Guest Post by Kevin Weaver, Vice President, Brand Protection Group, Xerox Supplies Business Group

Supply theft in the workplace may not be a topic that’s always top of mind, but it’s a serious issue that can result in criminal implications for employees, a potential public relations nightmare for employers and a negative impact on a business’s bottom line.

Consider this: A recent Xerox investigation uncovered a three-year supply theft ring responsible for more than $1 million in stolen consumables. A Kansas City woman is being prosecuted at the federal level for stealing supplies from her office and shipping them to vendors in two other states.

Don’t let this happen to your business. Preventing theft of supplies is your first line of defense, and that starts with educating your employees.

Understand the Consequences
Today, with many enterprises taking part in metered supply and Managed Print Services (MPS) programs, understanding the consequences of supply theft is more important than ever. If contracted supplies from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) are found for sale on the open market, they’re considered stolen property. OEMs may then pursue criminal and/or civic claims for the recovery of the stolen supplies that are provided as part of a contract. In cases like this, not only are the actual thieves held liable, but the business may be as well.

Best Practices to Avoid Theft
To avoid theft, here are some best practices your business can adopt to help secure and protect your supplies:

  • Put proper policies and procedures in place and ensure that employees understand and abide by them.
  • Secure supplies by locking them in a cabinet or storage area.
  • Never share or borrow contracted supplies – the product may find its way into the open market.
  • Avoid over-ordering and storing excessive stock on site.
  • Return unused supplies to the OEM at the end of a contract or when upgrading equipment.
  • Reinforce the risk of termination if convicted of stealing.

Don’t jeopardize your business and reputation – protect your supplies!