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Property movement made easy.

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. it is also the most abused. This method permits authorized employees to move property without recording it. It always starts out as a one- or two-employee program, then grows.

One large computer firm, for example, started this system with one department and now has more than one third of its employees using it. When this happens, you might as well forget about controlling property movement.

We needed a program that incorporated the authorization aspects of a property pass system, simplified it to a one-time requirement but retained the tracking integrity of the system. We came up with a concept that allowed selected employees to authorize their own property passes. To make the system work, only those employees whose jobs required moving inventory were eligible.

As a control, we designed in cost center manager approval for entry into the program. The employee then receives a special identifier for his or her badge, which alerts the security officer that that employee is in the program. When an employee receives inventory, he or she completes an abbreviated property removal form and gives a copy to the security officer when leaving the building. A second copy of the form is handed over to the security officer when the employee enters another building.

The final issue to tackle was the test engineer or technician who transports the same piece of equipment around company grounds throughout the day.

We needed a process to tie the equipment and its security to the employee. We decided to issue an equipment ID badge, with a picture of the employee responsible for the equipment, and affix the badge to the equipment. We knew this would only work if the ID could not be easily duplicated or removed from the equipment.

The ID contained the serial number and a description of the equipment. The ID was overprinted with a counterfeit ink stamp, and the badge was attached to the equipment with a high-grade security seal. Security officers perform random checks to verify that the equipment serial number matches the ID serial number. This program allows employees to show just their equipment ID badge as they pass the security station.

While all the bases of property movement appeared to be covered, this program was at the stage where most programs fail. It still had to be marketed to employees and gain their support before it could become a reality.

To sell the program, it had to work and be appealing. With the help of the employee relations department, we test-marketed the program for several months.

We soon knew it would work. The next task was to convince all employees. The team was fortunate to have a member who had experience in selling similar programs and is a respected security marketer. The following marketing slogans were developed along with a brochure-distributed to security officers and employees-that tied all the programs together.

* "ZAP.IT," COM.PASS," AND QUICK PASS" would accomplish what we needed.

* "ZAP.IT," COM.PASS," AND QUICK PASS" are coming.

* "ZAP.IT," COM.PASS," AND "QUICK PASS" will be here soon.

Imagine, employees and security officers working together from the same set of rules! The confusion and constant variation of the rules we faced in a large program were now eliminated.

About the Author ... Alan L. Waters is manager of corporate security for Compaq Computer Corporation in Houston.
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.

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Title Annotation:security for property movement programs
Author:Waters, Alan L.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Words:1126
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