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.

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relief. Investigators become more efficient. Predictive analytics are more easily added to those focused reactively on shrink. Data analysis transforms into a 24/7 function. In this emerging world, a large retailer can compile a list of all its top risks—regulatory compliance, brand protection, and so on—and then turn machines loose to identify when trends start to emerge or behavior changes. A slight anomaly in the cashing of IRS refund checks, for example, could mean a retailer is processing more counterfeits. How will LP fit in this new world order? How is the role of a LP professional likely to change? Retailers at the forefront of this trend shared some of the changes that they expect to result: ■ Greater centralization of analytics ■ A shift toward internal process improvements and internal theft and away from external theft ■ A lowering of criticality, such that increasingly smaller loss events can become targets of prevention ■ More responsive LP countermeasures as retailers identify instances of fraud in real time ■ A reduction in overall LP headcount ■ Greater value assigned to LP practitioners with specialized skills who can wear multiple hats ■ Greater focus on using data to target issues that can be corrected or problems that can be solved with existing personnel resources. One misconception about the future is just how far off it is. Some leading industry experts said that the open source nature of AI problem-solving makes it less labor intensive, less expensive, and easier for retailers to pull off than they probably think. Given the results it can yield, cost for a major retailer isn't even an issue, some say. And though perhaps fewer in number, people—and the relationships between them—will still play a critical role in an AI future, say industry leaders. Data scientists and criminal behavioral analysts will work side-by-side, with analysts identifying tools they need and software teams taking company data to start building those tools within hours. Loss prevention professionals will have a role in a machine-learning world, said Gonzalez. "People, more than machines, can look at items for the X factor that might escape data's attention, to see more than what is in front of them, to make inferences from their understanding of the battle," he said. "You can get very good info from machine learning, truly actionable data, but you need a person to interpret, and to contextualize, and to see a data point that a machine might have missed." Far from subtracting from the value of LP professionals, increased reliance on analytics and more powerful analytic tools may ultimately enhance it, suggested LP leaders. Data offers LP a clear path to becoming the full business partners we strive to be, they said. ANALYTICS IS NOT JUST A NUMBER'S GAME DOUBLE THE POWER 20% MORE COVERAGE LOUD AUDIO 1-800-950-5005 • www.kenwood.com/usa 23 LP MAGAZINE | JULY–AUGUST 2019

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