As an established business or retail store, one of the most difficult things owners and managers have to deal with is employee theft. It’s the dark side of retail that’s difficult to address and find solutions for, since there is very little that can be done that isn’t invasive, insulting, and doesn’t jeopardise the trust between the employees and the company.
Of course, some kinds of theft are easier to spot than others, but this doesn’t mean that one can simply overlook what has been happening. This is where the advanced point of sale systems of today come in handy.
Managing Employee Theft
This isn’t something you’ve probably thought long and hard about- but with how advanced POS systems today are, it isn’t surprising that it covers employee theft, is it? Shopify has a point of sale system which is leading piece of technology that’s paving the way for more innovative ideas, so how can it help you and your business eradicate employee theft altogether?
Identifying uncharacteristic inconsistencies
Your POS is the mastermind behind all your records- it records everything from what products are being purchased to which employee is checking out which customer- and everything else before, between, and after these processes. Looking at these records manually can take forever- and that’s where your point of sale system comes through. It can track a single or multiple instances of inconsistencies in records or numbers and point out patterns or single instances where employee theft might have occured.
Cash variances are the single most telling factor of employee theft. So, if a cash register does not have as much cash as it’s supposed to- given the purchases it handled- something fishy could be going on. Further, the inventory would reflect the same, if products go down in numbers but don’t reflect on the sales sheet.
Importance of Camera Footage
Do you have a store large enough to warrant security camera footage? Although customers tend to feel they’re being watched, the mere presence of the camera in your store is enough to deter even employees from performing anywhere below perfect.
Cameras rarely work in isolation. If you have camera footage that shows certain employees pocketing money from the cash register, but your data doesn’t reflect the same- assigning blame becomes invalid and you lose trust with your employee base.
This is where an advanced POS system can help. Cameras can be integrated into your POS system and that will give you further clarity still on what, who, and when most of the loss is occuring. This will be backed up by data from the POS that cannot be manipulated or changed- and you’re in a better position to launch an investigation.
That is the purpose of all of these steps- warrant more investigation. It’s always a better option as opposed to implying blatant blame.
One great example of a point of sale system and a camera working seamlessly together to reduce employee theft is Shopify’s POS and the NEST camera that they offer. The camera takes a series of snapshots of the cash register area as soon as a purchase is logged on the POS. The footage is tied to the purchase so you can check what exactly has happened at the cash register when the purchase was made. If you sell your products at multiple locations, this system could be saving you a lot of money.
Spike in individual/ingredient expenses
Your POS is advanced enough to have an inventory control module- this allows you to see how much money you’re spending on your raw materials/ ingredients. If there is a sudden spike, or unexplained rise in expenses made on certain ingredients and raw materials, this could reflect employee carelessness with these products.
This is most commonly seen in stores that serve and sell liquor or specialized drinks. You can see the server activity, security camera footage, and log in reports in the same control module. This will help you identify which employees specifically are over-pouring or being careless with certain ingredients.
Although this isn’t direct employee theft, it could indicate a level of carelessness and apathy on part of the employee. Even these little things will add up and take a huge bite out of your profit.
Tracking the right data
An employee engaging in theft may manipulate the system by running up a transaction where no actual sale has happened, or a refund was given, or the transaction itself was voided. Looking at your POS records you will easily be able to pinpoint if and when such transactions become more frequent or unnaturally high. The POS system is advanced enough to track the right kind of information and data.
This reflects potential theft in the form of offering illegitimate discounts and giving away free products to friends or family- or even picking items for themselves. If you sync your labour management system with the POS, you can tell which employees have the highest instances of returned, refund, or void transactions- thus pointing to potential culprits. This also keeps a track of your employees performance in general- making it easier for you to tell which employees you can trust over others.