Ten Signs You Should Invest in Loss Prevention

In the business of security, loss prevention is one of the top reasons that clients will call for assistance. Loss prevention doesn’t have to just include having a guard on site or a mobile patrol. It can be any form of theft deterrence from signs to cameras, spot checks, and alarms.

Although all businesses should really have some form of loss prevention, even if it’s just a sign, there are a lot of businesses that aren’t experiencing a problem, and they are focused on doing what they do best – running their business. They often put loss prevention on the back burner, maybe thinking they should look into it, but often, don’t get around to it until it’s too late, and something happens. This can now cost the business owner thousands in insurance, lost products, and missed opportunities.

It’s better not to wait until it’s too late, and work with a reputable agency – even if it’s just a security consult to point out areas of weaknesses and provide ideas as to how to protect yourself.

Here are ten signs that you should make loss prevention your top priority.

You are experiencing shrinkage more than a nominal amount or an increased amount of shrinkage – Sometimes businesses will go long periods of time with only a nominal, and what’s considered normal – amount of shrinkage. Then all of a sudden, the number goes up by 4% or 5%. You may think nothing’s changed, and may have a hard time pin pointing the problem, but this is a good indication that something has changed. It could be a new employee, a new vendor, someone who has been scoping out the business for a while and has decided to act on weaknesses in security. Without someone who has experience, it can be hard to determine what areas are weak.

You have a business office and valuable papers or assets are left there when the office is closed – a small startup with minimal assets would not require the same protection as a company that has several assets, valuable papers and records that are left at an office overnight unprotected. Not all sites will require the presence of a security guard, however, measures should be taken if you have items in your office such as computers, printers, records, and other electronic equipment.

You have a busy season – If your business experiences certain times of the year where there is a significant increase in business, you would in the least want measures in place during these times. If you have measures in place all year, you may want to ramp up your security measures during your busy season as criminals will watch and look for weaknesses. A good example is the retail industry. Many stores in malls and stand-alone stores will hire a security guard as there is a high volume of people through the stores and it is easy for staff to miss a criminal taking items.

You work with a lot of cash – if you have high volumes of cash, this is an easy target for criminals. Some measures such as cameras, may catch criminals in action, but typically they will cover their faces and may not protect you or your money. During bank runs with large sums of cash, you can place your money in a less obvious place to carry it.  You can also place the safe in a hidden location, and keep a cheaper decoy safe in a more obvious location. You can keep minimal cash in this safe, or just papers.

You have more than one access point into your store or building – having multiple access points into a building makes it harder for business owners to protect themselves and constantly keep a good eye and spot suspicious people and activity. As all access points may not be visible from the same spot, it becomes difficult to see who’s coming, and who’s going, and with what.

You have employees – Most people think that shrinkage is a problem prevalent only in the retail sector. A study conducted by PWC in 2012 revealed shrinkage is also prevalent in the IT, manufacturing, construction and distribution sectors as well.

Although most employees are honest, hardworking individuals, we have seen more than our fair share of shrinkage from internal sources – employees. Businesses place lots of trust and faith in their employees, and the 2012 PWC study also revealed 33% of shrinkage comes from internal sources – employees. Fortunately, there are many measures that can help with this. If you can, a loss prevention person, or team can help set up stock rooms, install cameras, and ensure products are appropriately locked.

You have had a break in/theft before – Unfortunately, once you have had a break in once, some thieves will wait until enough time has passed so that you file your claim with insurance, replace the stolen goods, only to come back and steal them again. If you have had a break in, use it as a learning experience to determine access points, and weak areas in security, and ramp it up.

There have been issues with criminal activity in your area – every city or town has it – the area of high crime and theft, drug use, and other criminal activity. If your business happens to be located in this area, you will want extra security measures. An alarm, mobile spot checks, video surveillance, safes, steel doors, upgraded locks. Take a look around the property regularly and look for weak spots or potential areas where access could be gained.

Your business is growing – fast – Businesses that are growing fast are often a challenge in terms of loss prevention. Business owners and managers have so much to focus on, loss prevention becomes a lower priority, until something happens. Thieves are constantly looking for the next opportunity, so don’t let your business be the next one.

You own or manage a business – Really, if you own a business and have assets, and valuables, you can never be too safe or invest in loss prevention too soon. All of the measures above can be taken, or you could feel safe with the minimal measures, a camera, or a sign as visual deterrence, or anything in between. At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable and be able to have peace of mind when you are not at the office.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be the next victim of theft, vandalism or other criminal activity. It’s never a bad idea to look into loss prevention methods. Do some research, hire professional people to assist, and make sure you’re comfortable with the measures being taken. If you don’t feel like it’s enough, get more. If you feel it’s too much, ask yourself what your potential losses are and if the costs of loss prevention outweigh the possible losses.