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IT investments are money down the drain without data quality, says Public Accounts committee

Richard Jones Archive

The Public Accounts Committee, a group within the British House of Commons that is responsible for monitoring spending, recently audited the Ministry of Defence's inventory management and found that data quality is at the root of a supply chain issue. The report explains that poor information is leading to a number of issues, including overspending on materials that aren't needed and failing to dispose of expired inventory. 

"Any system is only as good as the information put into it, [but] currently the department lacks information on the inventory it holds and thus does not know the true scale of the problem it faces," said Committee of Public Accounts member Richard Bacon in a statement about the findings. 

This news comes at a time when the Defence Department is investing in a new information system, the report details. Regardless of the platform's price tag, which is more than $1.64 billion (£1.1 billion pounds), the Public Accounts Committee warns that efficiency will not improve unless the larger issues are resolved. This requires thoroughly cleansing the data that exists in the current system prior to the implementation of the new one. 

Moreover, the Department of Defence must deal with the skills gap affecting inventory management, the report adds. This can be achieved with better recruiting processes that identify individuals who possess specialized skills.