I know, it’s a long title, but I wanted to lay it out in its proper sequence so you know what I’m getting at. It has to do with my work place, an indecent that took place there in which a probable cause was made based only on an assumption of an alleged crime from what could be a mistake. A large order was made, it was sent to us by a shipper, and we received it and discovered that it was missing a substantial amount of units. Three employees counted the shipment and agreed that the amount that was requested, counted and sent via the packing slip was incorrect.
Next, the manager placed a call to the vendor telling them of the shortage. Usually in these types of cases, depending upon small amounts of missing pieces, both parties just accept the loss and usually the vendor rights it off and gives credit. However, in this case the loss was significant, and the vendor claims that the shipment was double checked because previous shipments had shown inconsistencies with quantities in the past. So, the poor manager now has a dilemma on his hands.
Because the cost of the shortage is significant, and both side stand firmly in their duties and actions according to the agreement, a series of events now unfold. Behind the scenes, the decision must be made on how to reconcile it. This means that three outcomes are possible:
- Forget that it occured and just accept the loss, however, change the method of receiving product and put in place mechanisms that would catch discrepancies in the future.
- Demand the remaining pieces and threaten with a legal action.
- Mitigate the loss, rewrite the agreement and change the procedure of ordering product from that vendor.
The first knee-jerk reaction by the manager was to talk to the employees, an informal investigation. Then, once that was completed, setting up changes in order to deter future situations from occuring again, or at least mitigate them. The thought proposed solution is to consider installing Closed Circuit Cameras to monitor the shiping and receiving area 24/7. Next, to immediately start bag searches of all employees when leaving the premises.
Although these are band-aid solutions to age old problems, the mark left on the staff maybe marked more than the crime itself. The issue of trust now comes into play. For the employer, who just suffered a huge loss, now has to reconcile it by taking preventative measures to avoid such possible situations from occuring in the future, or at least be reassured that the mistakes/thefts will not occur within the company. For the employees, they are now faced with the possibility that the watchful gaze of the employer now monitors them, every waking hour while on the job.
For me, I wonder what is worse, the crime itself, or the control to prevent the crime?