Securing your workplace environment is one of the most important factors to eliminate inventory fraud. Securing your environment means thinking like a Boy Scout: "Always be prepared,” or your grandma: "Expect the best in people but prepare for the worst.”
Unfortunately, both internal and external inventory fraud (theft, shoplifting, inventory shrinkage, etc.) happen on a daily basis and in the blink of an eye. It can happen before you realize there was any theft at all. Often, shoplifting is not caught until a store accounts for inventory or someone reviews security camera footage. To be proactive, let's try thinking like a boy scout and listen to grandma's advice. Below are tips to help prevent or catch inventory fraud by securing your environment:
- Install or update the sensor system
- Have a designated, locked shipment door
- Use clear trash bags
- Place cameras in the back room
Installing or updating the sensor system
When a potential shoplifter notices a sensor system in the store, they are less likely to shoplift. A sensor system is an investment but, like a printer or phone, it is a must-have piece business equipment. The sensor system is designed to alert your employees to shoplifting before your inventory walks out the door. When the alarm sounds, the “customer” normally stops to see who noticed the shoplifting. Stopping them before they walk out the door allows for a greater chance of the items being willfully handed back to your store. After the sensor system alerts your employees, they can work to obtain the item. In our last blog, we covered some communication tips on how to engage potential shoplifters.
Have a designated, locked shipment door
Have a designated, locked shipment door for inventory to enter and exit through one door, and that door only. Since managers cannot constantly watch the door, nor have employees babysit it, install a sensor. The lack of traffic makes it easier to slip items out the shipment door. A lock and sensor system is an effective method for preventing your products from vanishing from your store without a trace.
Use only clear trash bags
Dumpster diving does exist but is less likely to happen when a company uses clear trash bags. You’d be surprised how common it is for someone to place shoplifted items in your garbage and visit the dumpsters later to retrieve the items. Clear trash bags offer much better visibility of items that may have been secretly placed inside your trash. Just try to ignore those lunch leftovers clinging to the side of the bag.
Place cameras in the back room
Cameras provide both psychological and quality assurance benefits. Cameras are a serious deterrent for internal theft and record customers who may have wondered into unauthorized locations. Cameras can also record the receipt, processing, and sending of packages through the shipment door. Cameras record the packing and pickup of shipments so that your store can prove the condition of what was shipped and when it left your store. A little "expect the best but prepare for the worst" quality assurance can reduce the chance of packages getting lost or damaged in the mail by shipping firms.
Overall, inventory fraud can be extremely expensive and cause negative feelings in the workplace once uncovered. Just like grandma, we want to expect the best in people but we must also prepare for the worst to protect our businesses we’ve worked so hard to build. These tips are obvious and encourage people to be at their best when handling inventory. By planning ahead for inventory concerns, your business can discourage shoplifting by showing you’re serious about securing your workplace environment.