Employee theft is a crime that costs U.S. businesses an estimated $50 billion each year, according to Statistic Brain. More commonly known as embezzlement, it is the crime of an employee taking the personal property of the employer, which was entrusted to that employee. Theft can lead to companies closing businesses and shutting down warehouses because they are literally being “robbed blind”. Employees steal for a variety of reasons, such as feeling that they have been wronged by their employer, or that they are “owed” by the employer, as a form of retaliation or because an opportunity presents itself. The loss can create major financial repercussions for businesses. When stealing an employee may believe there is too much inventory in the warehouse and nobody will even notice, or that closeouts are not worth much and liquidating inventory means the inventory has no value. But stealing is stealing any way you look at it.
Closeout companies and liquidators may have a hard time recognizing stealingbecause there may be less control in the warehouse to begin with. Closeouts can be very challenging to manage under the best of circumstances because when companies liquidate inventory it is often messy and not in original factory cases. This leads to overstock merchandise in various packs that thief may think will not be missed. Closeout buyers may have too much inventory in the warehouse making it difficult to know when something has gone missing. Stealing puts a huge financial strain on cash flow, and in many cases leads to companies shutting down warehouses and closing businesses.
Cash is one of the most common assets stolen from an employer. It is readily accessible in cash registers, safes and other locations to which employees may have access. Employees also commonly steal closeouts and other overstock inventory that is not closely monitored to sell or to use at home. Companies that buy excess inventory may not have elaborate inventory control measure in place, leading to employees taking overstock housewares, Amazon liquidations and other discontinued inventory. This may include warehouse supplies like pens, paper or computers. In restaurants, employees may steal food, condiments or dishware. Even if the value of the cash or supplies stolen is relatively low, a continued volume over time can create significant loss. When an employee devises a scheme to steal or misuse company services or resources, such as inventory or cash, it is known as asset misappropriation. Asset misappropriation is the most common type of fraud that occurs within small businesses, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
With the right tools, screening techniques like psychometric tests and background checks make it possible to identify people who may be more tempted than others to steal. Psychometric tests, which are offered and run by a variety of organizations that help businesses screen applicants, include "integrity" tests that assess attitudes and experiences related to honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, reliability, and pro-social behavior, according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Closeout companies specialize in buying dead stock, closeouts and overstock merchandise from importers that have too much inventory in the warehouse. High storage fees are a problem and it is much cheaper to get rid of old inventory now vs shutting down a warehouse filled with old inventory later. Closeout liquidators are professional and experienced buyers when it comes to buying obsolete inventory. These liquidators understand the discount market and know how to get rid of old inventory quickly without further eating into profits. Sometimes if a business owner is closing a business and has too much inventory, he/she will contact closeout buyers and closeout websites to help liquidate inventory.
If the stealing persists, there may be no alternative other than shutting down the 3PL warehouse or moving warehouses entirely and starting with new people. Wholesale liquidation companies are accustomed to having high turnover of employees due to stealing. Closeout companies, closeout brokers and closeout websites are all in the same situation when it comes to controlling inventory – it’s a big problem. Overstock buyers can devise an inventory management system that helps keep track of wholesale merchandise bought on closeout so it is easier to monitor. Every company has to deal with excess inventory, but if it can be better managed there is less chance it will be stolen.
Employee theft, even on a small scale, can result in big costs, particularly for small businesses. General work rules typically include provisions prohibiting theft by employees, but you may want to consider a specific policy targeting theft if you feel it's warranted. The first thing you should know in combating theft by employees is how to detect it. Detecting theft can be difficult, especially if the thief is good at what he or she does. Liquidation sales are an easy mark because they are often fast moving closeout sales without a lot of people around and with a high level of activity. Closeout websites selling Amazon FBA liquidations have more control over their inventory than a physical warehouse or retail store. Closeout brokers often don’t have their own employees so they don’t have to deal with this. Closeout brokers will often find closeouts from company A and drop ship them to company B without ever actually handling the inventory. These closeout buyers may have a different set of problems because they are excess inventory liquidators yet the merchandise moves without them ever actually seeing it. Companies that liquidate inventory often have to be able to see the shipments in order to understand the best way to price and sell everything. Closeouts don’t have a set value so it is often important to touch and feel the merchandise in order to determine the best prices for liquidation merchandise and overstock inventory.
Here are some signs to be on the lookout for if you suspect that an employee is stealing from you: missing merchandise or supplies, vehicles parked close to exits, an employee's vehicle parked in a loading area, unlocked exits, unusual working hours, poor work performance or unjustified complaints about employment
Merchandise USA buys excess inventory, obsolete merchandise, surplus inventory and other discontinued merchandise. We sell to closeout websites, closeout brokers and liquidation buyers. We buy and sell toys, home décor, housewares, sporting goods, lawn and garden and craft closeouts.