The ABC’s of ASPC

Understanding average sales per customer can stop employee theft in its tracks.

By Jim Callahan.

Human resources guru Mel Kleiman preaches that 20% of employees are basically honest, 20% are basically dishonest and the rest tend to gravitate toward the middle—depending on how management handles the dishonest employees. The following is designed to identify and completely stop under ringing at the cash register dead in its tracks.

ASPC stands for average sales per customer. Taking our cash register tapes and dividing our inside store sales by our customer count allows us to establish precisely what our average sale per customer is.

I recommend going through 10 weeks of register tapes—eliminating the high and low—to establish an average. Using a seven-day spreadsheet will give you an average for each day. From there you can break sales down for each shift. It’s important to evaluate each day individually.
Once you have that completed you are in a position to see how close that average ASPC number comes to the actual cash in the register of the team members working a particular shift. While this is not terribly complicated, you have to also consider variables that can and will alter ASPC’s. But once you establish a system, the variables will be easy to manage.

For example, weather plays a big part in ASPC calculations. Business is generally down during extreme cold weather because people are staying indoors. The day before the cold weather or a storm hits, however, people tend to load up on merchandise, so ASPC’s will be up.

Conversely, hot summer days and holidays assure that many frozen drinks and lots of beer will be sold, so ASPC’s will edge up. Similarly, higher lottery jackpots inflate the customer count. Sinse most of us show lottery sales separately, ASPC’s will be down accordingly. Also be sure to make allowances for employees that are great at suggestive selling and those that aren’t. This influences overall sales.

Identifying Inconsistencies
Once you have a good grasp on understanding the variables, you are in a position to expose under rings. Watch for those that have consistently lower average ASPC’s than their counterparts, especially where there are disparities that keep growing. Thieves are generally greedy. When they get away with it for a period of time they start stealing more. Stealing, in this case, can mean taking money right out of the register or discounting merchandise for their friends and family members.  

A few years back in Columbus, Ga., my ASPC paperwork showed a female employee at Store A averaging 35 cents less per ring per customer than her counterparts. The 35 cents grew to 52 cents over the next few weeks. The manager kept insisting the numbers were OK because this was one of her best employees. Incidentally, 35 cents times 400 customers per day is $140, which grows to $208 at 52 cents, so I wasn’t fully comfortable with the manager’s response.  

The next week I noticed that the nearby Store B had an employee with the same first name that was 59 cents below average on the two shifts she worked. I called the manager and the girl in question had “volunteered” to come from Store A for a few shifts. I had the manager watch the video tape of this employee’s shifts and, sure enough, the girl was under ringing and stealing the company’s money. The manager thought she had a great employee because she was willing to work extra shifts at the drop of a hat. But when you’re stealing $700 to $1,000 per week wouldn’t we all?

ASPC’s are well worth the effort. At Green Oil our company’s inventory has averaged less than three-quarters of 1% shrink for 10 consecutive years. Try it and if you get stuck give me a call.

Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on CSDecisions.com. He can be reached at (678) 485-4773 or via e-mail at jfcallahan502@msn.com.

  • J. Carle

    Great article Jim, too often store owners tend to have a denial complex when the conversation turns to internal theft.

    I would also add that while regularly audited ASPC statistics keep an eye on fraud at the register, frequent item-level inventory auditing and an integrated BOS are all components of a well-rounded, effective loss prevention strategy.

    J. Carle
    PITT Inventory Services

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