February 28, 2020  
 
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Putting the Clamp on Theft

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

Businesses are often the victims of customer and employee theft is a fact hardly in contention. In the event that the entrepreneur fails to take appropriate security control measures against inventory theft there could be considerable negative effects not only on the inventory control structure but to the business' overall profitability.

The implementation of prevention techniques is the most effective way to curb inventory theft.

Customer theft is a particularly troublesome issue for business owners and since it can't just be wished away the entrepreneur is well advised to adopt some techniques against the vice as follows:

  • The first line of action against customer theft is to make potential thieves aware that they are being watched. In a retailing business outlet the entrepreneur should make a habit of acknowledging customers as they enter. This will serve the dual purpose of creating customer loyalty and putting potential shoplifters on notice. Where employees are available the entrepreneur should train them to monitor customers closely albeit discreetly.
  • Apart from training employees on how to monitor customer theft the entrepreneur should teach them the guidelines to follow in the event that an incident is witnessed. This could probably be done with the help of the local police department.
  • Human interventions are not effective always; they need to be augmented by security prevention devices and there are a good number of these. Some of the most popular include concealed cameras, CCTV, alarm systems and merchandise security tags. It is in order to let potential shoplifters know what security gadgets have been installed.

On the other hand, employee theft is a commonplace occurrence especially in businesses that deal with production and manufacturing aspects. The entrepreneur will in this case be prudent to implement some of these anti-thieving actions:

  • All employees should be subjected to checks or searches as they exit the business premises at the end of a shift or at closing time. Apart from frisking, employee theft prevention measures should include briefcase, purse, tote bag and lunch bag searches.
  • Inventory levels should be regularly checked against sales records. For all items that are not accounted for the comparison of sales receipts to physical inventory will help establish if they have been stolen.

However, the best technique to ensure that customer and employee theft is kept to an absolute minimum is to ensure that there is a healthy working relationship between the management and the workforce. In businesses where employees are made to feel proud of what they do and there is a teamwork ethic chances of theft occurring are quite low.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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