Singapore’s Office of the Auditor General reviewed the purchase and management of fitness trackers by the country’s Health Promotion Board for its National Steps Challenge program and found that the agency had excess unused trackers and had inadequate processes. to record tracker stocks.
The AGO disclosed in its report that the HPB had excess fitness trackers worth SG $ 5.39 million ($ 3.9 million) based on the agency’s last full inventory in January. This represents approximately 341,208 fitness trackers purchased between seasons 1 and 5 of the NSC program. The office also found in its audit that tracker stocks had moldy straps and faces.
When asked to explain, the HPB said their oversupply was due to an overestimation of demand at the start or during the initial distribution period of NSC seasons. He mentioned that he’s struggling to achieve zero waste because the trackers were only useful for two years.
The AGO report pointed out that the two-year warranty for 65% of excess trackers has already expired, while the warranty for the remaining 35% will expire by December of this year.
Additionally, the Auditor General also noted that trackers are at risk of being lost or stolen as HPB has “no proper process to centrally monitor and account for the movement and stock of trackers” and has “fragmented records. and incomplete “. It also does not have a periodic reconciliation of the records with the available stocks. In addition, she did not have the results of her annual inventory checks in her supplier’s warehouse.
The HPB performs manual tracker inventory management processes, involving external parties including suppliers, an outsourced supplier providing warehousing and inventory management services, and several event organizers responsible for the distribution of trackers.
Based on HPB’s latest reconciliation effort in March, it estimated a tracker shortage of around 17,909 coins worth around SG $ 720,000 ($ 530,000), although the figure may not be represent actual deficits taking into account incomplete files.
The HPB is in the process of getting rid of the obsolete trackers from NSC seasons 1 to 3, while the surplus trackers from NSC seasons 4 and 5 have been put in place. one-for-one exchanges to replace old trackers owned by participants.
For its future purchase plan, the HPB told the AGO that it would take into account the projected percentage of participants likely to receive its trackers. He would only buy additional trackers on demand. These changes in supply will be implemented by October for NSC Season 6.
In the management of tracker stocks, the agency defined the actions to be undertaken by the end of September, in particular the improvement of its monitoring mechanism and the exploration of the use of a new digital system to monitor in a meaningful way. centralized stock movements; perform a monthly reconciliation between its inventory register and that of its supplier; and perform half-yearly audits and stock checks at the premises of its supplier.
THE BIGGEST TREND
In November 2015, HPB launched its NSC program which aims to encourage citizens to exercise more and engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity. For each “season”, the agency provides free fitness trackers to eligible participants.
In other news, the current NSC Season 5 has been extended by an Bonus round until August 29.
ON THE RECORD
“The excess of unused trackers by HPB has resulted in a significant waste of public funds over the past five years as the usability of these trackers would deteriorate over time due to warranty expiration and obsolescence. of technology, ”the AGO report said. .
“The overestimation of final demand occurred as HPB had preemptively restocked its stock of fitness trackers each season based on observed public interest, which manifested for example in long running times. waiting and queues of collecting trackers. seasons of the [NSC], HPB will be more cautious in our projections, ”the HPB said in a separate statement.