I appreciate feedback on my blog posts. I received a particularly interesting comment the other day about my post “How Inventory Control Software Prevents Theft.”
I posted an answer to a question on Business.com about how to reduce theft by employees in which I quoted my blog post. However, Jeffrey Summers, an expert on that site, pointed out something I hadn’t thought about:
Let’s clear up some inaccurate perceptions. Contrary to what’s been posted here, this isn’t an inventory management problem. It’s a people management problem… Actual food and liquor inventory are not the items most taken in a restaurant – it’s sales and cash. Overportioning and underportioning are both theft.
When I wrote my earlier blog post about preventing theft, I was focusing mainly on how companies can cut down on employees and customers stealing actual products off the shelf. But I hadn’t considered how to deal with them stealing money or taking more than they paid for. That adds a new dimension to the problem.
I’ve heard that employees sometimes come up with creative justifications for stealing pens, paper and other office supplies. It came as a surprise to hear Summers say those are not the most common things they steal. I haven’t been able to find any data to back up that claim, yet. Let me know if you have some concrete statistics.
Can inventory management software protect against employees stealing money or giving out more products than customers purchased? It can certainly help with the latter problem because the records won’t match up, and managers can hopefully trace the problem back to the source.
Stolen cash requires different tools. QuickBooks might be able to help in this department, though it might be challenging. Probably the best way to prevent theft is to hire good people who will be loyal to their employer. That’s easier said than done. Try your best, though, to check up with employees frequently so they won’t be tempted to do things they’ll regret.
It’s hard for me to admit, but inventory management software isn’t the answer to all of your problems. It is a great tool to help you grow and transition from a small business to a medium-sized or large business. In some cases, it can help prevent products from being stolen, but it must be coupled with common sense.
Thank you, Jeffrey Summers, for pointing this out to me. If you would like to see the discussion that inspired this blog post, click the question: “How to prevent employees from stealing in my restaurant?”