LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2019

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.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/1096225

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Page 64 of 76

Having disparate systems and solutions means higher maintenance costs and less integration. EWTON: We've witnessed other solution providers spend a tremendous amount of resources getting the installation "sign-off," without any—or very few—resources available for system life-cycle management. This can leave the customer feeling like they're stranded without any system support. There are questions that will help ensure the solution provider is taking a holistic approach to the solution, such as: ■ What is your methodology to help ensure the deployed solution will meet project expectations? ■ What is your view of this solution's life-cycle management? ■ How will I use today's solution and infrastructure to support future needs? ■ What is the warranty support for the next five to seven years? ■ How may I participate in new product development? ■ How easy would it be for me to pick up the phone and speak with the president of your company? ISCH: Security itself doesn't have a shelf life, so a customer should ask questions from a growth perspective. How will you bring solutions to my business that are both valuable today and provide ROI justification for investment in the future? Any solution provider can bring product today. Do they maximize your security infrastructure and help you achieve the most return for your security spend? What do you feel is the most common mistake that solution providers make when dealing with their customers? ISCH: Making sure to ask enough questions—and the right questions. This can be overlooked in our industry and is a mistake that often hurts everyone involved. We can't properly take care of our customer if we can't visualize the problem holistically. Bringing the right loss prevention experts to the table and examining the scenarios from an outside-in, 360-degree perspective will help drive successful outcomes. NORTHRUP: While cost plays a significant role in every business transaction, choosing a loss prevention solution provider is much more complex than simply taking the lowest bid. When evaluating costs, companies need to consider the cost of the product, cost savings to the bottom line, time savings, and labor savings, while also considering the sales lift of the implemented solution. EWTON: The most common mistake is presenting a message that one size fits all. Each customer has a unique set of challenges and constraints. A responsible provider must be conscientious, open, and flexible in order to collaboratively design customized system requirements. Providers should also understand when to facilitate leveraging partner resources to fully support the customers' challenges. Today's providers should introduce trusted integration partners early on when conceptualizing how to address customer needs. In addition, not all solution providers include customers in the beginning stages of product development. This is the only way to ensure the products fully meet the user's challenges and helps to solve their pain points. What personal qualities or character assets do you think are most important for solution providers to possess? EWTON: Honesty, integrity, understanding, and reliability are the most important qualities that every solution provider should exude. The customer needs to be able to trust that the solution provider will maintain open channels of communication and full transparency for collaborative problem solving. With any large, long-term deployment, issues are going to surface whether it is product availability/development, logistics, or simply meeting established deadlines. Agreeing on common goals and regularly communicating mutual performance expectations only proves to strengthen any professional relationship. ISCH: Solution providers need to be excellent listeners. Sales people usually want to talk, talk, and talk. It should never be about, "Here's what we have," but more about working hand in hand in a strategic partnership. That's how world-class companies formulate a strategy. You're not burning empty calories. Rather, you're finding the right solution based on as many perspectives as possible. Go wide and deep into the organization to see who is impacted and how their daily role changes based on security. NORTHRUP: As mentioned, innovation in product solutions is key. Creativity is also a must, along with adaptability, preparedness, and the ability to deliver. It's also beneficial to work with a solution provider that can provide a wide range of solutions for every area of the retail environment, has a history of building strong partnerships, understands retail and the impact of loss prevention solutions on the overall store environment, and factors all of those assets into the solutions they provide. continued from page 62 "The opportunity to find new ways to streamline efficiencies and reduce shrink is always critical to our retail customers, especially those that can bring operational value across the organization." – Mike Isch "While cost plays a significant role in every business transaction, choosing a loss prevention solution provider is much more complex than simply taking the lowest bid." – Robb Northrup 64 MARCH–APRIL 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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