Let’s face facts here: theft is (unfortunately) a very common occurrence in business. It happens frequently and usually without warning. The best anyone can do is to stay diligent and try to prevent theft as much as possible. Warehouses and 3PL businesses are particularly susceptible to theft because of the large quantity of goods and inventory that is stored on-site. Here are some helpful and effective tips we’ve come up with to help you prevent warehouse theft:
CREATE & MAINTAIN A PLEASANT WORKING ENVIRONMENT
As a business owner, manager, and/or supervisor it is imperative that you create an overall pleasant and convivial working environment for your team. If your team is a happy one and each member of that team knows they are surrounded by supportive management, chances are there will be very little to no theft or criminal activity going on in your facility. A pleasant working environment breeds good will, efficiency, and staff loyalty. So, if your goal is to minimize theft, perhaps you should begin to look at improving the overall tone and atmosphere of your warehouse.
HOLD REGULAR TOWN HALL MEETINGS FOR MANAGEMENT & STAFF
As well as improving the atmosphere of your work space, it is also important to schedule regular Town Hall meetings in which important information and safety measures can be discussed. Attendance from management, supervisors and team players should be considered mandatory at these meetings to ensure that everyone is brought up-to-date on the latest developments. Make safety and theft a particular highlight at your Town Halls and have employees ask questions if there are some concerns floating around. This is an optimal time for you to discuss what really matters in an open forum with your entire team of staff.
ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO REPORT INSTANCES OF SUSPICION, WRONGDOING, & CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
Your employees should know that they can approach management at any time if they have any concerns or suspicions. Their comments should always be kept anonymous and management should treat each case as highly confidential. Employees need to be assured that their grievances will be taken seriously and be treated professionally – if this is ensured, your team will likely remain vigilant and always report instances of wrongdoing as soon as they are realized. Again, it’s important to note that a pleasant, professional working environment will breed loyalty and honesty.
IMPLEMENT & MAINTAIN AN EFFECTIVE SECURITY SYSTEM
Protecting your inventory from outsiders is another problem entirely. You must make sure that your property is protected at all times. To do this, your best option is to install and maintain an effective security system that will safeguard your inventory. Additionally, if you think your facility warrants extra security measures, perhaps you should consider hiring a team of security personnel who are responsible for patrolling the perimeter of your property (inside and out). It is best to keep information regarding your security system(s) confidential and limited to upper management staff. That way, you won’t have things like passwords and key codes floating around from person to person.
MINIMIZE HANDLING & DATA ERRORS
Some “thefts” can be attributed to simple handling and/or data entry errors, therefore it is important to remain diligent and keep on top of these errors regularly. If this is something you’re having a particular problem with, perhaps you should consider running daily reports and checking your figures faithfully. We’re all human and therefore we all make errors. It would be a waste of both your time and resources to begin a full-blown incident investigation if the supposed “theft” was purely a result of an operator inputting the incorrect data into the system or of incorrect order picking.
FOSTER POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND TEAM PLAYERS
Finally, fostering positive relationships between your management and team players is an invaluable way to prevent warehouse theft. In a way, this goes back to our first point: creating a pleasant working environment for your employees. Employees who get along with each other and their management will build stronger relationships over time and these stronger relationships will lead to efficiency, honesty, loyalty, and an overwhelming level of respect. There is no better way for you to instill values and morals into your team than to foster a positive, rewarding relationship with each and every one of your employees.