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How to record inventory shrinkage: streamlining retail theft documentation

By Carl Rysdon, Vice President, Retail Industry


With internal and external retail theft on the rise, managing increasing case volume with existing staff is critical — here’s how digitization and process automation can help.

Read time: 4 minutes

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Retail Security Survey of retail loss prevention, retail shrink is an almost $100 billion problem. Theft, loss, and inventory shrinkage are a fact of life for retailers — unfortunately, this issue isn't going away anytime soon.

Loss prevention and shoplifting cases involve significant documentation and hours of paperwork. Whether you’re handling this internally or are working with a third party that assists retailers, manually documenting these events can be time consuming and allows room for errors. Fortunately, there are ways to simplify the overall task.

How can digitization and process automation save time when documenting shoplifting cases?

It's no surprise retail theft is at an all-time high as businesses must do more with fewer people, creating a challenging dichotomy.

Someone enters the store and attempts to leave with stolen merchandise. Whether the shoplifter got away or was captured, documenting the incident can create hours of paperwork for your staff.

Store managers must now document all the stolen items so law enforcement can prosecute shoplifters or ensure restitution. If it's an "inside job" or employee theft situation, human resources professionals are involved. That means even more paperwork. Integrating a document management system as an inventory shrinkage solution can help.

Retailers must assimilate and share information such as paperwork, online forms, video surveillance with law enforcement, human resources, loss prevention resources, and more to effectively capture everything needed to document and correctly follow through on theft cases.

To effectively manage increased caseloads, the documentation process must be as efficient and complete as possible.

Retailers can combat time-consuming paperwork by leveraging the same business process improvement systems that streamline processes for everything from medical claims and legal operations to check processing to supply chain and more through a combination of digitization, change management, process automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

83% of employees recreate missing documents¹

What is document management?

Document management is how you file, store, retrieve, manage, share, and secure your business documents. You may already have a form of document management. For example, storing Word docs and Excel spreadsheets on your computer is managing documents. Using filing cabinets to store paper documents is another form of document management.

Today, you're most likely storing digital files like Word, Excel, PDF, image, and various others you use daily. Of course, the challenge with digital files (which tend to accumulate quickly) is organizing and making them easy for anyone to retrieve. That's where a document management system becomes helpful.

A digital document management system can be used as one of many inventory shrinkage solutions for retailers. You can save, manage, and share official paperwork, online documentation, video surveillance footage, and other vital information related to theft or inventory shrinkage cases. Permissions can be set to allow team members specific access to view or edit information anytime, anywhere, making it perfect for hybrid retail workers.

Related content

What is a document management system?

83% of employees recreate missing documents

According to business.com, a significant employee productivity loss is due to manual document management. If an employee is asked for a document and can’t find it on the company’s network, they’ll waste time recreating it for their local database. This practice becomes exhausting for employees and can lead to errors — and it can easily be avoided with cloud-based solutions and centralizing documents.

What is document lifecycle management?

Certain documents, like invoices, have specific lifecycle requirements — by law, you must keep them for a minimum amount of time.

With digital documentation management, retailers can establish clear processes for both retaining and deleting different documents, which can be securely controlled and automated with specific retention periods and admin rights appointed.

Can a digital document management system help reduce costs?

Storing paper can be expensive. Opting for antiquated offsite filing systems and storage as part of your document lifecycle management or for document protection increases costs.

Digital document management is a cloud-based application residing in a data center — no onsite hardware infrastructure or hardware support exists. No need for additional square footage to accommodate hardware, plus it’s rather simple to implement.

Your IT teams don’t have to order, build, or install servers — you rarely have software to load. There’s a chance some systems may have apps installed locally. However, with the advantages the cloud offers, this is highly unlikely.

See more about why organizations choose digital document management

Contact us to learn more, or if you’re an existing Ricoh customer, speak with your rep about implementing a document management system.

Carl Image.jpg
Carl has and continues to successfully partner with many of the top global retailers and CPG brands to help them better serve their consumers and improve their bottom lines via a wide range of business transformation solutions in all areas of operation.

Carl Rysdon

Vice President, Retail Industry

Ricoh USA

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  1. 1. https://www.business.com/articles/7-statistics-that-will-make-you-rethink-your-document-management-strategy/