Looting the Business One Staple at a Time

A friend told me an interesting story the other day.

Her Client called her into the office one day and he was beside himself.

“August is a dead month .. we don’t send out much in terms of marketing and don’t have any presentations as everyone is on holiday escaping the heat..

“So tell me … why have our supply of stationary decreased by 60% this month?”

My friend had her suspicions as to why.

“Before I answer you let’s look at what happened to stationary over the last 3 years…”

They pulled up her client’s systems and quickly discovered that every year there were larger than average stationary orders in September to replace larger than average depletion of their stationary in August.

They looked at each other…

School…

The employees were taking out school supplies from the stationary room.. box of pens here.. A4 paper there.. etc.

Now each employee wasn’t setting out to rob the place.

Who would notice a box of pens they thought… or one ream of A4 Paper?

It wasn’t really about saving a dollar for these employees. For many, it was about escaping a trip to the store and fighting traffic and the mob all coming at the same time to buy school supplies.

“So who should I fire?” asked the Client.

“No one..” replied my friend..

“But you will make it clear you know what’s going on and it’s unacceptable..”

“So how do I do that?”

My friend pulled out a notebook and quickly scribbled a table on it.

“We’re going to lock all the stationary in this one closet. There will be one key who you will place with Janet. Anytime one of your staff need stationary they will need to go to Janet and sign it out on this log form.

“And Janet will be accountable for the stationary supplies.”


“You know George.. after the client put this simple process in place they never had to make another stationary order in September as the stationary never disappeared at August.

“Janet never had to put in any extra overtime as she only had to sign out stationary now and then as the staff requested only what they needed – for the work they were actually being paid to do.”

“But most importantly, it set a clear message that theft would not be tolerated. That every asset of the business from the lowliest pen to the big machines were valuable and should be respected and treated as such.


How about you? Do you have the culture and simple processes in place to put your staff on the same train you are trying to guide for greater profits and prosperity?

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