Missing and Dangerous: Consequences of Poor Asset Information Management
Items cited here are not fiction but real events that went on in high-level organizations on this planet. Asset management becomes a gripping topic when expensive, vital or potentially dangerous items vanish from an organization’s inventory.
The more dramatic losses present a clear threat to public safety. This is well exemplified with the case in US when 2,000 encrypted two-way radios, disappeared from the inventory of the US Marshals Service (USMS) .
Before you dismiss it as just a mere incident affecting a department in US Government, let;s try to understand who USMS are:
The USMS is charged with protecting federal judges and courts, apprehending federal fugitives, and protecting those in the Witness Security Program. It fields highly-trained, heavily-armed fugitive task force units in over 75 districts, where they aggressively pursue violent criminals. Rapid, secure, field-level communications lie at the heart of the US Marshals’ ability to fulfill its mission. Loss of such sensitive and vital equipment clearly jeopardizes that mission.
THE COST OF THIS INCIDENT
To start with,
- the lost radios have to be accounted for, secondly,
- the USMS’s communications’ security protocols and encryption systems would need to be revisited and possibly re-engineered from the ground up to prevent compromise.
This will not be cheap: Why?
- the original radios were valued at US$6 Million.
- It is estimated that reworking security and communications’ protocols and providing new radios to potentially the entire USMS force would reasonably be assumed to cost almost double the original investment.
Cost of Negligence and Incompetence
It was no daring daylight raid that took such valuable assets, but, in the words of the USMS Office of Strategic Technology, “It is apparent that negligence and incompetence has resulted in a grievous mismanagement of millions of dollars of USMS property. In large part attributable to poor record keeping as a result of an older property management system, as opposed to equipment being lost.”
This may be true, but without a modern assets management system capable of generating immediate and accurate audit history and check-out reports over multiple locations, it is hard to say.