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From: mikehunt22/25/2010 6:21:40 AM
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FedEx And UPS
The Couriers

When we send stuff via a courier, which includes UPS and FedEx, our job is relatively simple. We just go the local FedEx Kinko’s or UPS Store, pick up the packing boxes we need, slap on the address label, take it back for shipment, and off it goes.

All we have to do, as the customer, is merely enter the tracking number of our package our envelope from time to time, and see where it is at in the routing process.

Most of the time, packages do get to the specified destination, and from the times I have used a courier, or have had stuff sent to me, I usually do not have any problems (OK, the only real gripe I have is that the computer systems used for tracking does not update in real time-you would think with the database technology out there, it should not be a problem, but for some reason, it still is).

Our work as the customer is easy. But think of all of the logistics and scheduling headaches these major couriers have to go through. It requires a lot of planning, computer simulations, and of course a lot of manpower, which means lots and lots of employees.

And this work load only multiplies by an infinite number right after Thanksgiving into the Holiday season.

Well, with this increased levels of manpower, comes the increased need for Security. And today, FedEx makes the news headlines, and is the topic for today’s Posting.

Although the place of fortified Security it is not a distribution and logistics center, it is still an important none the less.

A Biometrics Vendor known as “Telos Identity Management Solutions, LLC” has just announced that it has delivered a Biometric solution to the FedEx Field (a sporting venue). This Biometric solution is known as “MobileAssure Access Control”, or “MAAC”, for short.

Here are the details of it: “MAAC is capable of using simple matching or advanced multi-modal biometrics, and its verification software can operate on mobile or even handheld verification devices . . . MAAC deploys quickly while ensuring the integrity and security of personal data stored in the system . . . MAAC is highly scalable and capable of exchanging data with multiple HR management, scheduling and payroll systems, streamlining staff scheduling, time and attendance reporting and reconciliation, and payroll processing. Telos ID’s MAAC solution has enrolled over 7,500 FedExField employees and contractors, creating a secure credential for each.” (SOURCE: findbiometrics.com.

Final Thoughts On Today’s Posting

From the Press Release, it appears that this Biometric solution can meet a whole range of needs for customers. First, it is designed to meet the stringent requirements of the Federal Government, in particular, the Department of Defense.

Apparently, a combination of different types of Biometric devices can be used with solution, for an entire suite of applications, focusing on the human factors need.

This would include such areas as Human Resources, payroll, and of course one of the biggest markets for Biometrics, Time and Attendance applications.

Also, from the information I could gather about the Biometric solution, it can be used for the very simple applications (in this regard, I am assuming a 1:1 Verification scenario), all the way to the very complicated Multimodal Biometric applications.

And also, it can deploy very easily over hard wired or wireless access networks. Given the huge demand placed upon it, this solution has already registered some 7,500+ FedEx employees into the system. Now to me, this is a huge number.

Obviously maybe not quite as large as the enrollment for the National ID Card or the e-Passport, but it is still large. In fact, I would venture to say that in all of the Postings I have written, this is probably the largest specific number I have ever mentioned for a Biometrics application.

This Posting today actually touches on the topic of yesterday’s Posting, which discussed the needs of implementing Security protocols for visitors to a place of business, also known as “Visitor Management”.

Although the issue of Visitor Management was not mentioned in the Press Release for today’s Posting, it made strong mention of the term “contract employees”.

Now although I would not categorize a contract employee as a visitor, but they do share the most common attribute: Short term stay. So, I find it rather ironic to see this issue addressed today.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Posting, business owners are always worried about fortifying the place of business, and putting employees through rigorous Security protocols (this is a subjective issue, some do, very often, most don’t).

The visitor is often neglected from the Security Policy, and now that I think about it as I write today’s Posting, so is the contract worker. So, rather than saying “Visitor Management”, I think the more appropriate term to use now is “short term person management”.

This needs to be strongly addressed in the Security Policy of any business or organization, because although the people in this new category I have termed are just there for the short haul, they still have access to your business, and can pose just as much of a Security risk or more than your regular hire employees, who have been with you for a long time.

On a different and much more macro tangent, Security at distribution and logistics hubs, especially at points of entry into the United States (specifically the maritime ports) have often been criticized and chastized as being very poor.

And yes, it is true. The Security is horrible.

I heard some time ago that only some 1%-2% of all shipping containers coming into the United States are even inspected.

We are so worried about our airports, we have totally neglected the distribution and logistics centers, no matter how small or how large.

FedEx and UPS are obviously major centers of logistics and distribution. While I do not know if they have implemented Biometrics into their Security Protocols, I have not heard of any in all of the readings I have done, until today.

It’s good to see that is being at least addressed today, though.

If FedEx and UPS do fortify their Security systems through whatever means, including Biometrics, they could serve as a shining example of what to do for the other, much bigger places of logistics and distributions, such as the major seaports.

Security for cargo is a very complex issue, and I would even venture to say it is more so than for airports, because all different types of goods are carried, and a lot are “concealed” further in various transport boxes and containers.

It will for sure take a very long time to address and insure almost 100% levels of Security, but the application in today’s Posting is definetely a great place to start.
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