Magazine article Security Management

Property Movement Made Easy

Magazine article Security Management

Property Movement Made Easy

Article excerpt

THREE BASIC SCENARIOS ARISE IN THE property movement arena that security managers must address-employees taking equipment home at the end of the work day, employees moving inventory as part of their job, and employees moving the same piece of equipment in conjunction with their job duties (test equipment, for example).

Imagine the nightmare of coordinating a property movement program for a company with 9,000 employees housed in 23 buildings spread out over 1,100 acres. Top that by having employees transport inventory parts from building to building and encouraging the majority of them to take their company computers home at night.

Compaq Computer Corporation was faced with just that scenario. The traditional forms of property movement had become so cumbersome and time-consuming that they warranted a thorough review.

There had to be a better, simpler way. Another company had to have experienced similar problems and worked out the glitches. So, a security team, composed of professionals from the electronics and oil and gas fields, went on the road to review property movement systems of other major corporations and learned, much to its dismay, nothing better was on the market.

At that time, Compaq was moving property using a two-pronged approach-property movement passes and sign-out logs. These processes operated successfully when the company was smaller, but as the company grew it became impossible to collate and verify transactions. More than 60 security officer posts were accounting for as many as 1,000 transactions a day. An employee could sign out a piece of property, never bring it back, and no one would be the wiser. The process of using paper had to go. Security tracking of property movement had to move into the computer age.

Compaq had just installed an integrated local area network (LAN). This system ties all company workstations together at the touch of a key. Most of the items to protect were labeled with bar coded serial numbers like those used in supermarkets and department stores. We decided if they could do it, why couldn't we carry the process a step forward and tie the employee to the piece of inventory he or she was checking out?

The system needed to be simple to operate but still keep a record and remove most manual requirements associated with property movement. It also had to integrate the property movement system with the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Our solution: Add a bar code to employees' ID badges. When the security officer scans the bar code on an employee's badge, the system queries HRIS files, validates the employee's name, and records the appropriate information to identify the employee. The only item not addressed was the duration of the property movement. To solve that problem, a special date sheet was designed on which common property movement periods were coded.

The process now became simple. All a security officer had to do was point the scanning gun at the bar codes on the equipment, badge, and date sheet-the computer program did the rest. It automatically found articles overdue and issued letters to employees requesting the return of the property they had checked out.

Another problem we faced was employees whose job responsibilities included moving parts, many of which do not have bar coded serial numbers. We needed a system that enabled those employees to perform their jobs more efficiently.

The most common method in the industry is the blanket property pass. …

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