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Equipment Identification or Marking

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  • Equipment Identification or Marking

    Looking for some discussion on marking or tagging of new equipment when it is received at a warehouse or job site.
    Years ago our company had a identification number that was scribed into each piece of equipment and all tools when they were received but with cut backs in warehousing staff this process has fallen by the wayside.
    I am sure with new technology there are lots of options available.
    What products have you had experience with? Any good news stories?
    Do you currently have any written policy or procedure for your site I could use as a guideline?

  • #2
    Within my client base, I have actually seen a decrease rather than increase in the use of asset tags. Many companies that do have a tagging program in place set fairly high limits (such as $5000) on what something costs before they will tag it. I don't know if this is due to a change in accounting rules with regards to asset depreciation or what, but many companies no longer think that it is worth the expense to tag and track smaller items.

    Certainly the technology now exists to more efficiently track assets through the use of bar codes and RFID, but a business case must be made to prove that the cost of the problem justifies the initial investment and ongoing costs of a comprehensive tagging program.
    Michael A. Silva
    Silva Consultants


    • #3
      I would suggest for smaller items either UV marker for about $10.00 US or a microdot program which is applied to the item directly. A colleague swears by them as for his major assets they ensure unknown security levels of the items. Many new cars have this technology now and it is not as expensive as you may think (inside the paint). For items like Notebooks, I have used the UV markers for about 8 years and swear by them. Labels and metal tags can be removed and or drilled off and replaced quite easily.
      "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


      • #4
        We'd need to know what you mean by "new equipment", which covers a lot of possibilities, obviously. The type of marking system that would be appropriate depends on a number of factors, including the cost of the equipment, the size or "concealability factor", the estimated cost of losses now, and even such things as the configuration of the facility from which they are being stolen (for instance, is this gear that is being handed out from an equipment crib/room, etc.?) Do you want to use marking for purposes of (a) interdicting theft before it happens - meaning you need an "active" system that tracks equipment such as RFID, or (b) to identify your equipment once it is recovered - in which case tagging (hopefully, permanent) would be sufficient. Lots of things to consider.

        Obviously, the methodology used cannot be more expensive, intrusive or burdensome to the company's business processes than the cost of whatever theft/abuse that you're experiencing now. As much as I hate to admit it, low-level, low-cost or infrequent thefts can be more problematic and costly to prevent than to simply "self-insure" (accept) them.

        Lastly, tagging/tracking technology is not necessarily the answer to equipment theft at all. It may be that closer monitoring of receiving docks, better internal controls, and even just the simple expedient of closer supervisory oversight (which is the MOST OVERLOOKED "FREE" SECURITY MEASURE IN ALMOST ALL COMPANIES) would go a long way to reducing the theft of equipment. Whether you're talking about fraud, theft, malfeasance, malingering, or a million other forms of "loss" to companies, the most common factor is LACK OF EFFECTIVE SUPERVISORY OVERSIGHT OVER WHAT EMPLOYEES ARE DOING. Try making supervisors accountable for "unacceptable levels of theft" (whatever you determine that to be), and see what happens. My guess is...the thefts will drop quite apart from anything you might do with respect to tagging, etc.
        Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-07-2007, 05:44 PM.
        "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

        "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

        "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

        "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron


        • #5
          SecTrainer you have hit the nail on the head. One can only surmise there is a failure in quality leadership. If leadership lets it be known from the get-go that theft of any kind will be summarily dealt with and perpetrators with be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
          If leadership doesn't give a rip, don't expect the worker bees to care either.
          Enjoy the day,


          • #6
            I had a store manager earlier this year who supplied the bridesmaids dresses for her sisters wedding and those for the 2 mothers. Only reviewing the photographs did one of our suppliers inform me that she suspected foul play when the dresses were worn and were sent back to her for credit. A review of CCTV footage showed the bridesmaids all trying on the dresses but no payment was ever recorded despite the dresses leaving the store. All up over $24k US of dresses walked out of the store unpaid for including dresses for the mothers to wear as well. She admitted guilt and offered to pay for the dresses, then had the guts to ask for a staff discount which was 15% off.

            During the y2k - anything going inside of my employers building was monitored and anything going out was tagged and bagged by a proximity reader (before RFID). It had to suit the item and everything was recorded manually as well by security staff. A $20k server may cost more than a 13 cent CD but the CD may have a master key access code to run a software package so the risk factor had to be taken into consideration over the contents. Another company I worked at allowed me to adapt our bar-code reader to identify the removal of laptop computers just with a scan rather than the manually check records every time.
            "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu