CONTROLTEK Adds Another Industry Veteran to the Team

CONTROLTEK names Stefanie Hoover, CFI as National Account Manager. Stefanie brings over 26 years of Retail Loss Prevention experience to the CONTROLTEK team.  Stefanie’s career began as a store detective for Famous-Barr.  She has worked in a variety of capacities within the retail industry from Specialty and Big Box retail to consulting.  She most recently held the position of Business Development Manager at Verisk Retail and holds her Bachelor of Science in the Administration of Justice from Southern Illinois University.  Stefanie has been a certified forensic interviewer (CFI) since 2004 and is an editor of The CFInsider Journal, an International Association of Interviewers publication.

“This is a great opportunity for me to utilize my experience to enhance the Loss Prevention profession through the product offerings of an incredible organization,” Stefanie said. “CONTROLTEK has the vision and resources to help retailers take control of shrink and inventory management, and I’m excited to be part of this team.”

CONTROLTEK’s CEO, Rod Diplock, said, “I couldn’t be happier that Stefanie has agreed to join our exemplary team. She brings a unique skill set and retail experience that matches perfectly with CONTROLTEK’s mission, which is to bring innovative, cost-efficient products to help our customers protect assets, reduce shrink, and streamline operations.”

CONTROLTEK also proudly presents ControlSpan™, their newest innovative product offering. The ControlSpan™ suite not only allows improved inventory visibility, but also enhanced profitability and customized integration to help make existing inventory management systems more efficient and accurate. Request a live demo of ControlSpan™ here.

EAS made EASy

No one can argue we’re in a time when technology seems to be moving faster than we can keep up with it.  That may be why EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) technology seems to be elusive and confusing when it comes to its evolution and modern capabilities. Well…it isn’t and doesn’t have to be. This article will attempt to break down very succinctly the evolution of EAS without too much “geek speak,” and will give the LP professional a quick, useful explanation of how this technology has advanced in an effort to support retail’s ever-changing needs.

If you’re a person who finds the need to be lost in a wonderland of amorphous metals and magnetic saturation values, STOP READING NOW, this ain’t for you!

In The Beginning

The history of EAS began in the ‘60s.  Three influential pioneers recognized the need for this type of technology. They were Arthur J. Minasy, Ronald G. Assaf, and Albert E. “Ted” Wolf.  The technology was needed, but not only in the retail space.  Wolf was originally developing and utilizing EAS technology for protection of books in libraries.  However, due to the expanding retail market and the foothold both Minasy and Assaf were gaining there, he quickly followed suit.  By the early to mid ‘70s, the three were in a proverbial foot race to conquer markets and make fortunes. A lot happened over the next 20-30 years regarding company spin-offs, legal battles, technology shifts & development, and EAS’ overall use.  The technology was found very useful, but its application needed tweaking multiple times on many fronts to meet the needs of retail.  This challenge, coupled with competition and pressure to have the best technology, got quite precarious to say the least.

Amorphous Metals & Magnetic Saturation Values

Alright, this is it! This will be all you get when it comes to “geek speak.” Presently, there are essentially four technologies or systems utilized in the EAS world.  These systems are RF (Radio-frequency) Systems, AM (Acousto-Magnetic) Systems, EM (Electro-Magnetic) Systems and Microwave Systems.  There are combo systems such as RFID (Radio-frequency identification) whereby the tags hold information and the radio frequency tracks the individual tags.  Each technology utilizes electro-magnetic energy and therefore, the signals can interfere with other electronic devices. While all utilize electro-magnetic energy, that is pretty much where the similarities end.  Over the course of time, each technology has been employed in various applications. Even the designs of EAS tags have changed as various learnings occurred.  With that said, each technology has both demonstrated value and some challenges.  Store layouts, types of merchandise, customer service, and different business models play significant roles in the technology employed.  Each technology should be researched, and advice from industry professionals should be sought in order to ensure all needs will be met with whichever technology is chosen.

Source-Tagging: The Final Link

Technology to the side, there has been other critical “tipping points” for EAS in its history.  The most important has been the drive for “source-tagging”.  This is applying the EAS device at the manufacturer or at the retailer’s own distribution center rather than at the store.  If you’ve been in retail for any length of time you know that for every breath a store employee takes, there is an equation for how that breath impacts the labor budget for that store.  Early EAS users were applying tags in merchandise receiving rooms, but operators quickly realized this was a labor drain that detracted from a sales floor presence and customer service.

In the early ‘90’s source-tagging began taking off, but not without its own challenges.  EAS manufacturers were developing their latest and greatest systems while also attempting to rollout source-tagging.   Among the many challenges, applying EAS tags to merchandise had to be precise, and bulky deactivation devices used for removing the tags at the POS affected customer wait times and overall shopping experiences. However, the EAS suppliers who slowed down, embraced these challenges, and developed a strong R&D function that involved retailers at the onset, were the ones that have realized longevity in the industry and have proven they are “partners” in reducing shrink and increasing bottom line profits.

CONTROLTEK is one of those partners. In fact, CONTROLTEK has not only developed ControlSpan™, an inventory tracking system that utilizes affordable RFID technology within the EAS system, but can handle all source-tagging needs as well. Visit Controltekusa.com to review their products in the EAS arena and see how they can partner with you to meet your EAS needs.

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.

CONTROLTEK to Host Webinar: “What retail problem is 7.5x greater than ORC?”

CONTROLTEK is proud to sponsor International Association Interviewers (IAI) webinar, “What retail problem is 7x greater than ORC?” Friday, June 3 at 2 p.m.

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This webinar will feature the leading retail research firm in the industry, IHL Group President, Greg Buzek as he discusses the retail stock-on-hand problem and how to solve it.

Register today by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1rzoUbD

Loss Prevention professionals know what it takes to fight Organized Retail Crime (ORC), but is it retail’s biggest problem?

Yes, utilizing resources to ensure your retail establishment is protected against ORC is important. But what about stock-on-hand? One of the best ways to reduce shrink is to increase sales.

Is your team helping to solve retail’s stock-on-hand issue? After all, it’s 7 times greater than the ORC problem.

Download The Calibration Group’s whitepaper to learn:

  • What are the elements included in the Stock-on-Hand (SOH) problem?
  • How big is the inventory problem for retail?
  • Why does SOH matter?
  • How can increasing sales reduce shrink?
  • Why should Loss Prevention executive address SOH?

Want to add more value to your position and learn how to tackle the major SOH problem? Click here to download the whitepaper now!

 

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.