If you type sequestration into Google News, you currently receive 13,100 links. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about sequestration until about a year ago. I speak, of course, of the sequestration of funds that was set when a congressional super-committee could not reach agreement on more targeted budget cuts. It was written into last year’s Budget Control Act as the next step, should the super-committee fail to slash federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Between now and January 2013 you’ll hear it debated from every angle possible.
Although some budget cuts are inevitable, there should not be an across-the-board “blood-letting”, a move that would be extremely short sighted. An investment in key management practices, such as IUID is essential.
I’ll digress for a moment, back to some Olympic history and the use of automatic ID (AIT) technology. During the summer Olympic games in Los Angeles, in 1984, tensions in the world were high. Keeping athletes safe and controlling spectator access were deemed a critical part of planning for Olympic organizers. Bar code technology had been adopted by numerous industries and, combined with an early form of unique identification, was chosen to solve that very important strategic problem. This AIT solution proved to be a huge success, significantly enabling the mission of the Olympic games.
Fast-forward to 2012 and sequestration: Applying item unique identification (IUID) to a government process as simple as inventory control will save money – period. Industry has proven the cost-saving benefits of inventory control for decades. Why should government be different?
IUID will show immediate return for programs with sparse budgets. Using it now will save money that may not be available if and when sequestration takes effect. Looking downstream it will set the stage for far more efficient control of DoD and government assets through the elimination of waste, duplication and loss. The time has come to act. What AIT was able to accomplish for the 1984 Olympics is a small sample of what it can accomplish for government’s seemingly insurmountable budget woes.