Staff stock theft: Know your enemy

A lot of people have been discussing the Caloundra bug which involved a trusted employee taking money from the till, the truth is the system at Nextra Caloundra for whatever reason did not just fail at the till. What we know is she also stole stock, probably regularly, it was that plus an accident and cameras that led to her undoing.

There is only one way to establish the amount of stock that is missing, and that is stocktaking. Only after doing a stocktake will you have a clear assessment of your current stock situation and your theft rate.

Conversely if you have not done a stocktake recently, most probably like in Nextra Caloundra, you have an erroneous picture of your current stock levels. This is dangerous not just because dishonest staff are aware that your stock is not being checked so they can steal it but also because its going to lead to poor decision such as purchasing as the system will be showing you have enough stock for items you do not have.

Hopefully, you have in place a system by where stocktakes are done yearly, something we strongly recommend that you do even if the ATO does not require it.

What we do suggest is that you do mini stocktakes regularly over the year.

To do this divide your shop into many small locations, so that one person can do a section in a short time say two hours. By keeping the locations to such a manageable size, means you won’t be tempted to skip a large location because it’s too time consuming as all locations take the same time. It also means that if there is a slow period, a spare staff member can be used to do a stocktake. Now as the locations are being counted, the stocktake is coming together.

Another advantage of doing this is that some locations should be checked more often then other areas, for example, tobacco.

Furthermore, while you are counting you can clean too. You should also check for items in that location that aren’t supposed to be there. So while you are checking one location you are checking other locations as well. This allows you to systematically check the shelves and labels are correct.

Studies in the US have shown the best way of counting stock is that you count from the bottom shelf, work your way up going from right to left. You may say this is not natural, but that is why it's the best.

These locations should not be counted in a logical order but in a random order, e.g. use the latest lotto numbers. This has security advantages. If you do not know what is going to be counted today, how can the dishonest staff member know?

A well-planned stocktake done like this will result in minor disruption, give you accurate stock quantities, can produce a wide variety of discrepancy reports and enable you to make informed business decisions.

Our point of sale allows you to do this.