There is no good time to write to local retailers about theft.
It’s a topic many of us in business don’t want to hear about, we don’t want to contemplate it.
But this happened.
We were checking the data for a local retail business that uses our specialty retail POS software. We noticed some anomalies in their data, in transaction sequences actually.
After digging a bit deeper we had evidence of employee theft.
From data covering three months we had enough evidence to put a value of $25,000 on the theft.
On our advice, the business asked for a meeting with the employee to discuss their concerns. The employee resigned immediately. They never returned to the business.
The business has the evidence police can use for a criminal investigation and, we expect, charges being laid. As we have done previously, we are prepared to be called as an expert witness.
Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company. Our help desk does the usual help desk stuff, and they go the extra mile – to help you maximise the value of the power of our Aussie made and supported POS software.
Our software has theft tracking tools, hidden away from everyday users, tools that can provide the evidence needed by police, and prosecutors to make their case in court.
Here is best practice advice which, if followed, will reduce the cost of theft in any retail business.
- Establish a theft policy and stick to it.
- Check references of prospective employees.
- Ask candidates if they would agree to a background check.
- Only sell what you arrive, bring into the store, through Point of Sale software. If you track it you can know if it has been stolen or not. If you do not track it who knows if it is stolen.
- Track ALL sales – by scanning, touch screen button or PLU (product look up code), a hot key on your computer screen.
- Stop all department sales, sales where the employee gets to enter the amount of the item.
- Scan out ALL products are returned to suppliers.
- Undertake regular spot stock take throughout the business. The discrepancy between what you have and what the system has reflects theft.
- Reorder stock using your software. This stops poor buying decisions. It also identified stock theft and employee fraud around stock.
- Use employee codes against each sale. Yes, this adds time to each sale. The benefits far outweigh the time cost.
- Set an end of shift balance target of $5.00. Many retailers achieve this – it takes discipline.
- Change your system passwords regularly. Make it a condition of employment that these passwords are never shared.
- Do random, during the day, register balance checks. Check that the cash your computer system thinks should be in the cash drawer is what is actually in the cash drawer.
- Use your software to check and report on behaviour which could indicate employee theft.
Retailers tend to worry more about shopper theft than employee theft yet, in our experience, employee theft has the higher cost to the business.