When many people hear profit protection they think of theft. While theft can come in many varieties, profit protection also covers brand damage, public perception and human resources. Looking at theft, theft is split into three parts, Physical theft, Intellectual theft, Wage theft.
Physical theft is the act of taking an item or product that does not belong to you. There are many ways items can be stolen, the most common is for an item to be physically removed from a workplace such as stealing a car or piece of machinery. Physical theft also covers cash theft either in the form of physically removing tender from a cash register and electronic theft where funds are siphoned off using electronic means. Generally most people acknowledge that physically taking cash tender that doesn’t belong to you is wrong and acknowledge it is wrong, what you may not know is that unauthorised adjustments to revenue such as giving unauthorized discounts, coupons or sales promotions to customers are also theft.
Intangible theft is both the adjustment of reports or figures to obtain funds, this may also be classified as fraud in some cases and taking ideas, designs or copyright items and giving or selling them to unauthorised persons.
Theft risk applies to every business and there are many ways to mitigate them, no theft risk can be one hundred percent removed just mitigated.
Some ways to mitigate theft risk is to use CCTV, logbooks, GPS tracking, electronic security tags, regular inventory control and much more. For digital theft IT systems can be put in place checking access levels, controls, copyrights and licensing.
Theft affects everyone as it reduces the available resources for everyone’s use and if not countered can result in higher prices for customers, or a business closing.
Most theft is overwhelmingly from internal employees who are disillusioned or don’t feel engaged.. While physical controls such as CCTV are great for identifying theft that has happened in the past, the best way to reduce theft is to have an engaged team who feel supported and understand the goals of the organization. Talking openly with your team in an engaging manner goes a long way to reduce theft. Where theft is suspected monitor suspicious behaviour and use physical controls to find out where it is coming from as soon as possible to show everyone that the behaviour is not appropriate or tolerated in your organisation.
Many times small theft can be dealt with internally however in some cases it is necessary to report these incidents to the authorities. In both cases it is vital to keep accurate records of all steps taken for reference at a later date.