In the absence of a proper risk mitigation plan and loss control blueprint, South African business owners will never really address the critical levels of theft and fraud impacting on our economy.
This is according to commercial investigator and international risk consultant, Kyle Condon, MD of D&K Management Consultants, ,who adds: “Experience has taught me that trust and effective loss control do not go together.

“We live in a society that has criminal presence constantly lurking around us. Old style security measures and trusting of everybody have left businesses open to losses like an open wound exposed to a sewer. Employees need to be watched continuously and loss control tactics need to be revised to accommodate this,” says Condon.

With many businesses operating on shoe-string budgets, security is often one of the first things to go. Ironically, says Condon: “It should be one of the portfolios that get additional budget assistance. When, companies cut security, those employees that were always dissuaded from going through with criminal action often go over the edge and ‘raid the cookie jar’.”

While South Africa has one of the most corrupt governments sketched on the political portrait, expecting every employee to behave in a moral honest way is far from realistic. We see what our leaders do and follow suit.

Sadly, most companies choose to ignore this red flag and continue to fool themselves into believing that the presence of a uniformed security officer or two is adequate to prevent and deal with internal criminal activity. Condon believes that “old school” security is a thing of the past. “It is time we accept that our businesses, like our homes, require proper defences,” Condon says.

“Our business sector has major structural employment weaknesses, which has led to a breakdown of strong policies and procedures that existed in the past. Many managers are just too afraid to confront the issues or speak out in fear of being branded or painted with the race brush.

“As a result, policies and zero tolerance are eroded.”

He believes that modern loss control and security plans must include the following key concepts:

* Internal investigation specialists (undercover agents) deployed as, I like to say, ‘modern day spies’.

* Quarterly sweeping and debugging of executive offices and meeting rooms.

* Strike action plans, designed specifically for the individual company and its employees to provide proper Duty of Care during strike action.

* Alignment with a reputable forensic investigator or company who understands the methods, methodology and principles of fraud and financial crimes, in the workplace.

* Thorough pre-employment screening of new candidates, including checking of criminal records through fingerprinting.

* A steadfast CCTV viewing plan conducted off site by an independent viewer, providing monthly viewing reports covering all aspects of risky behaviour, suspicious actions and overall health and safety concerns.

* Travel risk reports, for employees traveling to potentially hostile environments both locally and internationally. This would include arranging VIP protection, where needed.

* Annual security surveys to address all shortcomings of the physical security measures of the business.

* Due diligence must become part and parcel of the sales teams’ portfolios, before stock or material leaves for suspicious clients an investigation unit should first check out that all is above-board, and that you are not being scammed.

* Handing over the time consuming and demanding security portfolio to a dedicated and qualified loss control manager

“I do not agree with companies splitting up the security portfolio and contracting various players for various things. Managing this portfolio is a job that requires full time participation. This is exactly what D&K Management Consultants does for its clients. We provide the correct expertise in one unique portfolio designed around modern-day risk,” says Condon.