For truckstop and travel plaza operators, theft within their locations is inevitable. Even worse, the greatest losses come from employees and vendors. However, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, said operators can take steps to minimize theft and prevent losses. Schulte shared his insights on shrink loss prevention at The NATSO Show in Savannah, Ga.
Schulte advised operators to pay attention to their employees and address even the smallest theft, such as an employee who takes a drink or snack without paying.
“You may see someone eating popcorn and you don’t think it is a big deal, but it is. It shows he has no respect for you and your organization,” he said, adding that some employees will steal no matter what while others are fence riders waiting to see how operators will react to minor thefts.
Inventory audits and cash audits can also help prevent losses, Schulte said. He recommends operators and managers show up unannounced, pull the till, count it and make sure it balances.
Employers should also watch for void or no-sale rings on the cash register. “When you see that, there is a good chance that money is coming out and not going in,” Schulte said. Retailers can also invest in systems that will send real-time information on no-sales so managers can visit the sales floor to see what is going on.
If an inventory or cash audit reveals a problem, Schulte said operators and managers should address the situation directly with employees through interviews. “Sit down with each employee and ask them questions. Are you aware of our shrink? Have you seen anything? Give them an opportunity to share to you what they’ve seen. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn and how much better your operations will run,” Schulte said. “This is your store and your money, you have to figure out what happened.”
To prevent vendor loss, Schulte suggests managers be present when vendors check in, only allow one vendor at a time on the sales floor and review invoices carefully, especially those that have high returns.
Managers should also look at the inventory as it comes in. “Open up the boxes and look in each one. The smartest thing that beer vendor will do is take one quart out of each case, make their own case and glue up the box. Your vendors stock most of your coolers, so you’re never going to know,” he said.
In addition, retailers should not allow vendors to count the product themselves during the check-in process and never allow products to be counted in multiples, and vendors should flatten their boxes before they leave.