This issue is causing another trend in the retail industry—a rise in funds for combating ORC and theft. The NRF’s study showed a steady increase in the amount of dollars spent to battle ORC. Admittedly, the survey indicates the increase may be due to how the question was asked in previous surveys, but it also points out that respondents reported more awareness of the problem at the executive level. In other words, upper management wants the problem dealt with.
It was exactly this kind of thinking that led Cubbage to where he is today, a member of an eight-person loss prevention department at the AAFES. While he has been with the company for 10 years, it wasn’t until March 2005 that a centralized group was organized to more efficiently track and put a stop to theft. But ORC isn’t the only problem. Individual employee theft and fraud is also causing consternation and can be just as complex to uncover. “Employee theft [industry-wide] has been on a steady climb,” Cubbage said. “It’s a fast growing problem.”
The AAFES’ loss prevention group communicates with nearly 110 field security people and tracks monthly reports, looking for any irregularities that may warrant investigation. In the case for which Cubbage was awarded, it all started with just such a report. “We run various reports that rank all the cashiers in each region,” he said, adding that a segment of the report lists any transactions a cashier makes that is not a typical sale, such as a zero-dollar or refund transaction. It was here Cubbage found a discrepancy.