Removing Avenues for Theft

We may not be able to prevent the very determined employee from stealing, but a well-designed Point of Sale can make it more difficult. The first step in removing opportunities for theft is to identify what those opportunities are. Managers and/or human resource personnel will probably be able to provide many examples of employees who have been caught stealing—and how they did it.

Once potential theft scenarios have been catalogued and prioritized, the next step is to remove as many as can be resonably removed. Every company will have its own unique needs, so the solutions will vary significatly from client to client. Also, dealing with theft issues has a high potential for creating undesirable side effects (such as reducing speed), do designers need to be cautious in deciding what to try and tackle.

That said, here are a few examples of actions I've taken in past situations:

  • Making the POS smarter as to when the drawer should be opened following a sale.
  • Removing "No Sale" and other options by which the user can open the cash drawer without a transaction.
  • Making it cumbersome to void all the items in an order, one right after another.
  • Preventing certain adjustments to already-rung items when such adjustments were unlikely to stem from a customer's request.
  • Providing increased "granularity" of manager controls—allowing them, for instance, to give greater lattitude during busy times when theft was less likely.

When reviewing this list (or when deciding what actions to take), it's important to note that "removing" an option might not necessarily mean "removing altogether". Depending on the situation, important options can be moved to manager-only areas and/or protected by an authentication layer.