Business Transformation Study
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DTiQ Business Transformation Case Study
Our Management team is relatively small and as a result we tend to wear many hats. The DTiQ system is proving to be important for several team members in different ways.
Surveillance is critical for our operation. In comparison to restaurants where multiple employees are working at any given time, convenience stores tend to have fewer people on duty at a time – as few as one person at certain times. That means that management may not always be around; monitoring the store and fuel islands is challenging.
“Our ability to view individual transactions is critical, and POS integration is a key part of this process.”
Our ability to view individual transactions is critical, and POS integration is a key part of this process. From a Loss Prevention standpoint, DTiQ allows us to monitor vendor, employee and customer activity – what is going in and out of the backdoor? What was delivered? Did an employee receive product? Was trash taken out? Were boxes flattened before being thrown away or removed by vendors? We also monitor for any safety hazards to help ensure that we are minimizing threats to customers or employees.
The exterior cameras are also crucial – we need to know what’s going on at the fuel islands, including customer accidents, damage to company equipment, customer/ employee interactions, fuel spills, etc. The video helps us to quickly view incidents, document how they occurred, and aid in determining next steps.
DTiQ also assists Management with video that verifies our employees are checking appropriate identification for age-restricted sales: alcohol and tobacco.
DTiQ System Utilization
Our stores are spread across the 4 corners of Arizona so we manage an entire multi-unit operation more or less remotely!
As a result, perhaps even more than other businesses, surveillance is vital for us as it provides the opportunity to check in without having Management physically present.
We use the Live View portion of the MyDTT™ portal daily to dial into all our stores and get a good idea of what’s happening across all areas of our operation. With the MyDTT™ portal, we find the Case Management software useful because of the need to review and document store-level incidents. In the past, if an incident occurred someone needed to go to the location and burn footage from a local DVR. DTiQ does the work collecting the data and we simply review the video of each incident.
Also, we monitor and act on information from our SmartAudit™ reports directly. The audits are shared with supervisors who will address any operational concerns with store employees. It’s a two-way process for us – we look for coaching opportunities as well as chances to compliment appropriate behaviors. Both serve an important purpose. The reports are a check list for making sure that standard operating procedure is being followed.
Employees are certainly aware that we have a system in place and they recognize that our management team acts on information provided by the system.
DTiQ in Real Life Situations
In several actual incidents since installation of the upgraded DTiQ systems, the systems have provided important details and clarifications (customer incidents, an employee accident, and an armed robbery), helping the company to rapidly and accurately determine appropriate courses of action. In an emergency, DTiQ provides immediate and critical documentation. Additionally, DTiQ can provide objective reports with their Forensic Investigations.
It’s clear that the system will greatly assist us in our handling of employee coaching/counseling, customer incidents, loss prevention and control, safety and related areas. DTiQ is providing us with timely and useful data on what we are doing at our stores and how we are interacting with customers. All the features you’d expect to see from a sophisticated surveillance and loss prevention service are provided by DTiQ.
We have been using the new DTiQ system for only a few months, and are still learning its capabilities and determining how to best utilize its attributes and features. That said, we recognize that the new DTiQ systems are a powerful tool in helping us to better manage our operations, and are a wise investment.
About Express Stop
Express Stop AZ, LLC is headquartered in Mesa, AZ and leases and operates 19 Express Stop locations in Arizona – primarily in non-metropolitan areas and along the freeways/ highways. Express Stop markets fuel products through branded locations (Shell, Chevron and Union 76) as well as through independent locations (Express Fuel). The company is locally owned, and Express Stop stores have been serving Arizona for more than twenty years – with an emphasis on outstanding customer service and facility cleanliness. For contact information please visit us at www.expressstopaz.com.
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DTiQ Uncovers Internal Theft at SUBWAY® Store
I have been a DTiQ customer since 2007. At that time I did not have any interest in the SmartAudit™ service. A recent experience at one of my stores taught me otherwise. If I’d signed up for the service at that time, I could have potentially prevented significant cash loss.
Back in October, I received a complimentary SmartAudit™ from DTiQ that indicated possible fraud. I requested a more thorough look into the situation and DTiQ’s Forensic Investigation clearly indicated that an employee had been ringing up fraudulent transactions dating back to July of 2012. Approximately $13.00 per hour worked was stolen over a 15 month timeframe.
“There’s a cost to having DTiQ of course but the system pays for itself over and over and over again because I’m able to catch and prevent fraud.”
The employee managed to pocket money using the item correct feature on our registers. She rang up items ordered and stated the amount to the customer; while the customer was gathering cash, she item corrected the tender to $0. The employee would collect cash from the customer and place it in the register, then calculate the customer’s change.
While doing cash balances, where cash was to be placed in an envelope, the employee was seen on camera keeping some bills on a shelf, not in the envelope. At the end of her shift, she’d retrieve the loose cash and place it in her purse or jacket.
Looking at the POS transactions from this employee’s shift, it was clear that the majority of cash transactions were item corrected. If a credit card was used for payment, all red negatives from the last few cash transactions were visible. This is how DTiQ was able to quantify all item corrects.
In the event that a customer asked for a receipt, the employee would have to re-ring the transaction without item correcting. So, receipts and credit card transactions posed a barrier for her scheme.
Admitting Theft + Filing a Report
I contacted the employee over the phone and stated that she was terminated for stealing. She did not question it. A couple of weeks later, she sent me a text message admitting to stealing.
At the end of December I filed a report with the police department and was able to give them a flash drive with DTiQ’s Forensic Investigation and video clips showing the employee taking money. It was a very complete package.
If the employee admits to stealing only $1,000 it is considered a felony. I did also file an insurance claim and I know they will be going after her to recoup their losses.
A Learning Experience
I know there is fraud going on at every restaurant in the world in different ways. It is up to the owner to determine how much they want to know. How much time, effort, and money do they want to spend on uncovering it? Do the potential findings outweigh the cost of the system? Now, I can confidently say that those costs are justifiable.
If I had been signed up for SmartAudits™ when I first installed the DTiQ system years ago, this employee would not have lasted a month. As an operator, you think you have a good employee but can never be sure. Once you get away with something it’s hard to stop; you become more and more greedy and the sky’s the limit. When no one’s catching you, you build a routine. This employee had been stealing month after month and created an additional income for herself.
DTiQ LP Services
I’ll be signing up for SmartAudits™ this month as a result of this whole experience. I used to think I could handle Loss Prevention myself; but, I don’t actually do it. Whatever I pay per month for these services is justifiable; it will save me money in the long run.
There’s a cost to having DTiQ of course but the system pays for itself over and over and over again because I’m able to catch and prevent fraud.
I recently talked with DTiQ’s Business Consulting Group and will be meeting with a consultant again soon for additional training. They will soon have me setup to receive an email notification every time a transaction includes an item correct with a $0 balance tender. Training is all about setting parameters and identifying what you want to be alerted about.
I think that I’ll see more of the same issues at my stores moving forward as well as a great deal of Sweethearting. I know it’s going on but haven’t been able to call people out on it.
With SmartAudit™ in place last year, I would’ve been aware of various problems at my stores. As a Franchisee, if you are not going to look for issues and monitor your operation regularly and consistently, then you need to hire someone to do it. I’m very confident that DTiQ is the right partner for my business.