I don’t mean to be overly simplistic but these questions frame the challenges that we see every day as the US military rolls out their UID policy to track valuable DoD assets and equipment around the world. Every day we receive phone calls or meet people at conferences and they ask the same question: What items do I need to mark? Of course, they typically are asking what the DoD’s policy dictates, but I believe that definition is far too narrow as it only begins the analysis of what in your custody or area of responsibility MUST be marked.
In other words, DoD’s UID policy might dictate that the manufacturer of an engine block merely put a globally unique UID on the parent item since it is valued at $5000 or more. But there are innumerable benefits to be gained from marking component items of that engine block as well. Ask maintenance workers and managers the same question, and they’ll tell you that they want visibility to see how many times specific engine components come back in for maintenance repair and overhaul. These components are often not over the $5,000 threshold in value, however the downstream benefits of tracking their performance history may very well provide the reliability that saves lives in theater.