Improving armoury and weapons management with auto-ID

Armoury management is not just about keeping weapons appropriately stored in a secure RFID cabinet or reinforced room. It’s also about managing allot of information associated with highly-sensitive assets – each with their own story to tell – in the context of complex workflows and compliance requirements.

Defence, police and security agencies need to know exactly what they have [think weapons, ammunition, peripherals, protective equipment and more], where those items are [particularly if they are spread across multiple armouries], when they were checked in/out, transferred, operated, fired, inspected, serviced, and by whom – in real time. And, like any ‘thing’, if something fails or doesn’t operate as expected, users need access to warranty documentation, as well as a full history of use and servicing.

The security stakes are also high. Consider the consequences of weapons ending up in the wrong hands – something we’ve written about previously. Last year, the SMH reported on a number of missing controlled items from AFP armouries, highlighting the importance of stocktake procedures and regular compliance checks. Consider this story about the black market for weapons in Australia as well.

Reducing the risks with asset intelligence

Asset intelligence technology offers a better and secure way to manage these mission-critical assets. assetDNA, developed by Relegen, not only offers greater operational efficiencies with automated inventory management, but delivers a digital data-driven audit trail of every link in the chain of custody including check-in/check-out, issuance, receipt, transfer, chain-of-custody, servicing and repair – at every stage of the item’s lifecycle.

How it works

At the heart of this system is a secure serialisation service which makes each individual item – and every officer interacting with these items – unique. Typically, an automatic identification [auto-ID] tag, such as a barcode or RFID, containing this ID will be affixed to assets in a way that meets their fit/form/function objectives. In the case of people or officers, this ID can be incorporated onto RFID-enabled access control cards. Then all item-related events, such as ‘issue’, ‘receipt’, ‘transfer’, ‘rounds fired’, ‘audit’, ‘stock take’ and ‘service’ will be captured by scanning these identifiers with hand-held mobile devices. This captured data is then logged and timestamped in the database, along with the user ID. And the GUID serves to ensure each asset [and its history of events] is visible and traceable through its lifecycle. It also becomes the primary key for linking data in disparate information systems. For example, armed forces could link asset intelligence with HR systems to associate officer weapon or use of force permits to reduce the duplication of manual data entry and make processes even more efficient, and secure.

Benefits for armory managers and security forces

  • Security – Immediate issue/no issue based on officer training and authority, detect missing items in real-time, alert necessary parties of vulnerabilities or events that require attention
  • Safety – Ensures weapons and other items are inspected, serviced, or replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions and that they are in safe working condition
  • Authentication – Automatic item identification and electronic signatures to authenticate chain-of-custody during transactional events such as issue, receipt, transfer
  • Visibility – Agency-wide view of the location, custodianship and status of all items in armouries and in service with officers
  • Traceability – Item-level serialisation – carried by auto-ID technology such as barcodes or RFID tags – ensures current status, location and history retained through-life and through-out supply chains. Covert security identifiers can also be integrated so that even if a tag is removed, the weapon’s original owner can still be identified
  • Workflows – Build your own workflows to mirror internal agency processes, enforce standard operating procedures, replicate best practices force-wide
  • Productivity – Rapidly stocktake armoury items and produce inventory and exception reports**
  • Compliance – Ensures an electronic, data-driven trail of chain-of-custody and other critical data to provide maximum accountability of weapons and gear issues, transfers and returns
  • Decision-making – Better data for better item-level and inventory management, and supply requirements

About assetDNA

assetDNA offers a comprehensive and integrated software-tagging-mobile data capture platform, first developed for the Australian Defence Force and used by Australian Border Force for armoury inventory management. It is a highly-configurable system that can be customised to mirror individual agency workflows and meet specific compliance requirements. During implementation, Relegen works with clients to ensure that the system, fields, terminology, workflows and mobile apps are configured to fit their specific needs. After an implementation is complete, agencies will have full control over the system and all user-defined fields, and can make changes, add fields and update workflows at their own convenience. To learn more about how assetDNA can improve armoury management, or to request a free software demo, please reach out to us at +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or sales@assetDNA.com. Be sure to also check out our YouTube video on armoury management.

**Relegen-assisted armoury inventory management deployment projects have reported up to a 73% reduction in stock-take time using assetDNA and HF RFID hardware. A UHF RFID system could offer even greater gains than this. For organisations carrying out assurance or compliance checks on large inventories on a regular basis, this may result in significant productivity gains and labour cost savings.