Theft of Raw Material from a Production Plant – Case Study

Controlling employees and monitoring production processes are key elements of management in any company, especially in large production plants. Preventing losses, both financial and reputational, is crucial for the stability and efficiency of the enterprise. In an era of increasing competition and tightening regulations, irregularities and thefts can not only reduce profits but also affect the company’s reputation. Therefore, monitoring systems and control procedures must be effective and well-organized to ensure the security and integrity of all processes. The example described below illustrates how minor thefts can lead to significant losses and highlights the importance of closely tracking and analyzing every anomaly in production processes.

Situation Analysis

Company X, a large production plant in southern Poland, commissioned us to conduct minor asset investigations. During discussions with the director, a serious problem was revealed – the disappearance of raw materials used in production. The amount of raw material delivered did not match its usage and the amount of waste produced. Previous inspections, including monitoring the production area and employee movements, yielded no results, and the losses were enormous – about 1/6 of the raw material deliveries disappeared inexplicably. The plant director expressed serious concern about this issue, as it negatively impacted financial results and production efficiency.

Detective Actions

We decided to investigate the matter further to identify the source of the problem and propose effective solutions. After entering into the appropriate agreement, we gained access to plant monitoring and employee control results upon leaving the premises. Our actions included several key stages:

Monitoring Analysis: We conducted a detailed analysis of available recordings, tracing the path of raw materials from their entry into the plant to their use in production. We focused on identifying blind spots, where there was no monitoring. We pinpointed these areas as potential locations for raw material theft.

Employee Observation: During the analysis, we noticed that several employees regularly moved around the plant with backpacks or bags, arousing our suspicions. The places where they used these bags were outside the camera’s range, allowing them to discreetly remove raw materials. Furthermore, the bags were small enough not to arouse suspicion from other employees, who assumed they were just “lunch bags.”

Exit Controls: We analyzed the exit control procedures for these employees leaving the plant premises. It turned out that previous checks did not reveal any irregularities, suggesting that the raw materials were being removed unnoticed. Security personnel were not vigilant in checking bags and backpacks, as each stolen batch of raw material was small in volume, allowing theft with low risk of detection.

External Observation: Before engaging in discussions with suspected employees, we proposed observing selected individuals after leaving the plant. We found that after work, they went to their residences, where they emptied the bags in basements or storage rooms. This enabled us to identify where the stolen raw materials were being stored.

Observation Results – Theft of Raw Materials

As a result of our actions, stolen raw materials were found at the residences of suspected employees. The amount of raw material located on the private properties of the employees was significant, confirming the scale of the problem. It was determined that the number of employees involved in this scheme was sufficiently large to cause substantial losses to the plant. Despite thorough investigations, it was not possible to determine whether the employees acted knowingly in collusion with each other or whether security personnel turned a blind eye to these “minor” thefts or did not exert enough effort in their duties. These findings shed new light on the problem and enabled the development of remedial strategies.

Summary

Our actions led to identifying the cause of the raw material disappearance and pinpointing the perpetrators of the theft. Based on these findings, the company was able to take appropriate steps to minimize losses and tighten control procedures. Introducing more rigorous controls and changes to the monitoring system were crucial in preventing future thefts. Our efforts contributed to improving plant efficiency and enhancing internal security. This case underscores the importance of effective monitoring and regular controls in preventing losses and ensuring the safety of production processes.

Author: Detective Verificators

*Client data has been anonymized prior to publication.

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