If all is going to plan your locations are so busy that there is barely time to come up for a breath. That means that the current focus is on getting out the merchandise, servicing the customers, and selling, selling, selling. Unfortunately, that also means that with all the commotion, several people in several places are taking advantage of the distractions for his or her own personal gain.
While many companies will discontinue auditing and back off on some of their policy enforcement, it
doesn’t require that one completely disregard good loss prevention practices. The holidays tend to bring up the same types of issues year after year. These areas are usually the ones that result in loss or that require a rush to either put out a fire or worse notification sometime in late January that a loss occurred.
The list below contains the 5 “best’ holiday best practices that cover the most likely to occur issues without causing a complete upset to the sales focus:
Deposit Double Checks: While we are not the cash society we once were in business, when you add it all up at the end of the day it is still a tempting amount for a 8 or 10 dollar an hour associate. Lost deposits are notoriously difficult to resolve and most likely not to be recognized for several weeks. While a courier service would be helpful, most companies are not going to incur that expenditure. One simple method to deposit theft reduction is to ensure the money stays in two’s. Two people count it at the same time, two people bring it to the safe and two people escort it to the bank. If you paid one person an extra hour each night or morning to assist that would be $56 a week for a pretty solid insurance method. If that is completely out of the question have stores, especially temp store either call or email the deposit amount at closing. When people have to do such they are far less tempted to steal the deposit.
Locked Stockrooms: Sooner or later there will be a theft of employee property from the stockroom or employee locker room. Most of the time (but not always) this will be the result of a dishonest customer. At the holidays these folks know that the associates are busy and they know that the associates have gifts, cash and credit cards in the stockroom. The best way to avoid such is to keep stockrooms locked or ensure that all employee property is in a locked area. If that’s not possible, it may be inconvenient, a company may want to mandate that employees bring all purchases (from any store) to their vehicles. As a final protection method have the store manager invest in a cheap bell and hang it behind the stock door so that there is audible notification when the door is opened.
Egress Practices: Not necessarily a loss issue but certainly there are safety concerns involving associates leaving at night or going to remote storage areas. Much like the stockroom issue, there are plenty of bad people who use the holidays for personal gain. This is a good time to remind managers not to enter or leave a store alone and to ensure employees leave in no less than pairs. Everyone is busy and every one wants to get home at the end of their shift, but a policy to keep everyone safe is always a good policy. The same applies for trips down to those scary off-site storage units. They posses both a safety risk and a potential theft opportunity.
Cash Variance Reports: The greater the cash variances the more indication that things are getting sloppy or associates are stealing. In the best case (which isn’t good at all) customers are receiving incorrect change which either hurts them or hurts profits (depending on in who’s favor the mistake goes). In the worst case someone is supporting his or her shopping on your profits. Waiting for back deposit reports is too long to understand or correct the problem. A good holiday practice is to have managers fill out forms and either fax or email the total variances at week’s end. It will give you a quick snapshot of problem areas and alert you to a pattern that looks like more than a mistake.
Register Audits and Pulls: The more cash in the drawer the bigger a target for robbery or flim-flam artists. Being too busy for a register pull is like being too busy having a heart attack to get to the hospital. Audits are equally important and while it might not be possible to get three or four a day complete, it is critical to balance the drawer between employee shifts. Without this safeguard it will be difficult if not impossible to find the person responsible for those cash losses.