Dear small business counselor:
I am not yet two years in business but I am fairly satisfied with the way my new business is running. I am in the road signage business and because local governments are my clients, marketing is not too difficult once I had been able to build my reputation as a quality manufacturer.
My problem is pilferage and I suspect some of my own workmen might be the culprits. In the business, we use expensive vinyl stickers for producing the signages. Lately, our records keep showing missing, half-used stickers which could have been recycled for many useful purposes, especially in making smaller signs and decals. I do not want to incur the hostility of my workers .. I treat them as family. What can I do?
I am also afraid of other security threats such as fire, earthquake, Ondoy-like floods, etc.
Cris de V.
Pasig, Metro Manila
Hi Cris de V.
You must establish policies and safeguards to ensure awareness and honesty among your personnel.
Most modern businesses have a person that ensures security not only in terms of outside threats but also of insider pilferage. This could be a security guard, a foreman or his assistant whose job description may include keeping an eye on worker movements.
Be sure you have a system to monitor inventory of stocks. Because computer systems can be used to defraud as well as keep records, you should check into a computer security program.
Consider taking seminars on how to spot and deter pilfering and how to handle cash and merchandise; it is time and money well spent.
Finally, careful screening when hiring can be your best ally against crime.
Also consider developing a plan for coping with disaster as part of your security measures. It is impossible to predict when fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, explosion or other disaster will strike. Being prepared–with a spare set of essential, regularly updated business records kept off premises–can spell the difference between when or if you will reopen for business after the emergency is controlled.
And here is additional advice from Dr. Herminia R. Fajardo, SERDEF trustee (as given in the comment box):
I suggest a simple inventory control system – Each worker signs for the vinyl sticker when issued each morning, and returns excess to stock at the end of work day. You should, however, determine first the cost of maintaining a person to control issue and receipt against quantity lost each day.