Advice for the Little Guy
While a separate department works for a retailer as large as AAFES, it is not necessarily a practical option for a smaller dealer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to control loss, said Jeanette Howe, specialty electronics, Nationwide Buying Group. She has seen software programs and other technologies, such as RFID tags and UPC systems, curb theft. But, she added, “For most small dealers, it’s not in their realm yet.”
Howe points to one simple function: inventory. Though a seemingly obvious method, she said many retailers don’t count inventory often enough to help curb theft. “Inventory is money,” she said, admitting that conducting an inventory check once a month can appear to be a burden. “It gets better, if you do it every month,” she said. “If something disappears, you know.” She also suggested putting GPS tracking devices in delivery or service trucks, explaining that knowing where your trucks are can help ensure employees aren’t taking vehicles where they shouldn’t.
Even a large retailer understands this. Richard Cubbage says that, in addition to increased tracking, the AAFES instituted an annual storewide inventory to help with loss reduction.