LP Magazine

NOV-DEC 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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equipped with license plate recognition capabilities, with a plan to expand its use at retail locations to solve cases and hit back at gangs and individuals that repeatedly target Goodwill stores. "This captures the license plate of the vehicle involved. Then we investigate how the suspect is associated with the owner of the car, and give the information to police to follow up on and move the investigation forward." At donation drop-off points, Hawes said he is trying out two-way talking cameras. Triggered by motion detection, a pre-recorded message plays to engage individuals and to discourage after-hour "drop and shop," where people leave one donation bag and take home three. This aggressive implementation of security technology has been critical to the LP department's success, as has support from his senior leadership, for prosecuting offenders and technology resources, Hawes added. Although an uptick in internal theft has been noted recently, Hawes said they've been able to reduce employee theft 60 percent from its high watermark and, thanks to enforcement of strict cash handling procedures, have had only one case of a manager taking cash. Hawes credits education for preventing theft by store associates. "We focus a lot on personal decision-making in our presentations and strive to hit hard the importance of making 'mission-minded' decisions." It helps, but LP also relies on deterrence through internal investigations. Using exception reporting tied to stores' video surveillance systems, LP staff has the ability to flag unusual activity, such as lower-than-average cash intake by a certain cashier, and to review associated footage to see if it's because he or she is engaging in sweethearting or other fraud. With a shrink metric unavailable, the LP department looks at its number of reported thefts, store performance/ sales, and the number of donations recorded to monitor its performance. "Our company looks at loss as anything that takes resources away from our mission, whether it's a slip-and-fall or negligence that results in damaging our property," said Hawes. "If it takes away from delivering on our mission, it's a loss." South Texas Before he accepted his job in 2011 as director of loss prevention for Goodwill Industries of South Texas, Carlos Garcia remembered one occasion when he dropped off a donation. "I left the item, and in my rear-view mirror, as I'm driving away, I saw someone else putting it on their truck," he said. "I knew that dilemma was something I was going to have to deal with." Although he knew of some challenges that awaited him, Garcia said he did not exactly realize what he was signing up for. In the Goodwill's forty years of operation, it never had a loss prevention department. Stores had museum-grade cash registers, no POS systems, and no video surveillance. That's changed significantly, however. In addition to a new POS system, they embarked four months ago on a new UPC product labeling process that provides visibility into the merchandise stores sell. "We don't know exactly what brands are sold, but it does tell us, for example, that we sold 150 blouses on this day," said Garcia. "At least we now know what type of items we're selling." Like other Goodwill LP directors, Garcia has focused on education to drive down theft. His message is amplified by the fact that the Texas penal code enhances a theft offense by one level when the victim is a nonprofit. "If someone steals a $10 MISSION DRIVEN 19 LP MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 "Our company looks at loss as anything that takes resources away from our mission, whether it's a slip-and-fall or negligence that results in damaging our property. If it takes away from delivering on our mission, it's a loss." – Greg Hawes, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

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