Is My Employee Stealing Fuel? Prevent & Reduce Fuel Theft in Your Company
In any business, an unfortunate truth is that theft by an employee is something that commonly happens, and often it goes undetected for substantial periods of time. Whether it’s taking stationery from the supplies cupboard, or physically lifting money from the till, theft is still theft, and should be regarded as a serious concern for management within any sector.
In fleet management specifically, theft of fuel is one of the most difficult issues to spot. For companies that deal with huge amounts of fuel on a day-to-day basis, monitoring each route and the fuel consumed can prove incredibly difficult for one person. It does not take long for an untrustworthy employee to identify an opportunity, and before you know it, you might find that your drivers begin taking advantage, stealing fuel for their own personal use.
This can lead to a loss of trust in your drivers, ultimately creating tensions across all levels of the company whilst generating an undesirable working environment in the process. As the theft of fuel is so difficult to identify, we here at Fueltek have put together a helpful guide to clearly set out the various ways that you can help prevent a situation like this arising in the future.
Fuel Theft – The Facts
What Should You Do If You Suspect Fuel Theft?
For many managers, discovering that fuel is going missing in the first place is the trickiest part. This is because it’s not as easily noticeable as tangible currency such as money. Often an inkling from a proactive manager can begin the process of investigation, yet even when the manager gets to a definitive place that they believe fuel is being stolen, it can often be hard to prove.
As with many situations in life, preventative measures are always better than seeking a cure. Therefore, what should you do when you suspect that your employee might be stealing fuel?
How Can It Be Prevented?
Any fleet manager understands that there are several ways that fuel can be stolen, with inventive methods being created year on year. Here are some of the best ways to prevent internal theft from simply educating your drivers to installing modern fuel management systems to take some of the pressure off you.
We would assume that your drivers know the difference between right and wrong, but it’s still worth discussing the issue of fuel theft and the consequences that it brings for those caught doing it. It affects their job security obviously, but it also has consequences for the whole company, especially when it comes to profits. If you are finding that your fuel costs are soaring, then we would recommend making it clear to all employees that if fuel does keep on going missing, there could be ramifications for the wider company.
Following this conversation, we would recommend explaining that you have now installed a system to protect from theft against fuel, and how they can protect themselves from becoming a target. The team here at Fueltek would definitely suggest making all your drivers aware of just how important it is to remain vigilant when it comes to locking their fuel tanks and vehicles after use, as well as only parking in secure places – especially when leaving vehicles overnight.
Light Up Your Yard
Whilst this might sound quite self-explanatory, by simply installing ample lighting in the location where your vehicles will be left during the day and overnight. Potential thieves are less likely to operate in a brightly lit area, and with the addition of CCTV around the area, instances of theft could be dramatically reduced. This not only discourages people from outside of your business when it comes to stealing, but it also ensures your staff recognise that you are keeping a close eye on each and every one of them at all times, minimising the risk of fuel theft from internal parties.
When you do come to installing lighting and potentially CCTV in your yard, it’s worth calling a team meeting to explain the move. Some employees may feel threatened by the move, even if they are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Simply pulling all of your employees into a room and discussing the issues you’re experiencing with regards to fuel theft can help to alleviate any worries within your ranks. It’s also worth remembering that the installation of lighting and CCTV also works as a safety blanket for your drivers: double-checking CCTV footage to rule out innocent parties provides your drivers with evidence of their sincerity.
Block Access to Your Fuel Tanks With ‘Defensive’ Parking
In a similar stance to lighting up the area in which the fleet is kept, strategically parking your vehicles in a way that it is impossible for thieves to access the fuel chamber can prove incredibly effective. Whilst this might add an extra 10 minutes at the end of the day, the potential benefits could be staggering.
It is worth noting that this doesn’t solve your problem if you are experiencing fuel theft from within your company, though. However, it will help to rule out external individuals from your thought process, as if fuel continues to go missing on a regular basis, you can be sure that it is from someone within your company.
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Close Inspection of your Yard
As a fleet manager, being proactive in all aspects of the role is simply part of the job. Therefore, keeping a close eye on all employees that are operating within the yard should be a priority, especially when fuel theft is suspected.
As a majority of thefts are carried out whilst on company property, regularly patrolling the area, or even routinely having CCTV footage reviewed for any inconsistencies, can help catch any issues quickly. We would also recommend increasing your presence around the business, as this may deter any employees from stealing fuel. Simply spending less time in your office and more time in and around your employees can act as a real deterrent as any offending employees will feel like they have less of an opportunity to steal fuel with you being more active within the business.
Use a Fuel Monitoring & Management System
If you would like to take the guesswork out of trying to identify if your employees are, in fact, stealing fuel from your business, we would recommend investing in a modern fuel management system. For an accurate reading of fuel levels, protecting your company against theft, there is no better way than using a fuel monitoring system within your business. The sophisticated systems stop unauthorised use, as well as allowing you to manage your stock effectively in real-time. By giving restricted access to your driver, you’ll easily be able to manage where your fuel is going and how often it’s being used remotely.
Monitoring systems such as Tankwatch, which we use here at Fueltek, provide you with discrepancy alerts on the status of your fuel stock. Tankwatch also comes fully equipped with the latest technology, enabling you swift access to all of the information and data that you need to keep on top of your stock.
With a fuel management system, you will be able to quickly identify any discrepancies within your fuel reports. You can quickly act upon this information, as you will have access to all of your employee’s fuel dispensing records at the click of a button.
There’s no denying the fact that fuel management is the most accurate way to identify and rectify any fuel theft within your business, so you should definitely consider investing in a fuel management system for your company.
We hope that you found our article useful, taking the above steps noted above will help you to ensure that you minimise the risks of fuel being stolen from your company in the future. If you would like to find out more about how Fueltek can help your business reduce fuel theft, please feel free to get in touch with our experts today. Contact us by calling on 01254 291391 or use our simple online enquiry form, and we will be in touch with you shortly!