Using an Inventory System to Reduce Warehouse Theft

using inventory to reduce theftRegardless of the types of products they store, nearly every warehouse has experienced shrinkage due to employee theft at some time or another. But one of the best prevention tools you can use to reduce or eliminate theft from your warehouse doesn’t require the purchase of an expensive surveillance system or the adding to your payroll with the hiring of security guards. It’s your inventory system that might need the upgrade.

An accurate, frequent inventory of the products you store in your warehouse can be your best defense against employee theft. First, when your workers see your inventory being counted on a monthly, or even a weekly basis, it will put them on notice that you are paying close attention to how much of your product should be there. While some businesses will perform a physical inventory as little as once a year simply to satisfy bookkeeping requirements, a monthly or weekly inventory will help you identify and solve a theft problem more quickly.

Be Aware of Where Products Are Being Stored

If it isn’t practical to count every item in your warehouse, at the very least you should inventory your highest-value items, especially those that are small enough to conceal in a sleeve, bag or sock. Pay particular attention to those items that can be sold easily on the street, such as consumer electronics, jewelry, small appliances or other items that can be moved quickly. Most thieves won’t take the risk of stealing just anything. They want to make sure it’s worth the risk.

Make sure that your highest-value products are kept in that are well-lit and accessible. It’s easier to surreptitiously remove products from the dark, concealed corners of your warehouse than it is from the open, lighted areas where there is a lot of traffic. The most likely place for items to be stolen are near exit doors. If your deliveries and outgoing shipments are being staged on a dock or near exits, it’s relatively easy for somebody to remove products and quickly throw them into a waiting car or truck.

Guard Your Trash

Counting your inventory frequently is one of the best ways to reduce employee theft, but there are other steps you can take as well. One of the most common ways to remove products from a warehouse is to throw it into the trash. Thieves will then return later and remove their stolen property from a dumpster or trash room when nobody else is around. Secure your garbage so that it can’t be accessed by unauthorized personnel.

Theft is nothing new and will always be a part of business. But by taking steps to make it more difficult for people to steal from you, it is possible to reduce your shrinkage and improve your bottom line without adding substantially to your security costs.