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Shrinkage cost Pick ‘n Pay millions

Michael Hongonekua, centralised buying manager at Pick ‘n Pay.

Michael Hongonekua, centralised buying manager at Pick ‘n Pay.

During the financial year 2011/2012, the Pick ‘n Pay Group lost almost N$8million as a result of theft and pilferage which took place in all Pick ‘n Pay stores across the country. In a bid to bring down shrinkage in its stores, the retailer group introduced an anonymous tip-off line for the public and all its stakeholders. This established a link between people with information on racketeering and the store managers which enables the latter to investigate criminal activity without compromising the source. The tip-off line is active for all Pick ‘n Pay stores as well as for the group’s administrative centres.
According to the centralised buying manager at Pick ‘n Pay, Michael Hongonekua, Pick ‘n Pay launched its anonymous tip-off service in 2011 “to enable all its stakeholders which include its suppliers, customers and service providers as well as Pick ‘n Pay employees to anonymously tip off any irregularities that occur within the Pick ‘n Pay structures at managerial level and store level.
“What we want to achieve with this is to curb down shrinkage in all Pick ‘n Pay stores. Last year Pick ‘n Pay had a shrinkage of almost N$8million. So if you can think of how many families N$8million can feed, how many salaries N$8million can pay for a company that wants to create a future and enhance  life of our employees and our country as a whole,” he said.
He said, since the launch of this service, Pick ‘n Pay has benefited tremendously as the company has reduced its losses through theft at its various stores.
“Pick ‘n Pay has benefited tremendously since the launch of this service because all possible scenarios where we as a franchise could have lost money, are covered. We have gotten tips on various people selling our products on the streets and on the black market, we have identified several areas where we have noticed that there is collaborative and internal syndicates within our stores,” he said.
“Tipsters are not asked to identify themselves, their duty is just to inform us of the irregularities that they have picked up at store level or managerial level, or irregularities they have noticed be it with our suppliers or our own employees in the Pick ‘n Pay structures,” he said adding that the franchise has already launched several investigations as a result of information furnished by members of the public and their own employees. The franchise launched a series of investigations which involved the collaboration between its employees and outsiders who have been stealing from Pick ‘n Pay stores.
“The service is totally anonymous, all you have to do is just tell us what you have seen, when you have seen it. You do not have to tell us who you are or where you are from. We do not keep your number, your number is not registered on the line that we have. And we do not need a statement from you. We are then going to launch our own investigation into the allegations or tips that you have given us and take the information from there,” he stated.
Although, Hongonekua could not tell The Economist, how many tip-offs Pick ‘n Pay received since the launch of this service, he said the company have received two important tip-offs this year which the company is currently investigating.
He further urged the members of the public and everybody who is associated with Pick ‘n Pay to use  this service to its full potential.
“It is on 24 hours a day or you can also send a “call me” and we will call you. It is totally anonymous, you will not be called to give a statement, you will never be called to give a statement. We will launch our own investigation into the tip-off you have given us, you will not be required to appear in front of anything or anyone nor will you be required to answer to anyone,” he said.
The Pick ‘n Pay Group is a wholly- owned Namibian company that forms part of the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies, with a staff complement of over 1700.

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