Don Boyle has worked at DTT since 2007. During that time, he has provided managed loss prevention services to thousands of businesses in the hospitality, retail, and c-store industries. He is an expert at building loss prevention policies and best practices that prevent employee theft from occurring.
In the below interview, he shares what he’s learned over the course of his career, and provides valuable advice to operators looking to better structure their businesses from a loss prevention standpoint.
The interview has been edited lightly for clarity and length.
What do you do at DTT? Where did you start in the industry? What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I currently oversee our Las Vegas Operations and Delivery center. DTT’s Loss Prevention, Support, Service, and Fulfillment teams are all located in our Las Vegas headquarters.
My start was rooted in Loss Prevention in the C-Store industry. I held a unique role working for Circle K in southern California. I dealt exclusively with internal theft issues and would go from store to store identifying internal theft, removing the offenders involved, and rehiring to get the store back on track. I was never in a location longer than 6 months, and I worked all over southern California.
My early experience with loss prevention at Circle K showed how valuable but underutilized surveillance was. At the time, surveillance video was typically recorded on tape, and was not accessible remotely. That meant that the video was seldom used in any proactive way. Typically, it required a serious incident to occur for anyone to look at the video. However, I quickly found that spending short periods of time reviewing employee behavior could be extremely beneficial in identifying simple training issues or more serious fraud issues. Furthermore, sharing the results of these brief video reviews, and sharing the video/images with the employees truly had a positive impact on changing their behavior.
What are the three most common types of employee theft that you encounter as DTT’s Executive Vice President for Loss Prevention?
By far the most common type of employee theft is time theft. For many, having a buddy clock them in before they arrive at work, sitting around not performing work related activities while on the clock, or just not being there at all when their timecard says they are is not even considered theft. While the severity of this type of theft varies greatly, it is the most common type of theft we see.
The second most common type of employee theft we see is discount or sweethearting fraud. Employees giving friends or family discounts they should not receive, or simply not ringing in items and giving them away is a very common type of employee theft that we see.
Another very common type of theft we see is under ringing. This is when items are voided, canceled, or removed from a transaction in some way. There are many methods that can be utilized to accomplish under ringing, but the expressed goal is to collect payment for items that are not accounted for in the register. This allows the employee to ‘build a bank’ of funds they can steal. This type of theft can be extremely costly and has a tendency to escalate over time. Individual transactions can under ring as little as a $1, but if the employee performs this 50 times over their shift, they can take home an extra $50 at the end of the day and still balance their drawer.
How important is loss prevention to the success of any business, and what is the scale of loss that most businesses would experience without implementing a loss prevention solution like DTT’s?
Having a loss prevention strategy in place in any business is critical. Unmanaged, losses from theft can and have bankrupted businesses. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a comprehensive loss prevention strategy in place. You will likely never be able to eliminate all theft from ever happening. However, you can dramatically deter and limit the duration of the occurrences.
What makes DTT’s loss prevention solution unique, especially when compared to some of our competitors’ products or solutions?
I think the thing that makes DTT’s loss prevention solution unique is how comprehensive it is. We truly endeavor to prevent theft. We know and understand that proactively auditing and reviewing employee behavior can and does deter many from making bad decisions. Not only are we preventing theft from happening in the first place, but we are actually adding money to the bottom line by helping ensure employees are meeting or exceeding our clients’ expectations. I believe it is because of this approach that our clients not only catch theft quicker when it does occur, but also often prevent it from happening in the first place, and run better operations overall.
What are some of the advantages to partnering with a third-party loss prevention provider like DTT or LPI, as opposed to relying on an in-house LP team?
- No overhead to scale as your business grows. We scale for you.
- A fixed budget
- Unbiased workforce
- Expertise across multiple operations that can leverage best practices for you
- Results driven
What is the most common mistake businesses make when it comes to implementing loss prevention policies?
I think the most common mistake businesses make is thinking they don’t have a problem. Theft/loss occurs in all businesses, and ignoring it or pretending like it is not going to happen won’t work for long. Another common error is over correcting. One of the most common reactions I see to finding an employee who was voiding transactions fraudulently is to eliminate the ability for the employees to perform voids. This can often lead to unforeseen consequences, not to mention a motivated thief will simply find another way to steal.
What are some loss prevention best practices that any business can implement to improve their bottom line?
I think one of the best best practices a business can implement is single drawer accountability. Having a policy in place that prevents multiple employees from ringing transactions on the same drawer makes it much easier for a business to discover and hold accountable those responsible for cash losses.