LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 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/1146652

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Page 17 of 76

connected and as we come up with new ideas." Lisa Brock, national director of investigations at Best Buy, made a similar point in her NRF Protect presentation, noting that it's important to open and tap different data streams to combat theft trends as they emerge. Each new retail sales idea—such as buy online, pickup in store—brings risk with it, and while it's often "hard to get analytics around it," data is critical for devising countermeasures, said Brock. For example, she noted that Best Buy investigators are in a better position to combat porch pirates and other losses in ship-from-store orders because they track data on which stage of the order a package was lost, such as after customer delivery or after packaging but before shipment pick-up. Similarly, she said it's beneficial to work with human resources to get employee home address data to check against ship-from-store orders for an alert if employees ship orders to themselves. Analytics have enabled Safeway's AP team to build higher-quality cases, but it's not the only benefit. "We're having another positive effect, in that we're also able to react to cases far faster than previously," said Bandaries. "Before analytics, you might have had someone getting away with their fraud for a year, but now you're recognizing it after a couple of times, way faster than in the past." Data is the difference, highlighting discrepancies as they emerge instead of waiting for word of mouth, a tip, or stumbling across an inconsistency by accident. But even if data is laying the groundwork for investigations these days, it is still people driving the show. The People Piece While essentially a numbers game, the leveraging of investigative analytics remains a very human endeavor. It requires the marriage between number crunching and the human intelligence that investigators bring to the equation. "When I think of analytics, I think of the partnership between the data analytics staff and the investigative team," explained Bandaries. "Without that partnership, we wouldn't be able to do what we do." Gonzalez similarly stressed the value in strong partnerships, noting that many LP departments hand off information between analysts and investigators, "but a lot can be lost in translation," he warned. But when there is partnership, synergy, openness, and alignment—with both teams learning from each other's skill set and becoming well versed in the other's function—better investigations are inevitable. "It's the concept behind quality over quantity. You want that quality in your investigations and not just have data analysts hand you a sheet," said Gonzalez, who has fifteen years of experience in e-commence and ORC investigations, software implementation, and data analytics. "Here at Bloomingdale's, it's okay to have an opinion, to challenge one another, for investigators to challenge data analysts and vice versa." It can help to have central investigative teams and data analysts work in close proximity, suggested Home Depot's Cunningham—and, if not physically, then at least through process alignment. "It's not workable to have groups working in different silos; you need to be in lock step," he said. "You need a good communication path, to regularly share ideas and concepts, with both sides learning from the other." It's also important to enhance the connection between data analysts and business partners to understand loss and shrink trends and changes in risk. "The organization needs to be aware of the importance of keeping AP in the loop of issues that could create exposure," Cunningham added. Onboarding the right talent to the analytical team that supports AP is also playing a critical role in helping Home Depot get investigative value from analytics. The perfect candidate—a brilliant data scientist with extensive LP experience and expertise—is a "unicorn," Cunningham said, so they look for skill and adaptability and toss in continuous learning. "We look for that strong statistical background, but we also find people While essentially a numbers game, the leveraging of investigative analytics remains a very human endeavor. It requires the marriage between number crunching and the human intelligence that investigators bring to the equation. Lisa Brock 17 LP MAGAZINE | JULY–AUGUST 2019 ANALYTICS IS NOT JUST A NUMBER'S GAME

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