Metrics for Success: Investing in Security’s ROI

June 24, 2015
Canine versus humans puts return to the test

We hear a lot about the difficulty of documenting Security’s return on investment.  Well, take a look at this example.

 This large global manufacturing organization is highly diligent in screening who and what enters its’ perimeters and works under a variety of rigorous security regulations.  They are also aggressive in weeding out labor-intensive (i.e. costly) security processes.  They had seen the effectiveness of canine teams in benchmarking various security operations tasks and sought to determine the potential value of their use in selected search activities.

 The five search routines you see in this chart are conducted on situations or events deemed higher threat or risk and due to those factors are particularly detailed in their handling.  Any reader involved in physical security operations can appreciate the rigor employed in these examinations.  Each of these routines was timed over a period to obtain an average and the results are seen in the red line. The numbers on the left axis indicate the hours involved. It should be understood that various examinations involved a variable number of officers depending on the complexity of the conditions and tasks.   For example, incoming shipment inspections always involved two officers and special events routinely assign a team of three.   Other routines similarly utilized more than one officer in some cases.  This initial test period was two weeks and the total hours for all task assignments for the duration of this analysis was 397 hours. 

 The fully loaded cost per hour for the contract officers at this site was $23.50.   The cost for all five routines was $9,329.  Inasmuch as the bomb threats, special events and suspicious packages events were not anticipated nor scheduled, these assignments required taking officers off normal shift duties and backfilling from a reserve pool (@ straight time) for 88 of the total hours so an additive of $2,068 was incorporated for a total test period cost $11,397.  If we were to use this figure for an annual estimated cost, we have a total of $296,322.

 A canine team was engaged for a two-week test and subjected to the same number of events and as similar search routines and conditions as possible in comparison to the prior officer experience.  The total consumed time for a dog and handler team was 81.5 hours.  The hourly contracted cost of a canine team for this location was $72/hr. or a total of $5,868 for the test.  Since canine teams are typically scheduled for assignments, this assessment assumed a work year for the canine team at 60% of a fully staffed post (2,080) or 1,248 hours.  The annualized cost would be $89,856 and the return for this investment would be in just 3.5 months.  

 This examination also sought to test the effectiveness of the exclusive use of security officers versus a single dog and handler team.  Nitrate contraband and a drug sample were randomly deployed and the canine team was 100 percent effective in identification and the officer team 30 percent successful.  Consumed time clearly is a cost driver but less consumed time with significantly greater effectiveness is clear discriminator in these test results.

 I’ll close this example with an invitation to check out my new book on metrics published by Elsevier and entitled “Measuring and Communicating Security’s Value”.  If you have enjoyed these articles over the past many years, I think you’ll find this book will conveniently summarize the concepts and ideas I’ve put forth.