Since 1998, the DUNS number has been the primary entity identifier used for federal contracting purposes. Starting April 4, 2022, the General Services Administration (GSA) will replace the DUNS Number with a nonproprietary system know as the "Unique Entity Identifier" or UEI, for short.
Do You Still Need A DUNS Number?
The DUNS numbering system is a proprietary system owned by Dun & Bradstreet. It consists of assigning a nine-digit identification code to businesses once its patented process recognizes an organization as a unique entity from other companies listed within its database. The number, however, is just the first part.
By looking up an organization by its DUNS number, you can find valuable information regarding the company including firmographic data, financial health indicators and more. In this way, it can help potential partners and suppliers perform a risk assessment on an organization and ultimately determine whether or not to do business with them. So while the GSA may be moving away from the DUNS number, maintaining one for your business in general is not a bad idea, especially given the emphasis on supply chain risk management we can see the information provided by the DUNS number to be very helpful when establishing business relationships.
How To Set Up A DUNS Number?
Setting up a DUNS number is very easy and free. To get started, first search your business here: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html
Your search will likely return your business information and you can just click on the link that says "Email D-U-N-S® Number," complete the form and your number will be sent shortly via email.
Everything You Need To Know About The New Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)
The transition to the new UEI system stems from the need to store data in a truly open model that can only be achieved through a non-proprietary system. The work to launch this system began in 2014. In 2019, the GSA awarded Ernst & Young a government contract to oversee the transition from the DUNS number to the UEI system. The new UEI process launches April 4, 2022.
While this transition is a big move for the government, the process for government contractors is relatively smooth. In fact, most contractors automatically received a UEI without having to do anything. Regardless, you likely have questions on this transition. We included below the top questions and answers our students and customers have sent us on this change:
If you are registered at SAM.gov, you automatically received a new UEI number. You can find it by logging into your SAM.gov account, navigating to the Entity Management section in your workspace and selecting your Active Entities. Your UEI number will be displayed next to your entity records.
If are not registered in SAM.gov, then you would need to register to automatically be provided a UEI number. Contractors, sub-contractors and sub-awardees all need to register in SAM.gov to gain a UEI number for doing business with the Federal Government. To register with SAM.gov, simply navigate to the site and select the button that says Get Started.
Prior to April 1, 2022, you can register on SAM.gov with your DUNS number to get a UEI. If you do not have a DUNS number to register with, then you need to wait until April 4, 2022 to register directly on SAM.gov without a DUNS number and gain a UEI number in the process. SAM.gov registrations that are in progress as of April 1, 2022 can be resumed on April 4, 2022.
Still have questions? SAM.gov offers an extensive FAQ section for the UEI as well.
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