Hard Facts About Employee Theft and Why You Need Video Surveillance

In retail, preventing inventory shrinkage and limiting loss is just as important as having great products and stellar customer service. Unfortunately, the most significant contributor to the problem is employee theft. That means that having the right systems and process in place to prevent inventory shrinkage in place is critical.
Here are some important statistics you need to know about employee theft.

  • Employee theft is common. 75% of employees steal from the workplace.
  • 64% of businesses have been victims of employee theft.
  • 84% of businesses do not report employee theft to investigators.
  • Employee theft accounts for nearly 41% of all inventory shrinkage.

What Do Employees Steal?

Employee theft costs US companies $20 to $40 billion each year, and it is not all in ball point pens. Here’s what gets stolen.

  • Money is most frequently stolen, with thefts ranging from $5 to $2 million accounting for 40% of incidents of employee theft.
  • Product materials account for 18% of employee theft.
  • Office supplies and equipment results in 6% of employee theft.

Proactive Ways to Deter and Prevent Employee Theft

No business can afford to ignore the issue of employee theft, but at the same time no business wants their employees to feel like they are mistrusted or to make the business feel like a prison facility. The solution is to develop a culture of prevention by implementing the right systems and processes, and let those things do the work for you. Here are some important steps you can take to help improve your security and reduce incidents of theft.

  • Always use pre-employment background checks.
  • Establish, clearly communicate and enforce conduct guidelines.
  • Conduct weekly audits of inventory.
  • Use access control systems to ensure the right people are in the right places at the right times. It can also keep unauthorized individuals out of critical spaces.
  • Use video surveillance to help serve as a deterrent to employee theft. With video cameras and CCTV in place employees are less likely to steal in the first place and enforce a culture of integrity. Video surveillance can also help build a better overall retail operation by helping ensure great customer service, and optimal productivity.

Employee theft is an unfortunate fact that every retail operation must address. S-TRON specializes in retail loss prevention and commercial retail security systems. We stay current on the news, trends, and challenges so we can address your individual and highly specialized needs with the most appropriate solutions.

Retail Security: Why You are Susceptible to Theft and How to Fix It Now

Retail establishments exist in a fast-paced and ever evolving environment with the goal of profitability. Successful businesses realize that one of the most effective ways to increase profit margins is to reduce loss.  Without your diligence, the retail field can quickly become a battlefield.

Here are some critical ways you are susceptible to theft, fraud and loss and how to dramatically reduce losses.

Employee Theft

Unfortunately, one of the most frequent ways retail establishments experience theft is by employee theft. One of the best ways to discourage this type of loss is by having CCTV cameras in places not frequented by the general public, such as supply rooms.

Successful businesses realize that one of the most effective ways to increase profit margins is to reduce loss.

Returns Theft

More sales naturally generate more returns. Those returns are frequently stored in accessible areas and do not garner the same level of security as new goods on the floor. Thieves notice this and take advantage of the lack of security. You can fix this problem by tighter controls over returns and go-backs and visible security cameras in the area.

Tool Theft

Not only are retail products targets for theft, so are the tools of the retail trade. Most businesses use an abundance of specialized equipment, much of it smaller and easily concealed. These tools are targets because of their uniqueness and ability to be sold online swiftly and easily. Train employees on best practices to maintain the security of the equipment, and make sure the floor is covered by security cameras.

Fraudulent Claims

Every business large or small, is vulnerable to fraudulent claims. Those wishing to defraud the business, whether they are customers or employees, may stage an accident or injury that can cost a substantial amount to litigate. Having CCTV cameras throughout the business not only discourages such practices but also provides footage that can allow you to successfully dispute claims.

Productivity Loss

Perhaps not surprisingly, businesses today face a substantial amount of loss due to lost productivity. This can take the form of low or slow accomplishment of tasks, extended breaks, using company time for personal business or entertainment as well as many other time robbers. While common to every business, the problem can be successfully combatted with well-placed CCTV cameras.

Shoplifting

Of course, one of the most obvious ways a business is susceptible to theft is through shoplifting.  There are many ways to combat shoplifting such as implementing theft reduction practices, such as having more employees on the floor, involved customer service, and visible security cameras.

S-Tron Specializes in retail loss prevention and commercial retail security systems. We strive to be at the forefront of our industry so you can be at the forefront of yours. If you have any questions about retail security, please call S-Tron today.

Protecting Your Business from Retail Shrink

Inventory shrink is the loss of products from employee or customer theft, inventory and accounting errors, and loss due to things such as spoilage or damage. Maintaining a low shrink rate is one of the most important aspects of maintaining profitability.
Retail shrink, however, is multidimensional and addressing the problem effectively requires an all-encompassing approach to security as a way to improve all operations rather than seeing security as just a tool to catch criminals.

Improve Operations

Improving storewide operational execution by using video surveillance technologies helps to maintain high levels of execution. When great processes are in place anything out of sync stands out and can be corrected quickly. This can help reduce loss due to accounting, lost or forgotten inventory, and spoilage. Maintaining high levels of execution also helps employees spot shoplifting easily, and helps them to refrain from the temptation themselves.

Reduce Accounting Errors

Security technologies can provide a wide view of the store and its operations but it can also help zero in on POS to help identify and correct errors or acts of fraud.

Product Protection

Another important aspect of preventing shrink is how well you protect your assets. Using tools such as access control is essential in controlling product storage areas.

Video Surveillance is a Crime Deterrence

The two most effective ways to deter theft are to make it too difficult and too risky. Video surveillance technologies are highly effective because they make it difficult to commit shoplifting without getting caught. This is a very important factor as preventing theft is much more cost-effective than catching it.

Video Analytics are Golden

Video analytics are great for telling you what products are performing well and why, but they can also provide insight as to why certain products or particular areas of the building see much more loss. It can also help you manage on-shelf availability and avoid over or under inventory. It also provides information that allows you to better evaluate store operation in relation to patterns of theft and allow you to make adjustments to store layout, product location, and employee engagement.

S-Tron has over 20 years of uncompromising industry experience and is dedicated to helping retail operations reach their security goals. From video surveillance and access control to intrusion detection and business analytics, S-Tron beats the competition coast to coast.

What Retailers Need to Know: Shoplifting 101

In 2016, the average inventory shrink rate increased to 1.44 percent. According to the National Retail Security Survey 2017, shoplifting by outside customers accounted for 37% retail inventory loss, followed by 30% in employee theft, 21% in administrative errors and 5% in vendor fraud. Together this loss accounted for $48.9 billion worth of inventory.

There are Many Ways of Controlling Shrink

Detecting and preventing shoplifting is an important part of any retail establishment. Whether caused by internal or external causes, controlling shrink is one of the most significant factors in controlling expenses. To do this, retailers have several options including employee training, auditing, loss prevention personnel, and loss prevention technologies.

Different Approaches to Address the Problem

Different establishments approach loss prevention differently, largely guided by budget and philosophy. The main focus could be deterrence, detection, or apprehension, and depending on the retailer’s philosophy, the loss prevention strategies utilized and policies instituted will reflect that philosophy.

Cost Effective Loss Prevention Technologies

Loss prevention technologies address every aspect of shrink, from deterrence to detection, and ultimately apprehension. Some of the most cost-effective strategies include CCTV and video surveillance, business intelligence software, and ScanCam. ScanCams helps prevent employee-caused shrink such as barcodes not registering, or making up fraudulent returns.

Quick Tips for Shoplifting Prevention

  • Use video surveillance and CCTV. Visible security deters crime.
  • Greet customers as soon as they enter the store to remove anonymity.
  • Watch for customers who avoid eye contact, seem nervous, wander the store, linger, or exhibit suspicious behavior.
  • Encourage employees to walk the store and talk to customers.
  • Keep the store clean and organized to maintain visibility.
  • Keep commonly stolen items in plain view.
  • Do not under-staff.
  • Eliminate employee distractions.
  • Post warnings in dressing rooms or bathrooms.

Stopping a Patron

Shoplifting laws allow retailers to stop and detain a person who has stolen merchandise. To do this properly in a way that can lead to prosecution requires following proper protocol.

  1. The employee must see the customer enter the area where the subject item is displayed.
  2. The employee must see the customer select and pick up the item.
  3. The customer must see the customer conceal, carry, push or pull the item from its location.
  4. The employee must maintain uninterrupted observation of the customer from the original location of the item to the point of detention.
  5. The employee must see that the patron failed to pay for the item.
  6. The shoplifter must be approached outside the store or after the last point of sale.

By properly addressing shoplifting with the right tools and strategies, a retailer can effectively reduce shrink. S-Tron has over 20 years of uncompromising experience in helping retail establishments reach their security goals.

Retail Loss Prevention: 5 Ways to Maximize CCTV Systems

Retail theft, whether it is due to shoplifting or employee theft, is one of the biggest factors negatively impacting the profitability of any retail establishment. No matter how secure a store may be, there are always ways to improve security. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that you are maximizing your video surveillance and CCTV system to its full effectiveness.

A retail video surveillance and CCTV system is an essential part of any loss prevention strategy. Here are a few simple but critical ways you can maximize your system and reduce theft.

Prioritize Your Cameras

Most facilities do not have a surveillance system that covers every inch of the facility. There are many common reasons for this, including unique and challenging store lay out, physical obstructions, and budgetary issues. Take a close and critical look at the business layout and processes and prioritize what needs to be covered, then implement the security camera coverage accordingly.

Position Your Cameras Wisely

Often, a business owner will have an idea of the area that needs to be covered, but fails to consider the conditions under which it would be recording as well as the capabilities of the camera. Video surveillance camera placement is not just about the optimal angle, it is also about optimally using the camera’s features and capabilities within the given environment.

Maximize Your CCTV System with the Right Cameras

Consider the true needs of each area of coverage, and then match the type of camera to the need. In many cases, a facility does not need more cameras. It just needs the right kind for the application, whether you need to cover POS in fine detail or a way to better capture images over a wider space in challenging lighting.

Consider a CCTV System Upgrade

If you have had your CCTV system a while, consider investigating what options are available today. As security technology advances quickly, upgrading can have significant value to the business in many ways, in addition to loss prevention. The cost of upgrades is minimal compared to the added value.

Integrate Business Data with Video Surveillance

One of the most valuable ways to maximize your CCTV system is to integrate it with business intelligence. The insights provide a more in-depth view of the business so that you can stop loss, reduce shrinkage and improve processes. The insights you gain are immediate and actionable and the results are powerful.

Installing, upgrading, or integrating your retail CCTV system can foster profitability and peace of mind. Established in 1995 and headquartered in Melville, NY, S-TRON serves thousands of retail locations with distinction.

Are You Using Security Technologies Just for Loss Prevention?

If you are using security technologies just to protect the business from loss or intrusion, you might want to think again. Asset protection (AP) and loss prevention (LP) are both critical to the retail environment but using security technologies to just address these things can cripple a business that could and should be thriving.

Security Technologies and the Silo Effect

The silo effect, where one application, technology solution, or department sands alone to deliver on their one task or purpose can get a job done; but it never becomes the vehicle of success. The success of today’s business is taking a 360-degree view of the business with no preconceived ideas and addressing those needs across the whole, rather than in segments.
In the retail environment, companies have been struggling to overcome service and data silos for decades. It is recognized as one of the most significant barriers to delivering a consistent end-to-end customer experience. And the problem isn’t going anywhere until businesses get a true outside-in view of the business and understand why customers react the way they do, and where processes need to be improved. Fortunately, there is a powerful solution in retail security and video surveillance solutions.

All of Your Tools for Collaboration

Security, merchandising, operations, management, and marketing are all enhanced with one suite of tools—that of security electronics. By integrating transaction data with other things such as traffic count, loss prevention video, heat mapping, directional analytics, and dwell times—all of your employees and process can work together and leverage common knowledge for collective success.

On the Shoulder of Giants

Every department has expert knowledge of their department, but that knowledge can greatly improve the processes in other departments. Security technologies can gain insights from all departments and help you use that across the entire business.
For example, heat mapping and loss prevention security video can show a department why they have unusually high loss, or unusually low sales. Both could be a simple fix such as moving a display to create a sightline or increased customer visibility. A business could learn that sales are lost because of long lines, or that loss increases when employees are tied up at the register and be able to address both problems with a better queuing system. Real time retail video surveillance footage can reveal problems with processes and productivity which could be addressed with better training and increased management awareness.

Educating Vendors

Having a wealth of definitive data also helps educate vendors. Hot and cold data, for example, is useful in showing vendors where their products perform best within the store—which helps improve vendor relation and increases sales.
The retail market is one in which video surveillance and other security technologies can deliver significant and tangible return on investment. As a national electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies, S-Tron brings together a highly skilled and experienced team with in-depth understanding of security technologies and how to leverage them beyond security.

With over 20 years of uncompromising quality, S-Tron’s singular goal is client satisfaction.

Commercial Security for Retail Matters More Than You Think

One of the most valuable reports to any retailer is the National Retail Security Survey. The most recent, the 2016 report, reveals something every retailer knows. Theft hurts a business. In 2015, inventory shrink totaled $45.2 billion, up by $1.2 billion from the previous year. While the number is staggering, we can learn one very important lesson from how the numbers break down– commercial security for retail matters, a lot.

Shrinkage is an ENORMOUS Problem

But it could be worse. While the total amount of shrinkage is up, it represents the lowest percentage of sales in the survey’s history. So, retail sales is growing faster than the shrinkage. What is making the difference? The implementation of industry specific commercial security for retail. Since more retailers are implementing sophisticated loss prevention technologies, sales have increased.

Employee Theft is a Bigger Problem Than We Think

No employer wants a culture of suspicion, but the study reveals that preventing internal theft needs more attention. In 2014, internal loss broke down in this way:

  • Shoplifting 37%
  • Internal Theft 35%
  • Paperwork Errors 17%
  • Vendor Fraud 7%
  • Unknown Loss 6%

This means that internal theft is just as concerning as shoplifting! But internal theft is also more sensitive to handle, and much more personal. No employer wants to believe a trusted employee is stealing, and obtaining sufficient evidence of criminal activity is very difficult without the help of sophisticated loss prevention technologies. The narrowing margin between loss and percentage of sales indicates that the increased usage of POS systems, access control, and remote access.

Implementing Loss Prevention Solutions is a Win

The commercial security industry is rapidly advancing, and retailers realize the value in implementing these technologies in loss prevention. Most retail store owners report adjusting their security budget, allocating more money for electronic solutions, and seeing the reduction in loss.

Spending Wisely is a Must

No matter the size of the security budget, retailers are realizing that those funds must be spent wisely. This means leveraging the knowledge of electronic security and retail loss professionals who both understand the capabilities of the individual technologies as well as the complexities and demands of individual retail establishments. More retailers are seeing the importance of having a professional recommend solutions that can be fully integrated to provide valuable actionable intelligence which results in a lower total cost of ownership.

S-Tron specializes in retail loss prevention and commercial solutions to help retailers leverage data to target loss prevention and drive sales. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Critical Reasons Your Retail Business Needs End-to-End Security

A recent industry study noted that most businesses (nearly 60%) monitor less than half of their valuable assets with video surveillance systems. This statistic does not include how many businesses thoroughly and effectively safeguard other aspects of the business, such as POI, entrances, and exits, or the overall business. This means that critical aspects of most businesses are left under or unprotected.

How Businesses Fail

In addition to under-utilizing security cameras and CCTV, responders to the survey reveal another problem—a failure to utilize analytics. Fewer than half actively monitor footage or use it to gain important business insights. The majority of users only store the footage and review it if a crime is suspected. Additionally, businesses fail to upkeep and upgrade security equipment frequently enough, resulting in incompatible technologies and low-quality images, among other issues.

Sharp Images Matter

Just having a video surveillance system is not good enough. The system must be able to provide quality images to be of ultimate advantage. Sharp images are necessary for identifying crime and those who commit them as well as in gaining important business insights that can help improve things like customer service and profitability.

Analytics Are Priceless

When most think of video surveillance and CCTV, they think of it in relation to deterring or spotting crime. However, these systems can also provide incredible insights on how the business works, or doesn’t. By tapping into that information, a business owner can spot issues in productivity, quality control, or traffic flow.

End-to-end Solutions Improve Security

Even better than security cameras and CCTV alone, when paired with intrusion detection and access control systems security and other advantages are multiplied exponentially. Together, problems are identified sooner and an emergency response initiated much more quickly.

Better Solutions Put Time on Your Side

Surveillance, security, and access control integrated systems put time on your side. While surveillance systems can spot someone committing a crime or in a restricted area, it still takes someone to see it to initiate a response. When paired with access control, you can be alerted to activity and initiate a response immediately.

End-to-end Solutions Improve the Cost Model for Security

Investing in security is important and businesses want to get the most out of their system as possible. Having and end-to-end solution makes that possible.  For example, having quality cameras means you can cover more area effectively which allows you to delegate funds toward access control solutions. Together these reduce loss more significantly than one or the other alone.

S-TRON Security Electronics is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies. For more information, call us today.

Is Mobile Security Management a Necessity? 6 Reasons Why You Need It.

One of the top concerns of a business owner is keeping the business safe. As important as this is, it is a tough task and heavy burden when trying to manage this and all of the other needs of the business at the same time. It is even more difficult if you have multiple locations.

For any business owner, having integrated Mobile Security Management can help balance the obligations. Rather than “one more thing” to have to think about, it is an easy application that allows you to access your security system from anywhere, anytime. But how do you know you need it? Here are six reasons it can take a load off your shoulders.

You Spend Time Away from Work

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, spending time away from work can create some problems in managing security and operations. This is one reason so many business owners are so reluctant to be away from the business even for a day. Mobile Security management solves the problems by allowing owners to set up text alerts and emails and receive them directly to a smartphone. Not only are you the first to know if something goes wrong, you can act by arming or disarming the system or changing administration codes on the go, remotely.

You Want to Avoid Opens or Early Closes

If you are away from your business, it is hard to know if your employees are adhering to business hours. Shorting hours is a problem that can seriously bite in to profitability but one that is easily solved with Mobile Security Management. It allows users to monitor site activity 24/7 vis alerts so that you always know that employees follow the proper schedules.

Receiving Packages and Product Delivers or Schedule Maintenance After Hours

Providing access codes is always a risky proposition and scheduling an employee after hours creates a whole host of problems. By using the mobile application, you can disarm the security system as needed and arm it again once the delivery is complete or maintenance job finished with just the touch of a button.

You Have Multiple Locations or Plan to Expand

As a business owner, you wear many hats and your time is stretched to the limits. This may make you wonder if managing the security of multiple sites is even a possibility. Mobile Security Management makes it makes it easy to interact with multiple sites, cutting down your work and worries.

You Would Like to Know What is Going on While You Are Away

It is a natural and predictable reaction—people perform better when there is the possibility of being watched. Mobile security provides this advantage through alerts and video clips. Additionally, having the ability to see what goes on in your absence can help you improve productivity and customer service in addition to streamlining your security.

You’d Like a Better Balance Between work and Life

Work is an important part of your life, but it is not your whole life. Even if work requires your attention 24/7, you can still use the management tools to transform your time away. With Mobile Security Management, you can stay completely informed without sacrificing down time.

S-TRON understands the needs of the grocery, retail, c-store, restaurant and hospitality market, and delivers solutions that alleviate the problems and empower the owner. If you would like strategies and tools to deal with ongoing security challenges, Call S-TRON today.

7 Ways to Maximize Your Security Investment

As a business owner, you have done all the right and practical things to protect your business like keeping the grounds well-lit, and keeping landscaping simple, cut back, and low to the ground. You have also invested in a security system with features such as intrusion detection, access control and video surveillance that help keep your employees and customers safe.

Security systems are a necessary and worthwhile investment, but did you know that your security equipment can do much more than provide protection?  This same equipment can give you a competitive edge and improve your business.

Security is Your New Superpower

Security systems aren’t just for security any more. That same system can be one of the most powerful tools you have in mitigating risks, reducing cost, and improving productivity and customer service. Here are just a few of the nearly endless ways you can maximize your security system investment.

  • False liability claims are one of the costliest problems a business can encounter. A quick review of your high definition recorded video can help to quickly alleviate or reject those costly claims, and keep the swindlers out of your profits.
  • You can also use your security system to gain marketing insights by remotely viewing how customers react to product placement, in-store marketing, and store-layout. Gaining this insight lets you make swift adjustments to help increase your sales and profits.
  • Rather than be over or under staffed, know the ebb and flow of each day in the month and schedule accordingly.
  • Remote video surveillance can also provide insight about where employees need more training. Proper training can help reduce loss, costs, and injuries.
  • Another valuable way to use your security systems is to ensure excellent customer service. One bad experience can send a customer to the business down the street—for good.
  • Great security can also prove you are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws showing that your employees are performing critical duties as they should.
  • Video surveillance can also provide insight on what employees do when business is slow, such as find a job to do or hop on their cell phone.

Stretching Your Investment

Improving security was probably your main objective in choosing your security system. But the money you spent to protect your business, employees and customers can serve other important non-security needs that can maximize that investment and make your business as profitable and competitive as possible. The great news is that it does not take anything more than you already have to provide huge additional advantage!

S-TRON is an electronic security integrator serving regional and national retail and hospitality companies. S-TRON delivers real solutions that help alleviate the real world problems and challenges these industries face.