Could you dodge 14,000 bullets?

Fort Bragg recently announced that 14,000 rounds of ammunition for M-4 and M-16 assault rifles went missing. After a base lockdown and thorough search, investigators came up empty handed. Under the guise of national security, I am sure we will never know what happened. However, I do believe someone's head will roll and new procurement technologies are coming to this North Carolina base soon.

Wachovia Bank is also in North Carolina, and I recently read with great interest about a purchasing manager employed there who is making a move from a big lake house to the big house. Apparently, money from 11 million dollars in fictitious invoices he approved found their way into his personal bank account. I'm curious if his personal bank account was with Wachovia or if he added insult to injury by keeping the funds at cross-town rival Bank of America.

So much for having faith in the integrity of people living in the Bible Belt. I live in North Carolina and it is full of wonderful, trustworthy people. But in almost every case like this, the person who perpetrated the fraud is described as a wonderful, trustworthy person. What made them untrustworthy? They were put in a position of great responsibility with irresistible temptation and little control. Sometimes good people do bad things -- which is why one of the largest sheriff's offices in the country worked with us to protect themselves against such theft and fraud.

Our purchase-to-pay system gave them very strict controls and visibility over guns, ammunition and other law enforcement equipment. The organization automated requisition and three other key processes to protect the safety and pocketbooks of their taxpaying citizens. Here are some highlights:

  1. Transfer orders -- "On-loan" items like uniforms and other more dangerous equipment is lent to officers from an internal warehouse -- replenished by the purchasing department. When the items are received, an open ticket is issued that associates the item with the officer. Management has access to a dashboard of all open tickets: they know exactly who has what, and when the item was received.
  2. Stock control -- Inventory management capabilities within the system allow for cyclical counts of stock, which can be set to run on-demand or at regular intervals. Discrepancies can be quickly discovered and tracked. Cycle counts on items like ammunition are bumped against orders to maintain safety standards.
  3. Asset management -- A secondary tracking and security layer was put in place to apply personal ownership of high-risk items like guns. When a gun is issued, it is opened as an asset and assigned ownership to the employee. The system has the ability to track the physical location, as well as the fluctuating value of assets through their entire life cycle.

The sheriff's office has been using the system for several years now and it helps give the whole department peace of mind. As the law enforcement observes good people doing bad things every day, they would rather invest in technology than put their employees in an overly tempting situation.

You know who wished they hadn't put their soldiers in such a tempting position? The individuals in charge of ammunition at Fort Bragg who now have to dodge 14,000 bullets to keep their job.

-- Mark Schaffner,? VP of Marketing,?Verian. Feel free to email Mark at?

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