Employee theft in the workplace costs U.S. businesses $50 billion per year. Theft can especially be an issue for smaller businesses with a lot more to lose. The produce industry is unique in that all products are consumable, and so when something is stolen, it can be hard to prove.
But fruits and vegetables are not the only things that can be stolen—accounting theft is another hard-to-spot form of stealing in produce businesses that tends to be more long-term. It’s equally as damaging, and impacts both your business’ profit margins and your bottom line.
Knowing how to protect yourself against theft reduces its prevalence and minimizes the impact on your business. Here are some ways to prevent employee theft in your produce business, and how Silo’s features help you keep track of all your business needs.
1. Implement ERP solutions with useful features
Once produce is stolen and eaten, how can you know if something was taken? And even a step further: how do you figure out what’s missing? Enterprise resource planning systems are the solution to this conundrum.
Produce businesses that invest in inventory management tools benefit from tracking systems that increase visibility and provide more oversight, so you’ll know exactly when something is missing and how much of something is gone. Inventory tracking works best when done correctly and consistently, and pen and paper methods are ineffective and create room for error.
Look for ERP solutions like Silo that also offer accounting features to give you a clearer picture of every payment and receipt. Ideally, you’d have an all-in-one dashboard that reconciles expenses with inventory, while providing useful insights so you can discover trends you wouldn’t normally notice otherwise.
2. Establish and enforce rules
While it’s easy to think of theft as something that wouldn’t happen to you, there are plenty of example cases of produce employee theft out there, so it’s important to establish and enforce rules wherever possible. This sets the tone that theft will not be tolerated and will discourage employees stealing from their company.
Produce theft can include an employee taking from your business’ inventory without permission, either to distribute to friends and family or for themselves. While tasting the inventory is the norm, continuous snacking, while it may seem like a small infraction, adds up over time.
One solution is to designate a minor portion of your inventory for employees to snack on if they want, but otherwise, developing and implementing policies against taking without permission ensures your employees understand what is and isn’t allowed.
Accounting theft, on the other hand, can include various incidents, such as an employee setting up fake accounts payable to siphon funds from your business. Although you can reasonably assume that employees know not to commit fraud, you should, as a business owner, communicate the importance of transparency.
When employee theft does happen, your response can affect whether an employee re-offends. In less severe cases of theft, send a clear warning and remind them of the policies that have been established.
3. Consider how you store your produce
Are your business’ freezers locked up at the end of the day? Who has access to units of produce? How visible are they to all employees? Are they positioned near an exit?
Thinking about how your produce is stored can help prevent employees from stealing fruit or vegetables on a greater scale. Something as simple as creating distance between your products and an exit can go a long way, as well as having only one designated entrance and exit for employees.
Ensure that once business hours end, everything is locked and secure.
4. Incentivize employees to report theft
Encourage workers to speak up when they witness employee theft.
Additionally, you may have to assess why the theft is occurring in the first place. Is it a case of having one bad apple, or is there something larger at play? While it’s not out of the realm of possibility that employees steal because they feel like it, others may turn to theft in desperate times.
It helps to assess whether you’re paying employees enough, if you’re offering the right perks, and if you’re creating a good working environment. Not only will it instill a sense of loyalty in employees and discourage stealing, but being fair encourages workers to report when someone does act in bad faith.
Manage your inventory better with Silo
Employee theft can have a significant impact on small and large business owners. ERP solutions reduce the likelihood of stealing and lessen the impact of theft when it does occur.
Silo is a produce ERP solution that exists to empower businesses in the perishable supply chain. Key features include inventory management, lot tracking and traceability, and accounting to ensure your business remains fraud and theft-free.
Our platform’s inventory management features allow you to take a proactive approach to tracking inventory with efficiency and real-time clarity. With Silo, your inventory will remain organized and ready to ship out at a moment’s notice. Costs and produce are reconciled all in one place for better expense tracking.
You can also receive real-time updates from anywhere for greater visibility. Track the flow of goods across state lines and beyond, and reconcile all inbound and outbound orders.
Silo’s lot tracking and traceability feature eliminates the guesswork by increasing visibility so you can accurately source the details of your produce. You’ll truly know your inventory with an expanded field of vision that includes comprehensive lot tracking and produce traceability tools.
Get insight into a lot’s history and current status, with information on availability, profitability, quality, and waste. And if you need to notify a customer or vendor about a recall, all the data you need is just a few clicks away.
Our accounting feature is an easy-to-use solution for all your expense management needs. Receive unparalleled operational visibility to connect the dots, with one source of truth for every sale, expense, customer, and payment.
Accurate intel and reporting with Silo eliminates miscommunications, while automation helps you monitor what’s important while outsourcing the rest to Silo.
Plus, Silo integrates with third-party platforms. If you’d rather stick with your current accounting software, Silo integrates with Quickbooks to enhance your current experience.