely replaced by the PDF? Not necessarily. Paragraph a states that the container identification must include PDF symbols and/or linear bar codes. This leaves room for interpretation and some degree of flexibility on the part of the supply chain. It may be advantageous for some data, such as serial numbers, to remain in linear bar code format in addition to the 2D symbol. This would allow automated data collection systems to read the PDF while still supporting those in the field with simple linear barcode scanners.
DD Form A
Use of the DD Form A as a packing list may be required by some contracts, often times for customer direct delivery (See ¶)
In some cases, a DD Form packing list with DD Form bar codes (see ¶) is substituted. The DD and a barcoded DD are supported in Comply/Shipper.
Contractor-originated FMS shipments. The DD Form shall be used as a packing list for contractor-originated FMS shipments in lieu of the DD Form A, which may be used for FMS shipments originated by DoD activities. The DD Form shall be prepared as specified in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), Appendix F, Part 3, F, Preparation Instructions.
DD – The original Military Shipment Label
Use of DD Form
Form DD is the predecessor of the Military Shipment Label (MSL) which is in wide use today. The two are very similar, however, the MSL includes a large block for a two-dimensional PDF symbol. The 2D symbol encodes all of the data that appears on the MSL, even some that does not, such as the contract, order, shipment and contract line item number of the container contents.
The MSL data encoded in the symbol includes data identifiers that allow it to be interpreted by a machine. Linear barcodes found on the MSL and DD have no such identifiers, though software systems are able to understand it from context. Anyway, besides all of the reasons to use the MSL over the DD, Mil-StdR is quite clear on the point.
<blockquote >The use of DD Form , superseded by the MSL, is used under these circumstances: “Attach a DD Form (Military Shipment Label) in lieu of a bar coded MSL for DoD contingency operations where manual entry is the only means available to document DTS shipments.”[Mil-StdR §]
Customer Direct Labeling / Direct Vendor Delivery (DVD)
The shipment term customer direct replaced direct vendor delivery (DVD) in Mil-StdR to better align with DoD distribution definitions.
Customer direct (formerly direct vendor delivery (DVD)). Unless otherwise specified in the contract or solicitation, contractor- or vendor-originated customer direct shipments require identification and address marking with 2D (PDF) and linear (Code 39) bar codes in accordance with this standard. The issue/receipt bar code marking shall either be placed on or printed on labels affixed to either the DD Form /c or the commercial packing list. If placed on the DD Form /c, they should be in blocks 15, 16, 17, etc. In either case, these documents shall be furnished in a packing list envelope as specified in a.[Mil-StdR §]
What’s required to comply with the newest change to the DOD’s packaging identification requirement: MIL-STDR?
Previous container labeling rules, dating back to , began to move towards the trend of merging the packaging and shipping standard indicated in MIL-STD with the individual item identification stipulated by MIL-STD Mandatory 2D PDF barcodes with linear barcodes were required on outer containers.
The newest Military Shipment Label (MLS) requirement, MIL-STDR, was released in It adds an extra piece of required data on the label, a “Transportation Tracking Number” or TTN. IUIDs must still be encoded with PDF symbology on Unit and Intermediate labels, but the method for doing so is different. Now, each unit item must be encoded with an ISO Format 6 envelope. When more than five items are contained within the package, an additional list of barcoded serial numbers and IUIIs are needed.
RFID use, which was once optional, is now the default expectation for pallet and case shipments. Some items need additional labeling, such as munitions and explosives, which must include DoD compliant tags that indicate “hazards of electromagnetic radiation to ordinance” or HERO info.
With the additional information that is now necessary, it’s no wonder that MIL-STDR migrates away from the use of linear barcodes. Linear barcodes lack data identifiers that require the user of a barcode scanner to manually map and ID barcode data into a system. With MIL-STDR, the emphasis is on an increased need to identify serialized items with IUIDs.
The long data strings of linear bar codes no longer crowd labels with this most recent packaging change. Now, a single, 2-dimensional PDF barcode replaces the ten linear bar codes required for shipping parts with IUIDs.
These PDF barcodes take up more space than the 2D Data Matrix barcode, but this symbology allows for automated data systems to read all information about the contents of a shipment. PDF labels eliminate the need of additional human assistance—It is a complete data structure that includes identifiers and permits automated system recognition. This multi-use symbology has applications for RFID-driven materials as well as containers that roll down conveyer belts.
Scanning a shipping label that is compliant with MIL-STD standards enables military staff to quickly import all individual IUIDs for products inside of a container by simply scanning the label on the outside of the container.
What should these marks look like? Where are these labels to be placed on unit packs, intermediate containers, and exterior containers? What is the bare minimum of data to be contained on these shipping labels?
This is where our DoD expertise here at ID Integration comes in. Labels for military shipments must be compliant for entry into the WAWF database, and these new MIL-STDR requirements add additional wrinkles to an already complex set of rules. Our specialists have the knowledge to guide you through the maze of what you’ll need for labeling, scanning, and validation hardware and software. Our BarCodeOS ® enabled scanners add intelligence to the barcode scanning process. They’ll quickly ensure that your PDF barcodes are good with a single auditory beep. Non-compliant syntax issues are indicated with 4 beeps.
We customize our recommendations so that you don’t end up purchasing systems that are unnecessary for compliance. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started: () We’re here to help you make sense of the most recent DoD packaging requirements.
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Military Marking for Shipment and Storage
Purpose. This standard provides the minimum requirements for uniform military marking for shipment and storage. Additional markings may be required by the contract or the cognizant activity.
Applicability. The marking of shipments of supplies, equipment, and ammunition will be as specified in this standard. Marking is "the application of numbers, letters, labels, tags, symbols, or colors to provide identification and to expedite handling during shipment and storage."
The interfiled Revision P with Notices 1 through 4 provides the latest information in one consolidated document. Changes generated by the Notice 4 are listed at the front of the standard. Additionally, the places where the changes occur are highlighted by the use of black lines in the margins.
This is one of our long-time best selling Military Standards, necessary for any organization planning on making a delivery of goods in packages to the DoD.
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FSC Standardization Area PACK (Packing, Packaging, Preservation and Transportability)
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MIL-STD standard is used for maintaining uniformity while marking military equipment and supplies that are transported through ships. This standard has been approved to be used by the United States Department of Defense and all other government agencies. Items must be marked for easy identification before they are transported. The marking helps the military personnel to fill the necessary requisition, when a particular stock goes short of the balance level.
Shipping containers carrying military items can be categorized into 3 types namely Unit Containers, Intermediate Containers and Exterior Containers as per the requirement standard of MIL-STD However, for all type of containers the basic format such as National Stock Number (NSN), item description and part number are mandatory. For Exterior containers certain additional labels like Military Shipment Label(MSL), serial number barcode and Direct-Vendor Delivery label(DVD) are required.
Change Notice 4
Major changes to Mil-Std came with Revision P's Change Notice 4, known as MIL-STDP(4), released on 19 September There is amendment for exterior containers in this new MIL-STDP (4) standard. Now onwards along with the earlier NSN, Contract and CAGE, two new bar codes namely The Contract Line Item (CLIN) and Shipment Numbers (SN) are mandatory for exterior containers. Two-dimensional PDF bar code symbols were introduced to identify UID-marked contents.
Highlights of Change Notice 4
- Serial numbers are assigned in "SER NO" format.
- The description of items should be exactly as per the contract.
- There should be spaces or dashes in NSN.
- Barcode information is also required. For shipments that include UII items, a single two-dimensional barcode (PDF) is required. For shipments that do not include UII items, the barcodes should be (MIL-STD, para ):
- NSN/NATO stock number (without dashes, spaces, prefix or suffix unless other specified in contract), if one is assigned.
- Contract or Order Number.
- CAGE of the Prime Contractor.
- CLIN (when used).
- Contract Shipment Number.
- Serial Number(s).
Revision R to Mil-Std went into effect February 18, A primary focus of the revision was the use of two-dimensional PDF bar code symbols to replace linear bar codes on all container identification labels. The use of PDF symbols on container labels was introduced in Change Notice 4 to facilitate the demands of Unique Identification (UID) markings, which at up to fifty characters in length are too long to be represented with traditional Code39 linear bar codes.
Prior to Revision R, a container label would require up to ten linear bar codes for NSN, Contract, CLIN, CAGE, shipment number and up to five serial numbers. The PDF is a very dense machine-readable symbol that may easily contain the data of those barcodes, plus five full-length IUIDs (Item Unique Identifiers) 
While this change has reduced the number of labels required, there are other benefits to both vendors and the DOD. For the DOD, the use of the PDF allows the depots to read the labels with automated data collection systems, which is virtually impossible with the linear barcodes due to the lack of data identifiers. Defense contractors can benefit from this same capability in their own warehouse systems.
R mil std 129
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