The Evolution of the Loss Prevention Executive

Never has it been more important than now for loss prevention professionals to recognize that they are in the “practice” of a business profession.  Many Loss Prevention executives believe their profession is not unlike the practice of accounting or law, in that when regulations, technology, or laws change, Loss Prevention’s strategy and approach must also change.  Effective LP executives have embraced the evolution of the profession and have recognized the importance of creating departments with capabilities of “traditional” LP expertise that is coupled with “non-traditional” business acumen.

There was a time when “traditional” skill sets of training in loss prevention tactics, interviewing dishonest employees or working alongside law enforcement, carried a certain mystique that seemed to be all an LP professional needed to know.  Operators were impressed and thankful when LP would show up, conduct an interview and take someone out in handcuffs.  But it didn’t take long in the evolution of the profession for executives to realize a company couldn’t arrest its way out of shrink.  The resulting revelation was never more glaring: Either add value via “non-traditional” Loss Prevention methods or become obsolete.

Skills associated with merchandising and product assortment, logistics and freight flow, and accounting and profit margins, were making their way into the LP professional’s wheelhouse.  It became important for the LP professional to understand non- traditional “shrink influencers,” like plan-o-gram integrity, for instance.  For example, if merchandise was received at a store, but the plan-o-gram was never set, it was likely that the merchandise would sit in a receiving room for a very long time. Other merchandise would continue piling up and eventually become susceptible to markdowns, damage, loss or theft.  In this scenario, the merchandise simply had nowhere to go on the sales floor and the result was lost sales, margin impact, and ultimately, a diminished experience for customers.  As a result, some company executives had come to expect their LP teams to possess the skills necessary to assess a sales floor and the operational health of a store, and determine which shrink-inducing deficiencies were operational failures and which were a result of theft.  In these companies, it is expected that the LP professional would then make sound recommendations on how to mitigate the identified operational failures and how to mitigate the theft concerns.

In this environment, LP professionals realized the need to see the added value in their relationships with vendor partners. After all, they too were seeing the need to enhance value beyond their traditional roles of just selling theft-reducing tools.  For example, a recent whitepaper published by the Calibration Group entitled, Stock-On-Hand: The Retail Problem that’s 7 Times Greater than ORC”, reveals how RFID technology can help manage inventory, thereby increasing sales while simultaneously reducing shrink. Since RFID technology has become more affordable over the last couple of years, this solution is one in which successful LP executives are implementing in order to demonstrate their added value. Other tools, such as EAS (electronic article surveillance) also assist with driving sales while reducing shrink, and now these two technologies have merged to create EAS with RFID capabilities.  Now, would-be thieves tend to look for “softer” targets who don’t employ EAS or RFID technologies and because of this, Stock-on-Hand (SOH) counts for high-theft items are higher, stores utilizing these technologies look more aesthetically pleasing, and customers are finding a larger assortment of merchandise.  This is resulting in improved customer satisfaction, repeat business, and increased sales.  Again, operators are seeing the added value of their relationships with Loss Prevention and the vendor partners who service their expertise.

To summarize, one highly experienced Loss Prevention executive stated, “Today’s LP professionals have to develop skill sets to walk a sales floor, observe its condition pertaining to things like out of stocks, plan-o-gram integrity and recovery, and determine the operational failures or theft-causing weaknesses needing remedied.  Once assessed, they have to have the business acumen to develop plans of action on both the operational side and the theft side of the equation.  For operational failures, the LP professionals have to have the credibility to communicate with district and regional operators. Then, they need to be prepared to train store teams on improving store conditions and operations, and create a metrics-driven approach to improvement.”

About CONTROLTEK

Since 1976, we have been delivering unique products and solutions to the cash-transfer and asset protection industries to address specific business challenges.  Our company has grown steadily based on the quality of our products and the quality of our service. Our commitment to research and development is combined with a willingness to listen to the people who everyday depend on our products. By relentlessly researching and introducing new materials and new features, we are proud to say we have impacted the way assets are secured globally.

With experience gained through research and collaboration within the financial and retail sectors, we actively charted a course over the past several years to bring added value, new thinking and viable approaches, addressing the dilemmas and challenges that frustrate business professionals today.

During this process, we realigned our resources within CONTROLTEK, creating three silos (ISS, ISP and IVS).  This enables us to focus more specifically on the needs of our Clients and their specific challenges they face on a daily basis.  Additionally, CONTROLTEK has aligned itself with Global partners to provide holistic solutions that solve today’s challenges.   Whatever the application, CONTROLTEK resources stand by ready to deliver results that enable commerce and effectively secure assets at financial institutions and leading retailers across the globe.