Sneaker Security: Safeguarding the Supply Chain Through Audits

In the world of fashion and footwear, sneakers are a staple in many wardrobes. Renowned for their comfort, style, and innovation, these coveted kicks are a hot commodity.

However, behind the scenes, there's a less glamorous side to the sneaker industry – the theft of sneakers at every step of the retail supply chain. In this blog, we'll take an in-depth look at how sneakers often disappear throughout the supply chain and explore the vital role that audits play in addressing this pervasive issue.

Manufacturing Theft: Where It All Begins

The journey of a sneaker begins at manufacturing facilities across the globe. These plants are the first link in the supply chain, and unfortunately, they are not immune to theft. Sneaker parts, prototypes, and even entire shipments sometimes mysteriously disappear.

Audits are essential here. Manufacturers must conduct regular assessments of their inventory tracking and security protocols to prevent theft. These audits help ensure that materials and finished products are accounted for accurately, reducing the risk of loss. Additionally, audits can reveal vulnerabilities in the manufacturing process, leading to improvements in security measures.

Distribution Centre Heists: Inside Jobs

Once sneakers are manufactured, they are transported to distribution centers for sorting and shipment to retail stores. Here again, theft is a significant concern. Distribution centers often employ large numbers of workers, creating ample opportunities for internal theft.

Effective audits are part of supply chain management practices. They include evaluating access controls and conducting employee background checks to mitigate the risk of inside jobs. Regular audits of inventory levels and security measures can help uncover vulnerabilities and address them promptly. Identifying potential weak points through audits allows for preventive measures, such as retraining staff or reinforcing security systems.

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Transportation Vulnerabilities

After leaving the distribution center, sneakers are transported to retail locations via trucks and warehouses. The transportation stage is another weak point in the supply chain, with thefts occurring during transit or while in storage.

Supply chain audits are crucial in this stage. They involve reviewing secure transport protocols and tracking systems to safeguard the merchandise. Audits of transportation and warehousing processes can reveal areas where improvements are needed to prevent theft and ensure the safe arrival of sneakers at their destination. Furthermore, these audits can lead to the adoption of advanced technologies such as GPS tracking and tamper-evident packaging to enhance security.

Retail Store Shrinkage: A Constant Challenge

Finally, even after making it to retail stores, sneakers are not entirely safe from theft. Retail store shrinkage, which refers to the loss of merchandise due to theft, damage, or other factors, is a persistent challenge for the industry.

Retailers must integrate audit principles into their store operations. This includes implementing stringent security measures, such as surveillance cameras and electronic tagging. Regular audits can help identify patterns of theft and enable retailers to take proactive measures to reduce shrinkage. Through audits, retailers can refine their loss prevention strategies and allocate resources more effectively to protect their inventory.


Sneaker theft is a pervasive problem in the retail supply chain, affecting brands at every step of production and distribution. Audits, as an integral component of supply chain management, play a critical role in combating this issue. By conducting thorough and systematic audits at various stages of the supply chain, companies can enhance security, reduce theft, and protect their valuable merchandise.

The battle against sneaker theft is ongoing, and it requires a commitment to continuous improvement. Through proactive measures and regular audits, the industry can make significant strides in reducing losses and ensuring that sneakers reach their rightful owners. Audits not only serve as a means of identifying weaknesses but also as a catalyst for implementing effective solutions, ultimately safeguarding the journey of sneakers from manufacturing to retail.

If you're looking to implement a mobile tool for your retail audits, we've got you covered. Falcony | Audit is easy-to-use, fast to set up, has customisable workflows, vast integration possibilities and more. Contact us for more information.

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