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A quantitative tool.

MOST SECURITY AND LOSS PRE-vention managers look on the security survey, or facility security evaluation, as a necessary evil. True, it is not one of the more glamorous functions of loss prevention. In fact, conducting a survey is often dull. It is easy to get caught up in cumbersome and time-consuming checklists as well as lengthy and detailed reports.

Such lengthy reports are not always welcomed by the managers at the surveyed facilities, but the survey is one of the basic and necessary tools of loss prevention. The survey not only points out the weaknesses in physical security and internal controls but also serves as an effective awareness tool. The physical inspection in the company of the facility manager and discussions with department heads and supervisors promote the security awareness of those individuals.

When it comes time to deal with the survey report and recommendations, most operating facility managers want brief and to-the-point reports that reveal weaknesses and provide suggestions for corrective action. Different survey formats and checklists abound throughout the loss prevention industry, and ideas and methods are constantly exchanged. However, most loss prevention managers tailor a checklist and report format to the individual requirements of their company. The key point, which is often forgotten, is to adopt a method that accomplishes the best results.

I have found a quantitative evaluation of facility security to be most effective. The brief format for such an evaluation is comprehensive yet easy to read, and it generates a competitive spirit among managers of similar facilities.

The quantitative evaluation survey checklist includes several components:

Facility profile. Every checklist should include general information regarding the facility to be surveyed, such as hours of operation, number of employees, or previous evaluations. This information should be included on the cover sheet, or facility profile sheet. (See Exhibit 1.) [TABULAR DATA OMITTED]

Summary sheet. The next step is to determine the five or six major -- or critical -- security functions of the facility being surveyed. In a manufacturing plant these might be the following:

* physical security

* internal controls

* warehouse and distribution

* emergency controls

* utilities

* demographic variables

The major functions should then be further sorted into subgroups. See Exhibit 2 for examples of typical subgroups for a manufacturing plant checklist.

The next step is to apply weighting factors, possible raw scores, and possible weighted scores to each subgroup. Weighting factors should be assigned based on the criticality of the subgroup to the facility's overall security.

Each subgroup must now be assigned a maximum possible raw score. When the weighting factor is multiplied by the maximum possible raw score, a maximum possible weighted score is the result. For example, if we assign a weighting factor of 4 to the subgroup access controls, and we give that subgroup a total possible raw score of 20, the total possible weighted score for access controls is 80. Because the highest possible score should be 100 percent, or 1,000, the sum of all possible weighted scores should total 1,000. (See Exhibit 2.) [TABULAR DATA OMITTED]

Detailed checklist. To develop the actual working pages of the checklist, each subgroup must be further broken down into specific areas to be evaluated. The total possible raw score is then spread equally among the areas to be evaluated. Exhibit 3 shows the breakdown of each of the subgroups; this detailed checklist can help guide you. [TABULAR DATA OMITTED]

Although the preparation of the summary sheet was discussed first in this article, realistically it may be necessary to develop the areas to be evaluated within the major groups and the subgroups on the detailed checklist first, and then tailor the summary sheet to fit the detailed checklist.

The checklist can provide space for a brief comment regarding weaknesses that may exist in the areas being evaluated. A separate sheet should be attached for more extensive comments. Care should be exercised in stating the weaknesses to ensure that the weakness comment does not combine a statement of fact with a recommendation; recommendations should be listed separately, as discussed later in this article.

Assigning scores. As the checklist is being completed, raw scores are assigned to each subgroup and appropriate weakness comments should be made in the comments section. The assigned raw scores should be totaled and listed on the summary sheet. Assigned raw scores are then multiplied by weight factors to determine an assigned weighted score for each specific area and a total score for the facility. Total weighted scores between 0 and 699 (or 0 percent to 69 percent) reflect inadequate protection. Scores of 700 to 1,000 (70 percent to 100 percent) reflect adequate protection. You may want to break the descriptive evaluation into three categories:

* 0-699 (0 percent to 69.9 percent): Company assets not adequately protected

* 700-899 (70 percent to 89.9 percent): Company assets adequately protected

* 900-1,000 (90 percent to 100 percent): Company assets well protected

Recommendations. Recommendations resulting from the survey should be listed on a separate form. The form should include the facility name, evaluation date, a list of recommendations, and possible dates for them to be implemented.

In formulating appropriate recommendations it is often wise to offer several recommendations that will provide essentially the same solution to the problem. Expense is a primary concern of every profit-minded facility manager, and the measurement of risk versus the cost of the countermeasure is extremely important.

When preparing a report for a facility that does not have a full-time loss prevention representative, it is advisable to supplement the report with examples, such as pictures of security hardware, sample procedures, or summaries of systems being recommended.

The typed report including the recommendations list should then be forwarded to the facility manager with a letter summarizing the results of the survey and requesting a response to the recommendations.

Follow-up. Once the responses to the survey reports are received, the loss prevention manager's real work begins. Hopefully, the response will be favorable and the manager of the surveyed facility will agree to comply with all the recommendations. But there will always be those facility managers who would prefer to accept the risks rather than take preventive action. This is when the loss prevention manager must don his or her diplomatic hat and commence negotiations to sell adequate security to the facility manager.

Status report. The final step in an effective survey program is to publish a combined list of the status of security in specific facilities -- arranged by division, by facility type, or by area of responsibility.

The quantitative checklist may not be the right tool for every security professional. But facility managers can understand it and focus on the total score -- or on the percentage of effectiveness of their security program. Most importantly, it provides a tool for measuring the security of one facility against another and thus is a key facet of loss prevention.

William R. Floyd, CPP, is corporate director of loss prevention with the Sherwin-Williams Company in Cleveland. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:security survey
Author:Floyd, William R.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Previous Article:Who's to blame?
Next Article:Stalking security statistics.

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