LP Magazine

MAR-APR 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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To successfully innovate today, LP leaders repeatedly emphasized the importance of reciprocity in relationships—forging a two-way bridge between LP and its business partners, between corporate planners and field operators, and between the future and the past. 17 LP MAGAZINE | MARCH–APRIL 2018 technology would quickly provide the fledgling department a solid foundation, but that's not why its veteran LP director chose it. "What I did when looking at investment in technology was to get with my company partners to make them aware of what we're looking at and asking what they would be interested in seeing and caring about and considering in their world as we looked at technology," he said. "The key is that the technology that you choose should be beneficial to your department but also to other departments. It has to have cross-functional value. You can look out for your own interest, but you have to have the interests of others in mind." The strategy is important for several reasons. Most obviously, advocating technology that also has value for audit, or sales, or operations ultimately yields greater value for the company overall—a critical consideration in today's challenging retail environment. More selfishly, when you're utilizing a technology that is used by others, you don't face the same pressures to justify the technology down the road, explained the department's director. Agilence's technology serves the asset protection function, but it is also a companywide tool. "So I don't even have to address it when working on budgets," he noted. The opportunities are out there, say LP innovators: cross-functional tools that can enable opportunities for asset protection and improve sales forecasting, planogram compliance, in-store execution of marketing strategy, the efficiency of field managers, stock assurance, and labor scheduling to reduce employee turnover—to identify just a sampling. For Scott Roubic, taking a broad approach to innovation comes naturally. It derives from his experience on the finance side of the retail business and is facilitated by his diverse portfolio of responsibilities at JOANN, which includes all fraud-related programs, including point-of-sale, ecommerce, and corporate fraud programs, as well as the internal audit and asset protection functions. Roubic echoed the opinion that LP innovation today must look beyond the LP function, and he added that doing so will indicate when a good investment for LP might be a bad investment for the company. "Not all technology makes sense, or it may be cost-prohibitive," said Roubic. "It would be nice to have it all, but we have to act within the framework of our companies. We need to understand our business model and that a technology that might fit a company like Best Buy may not fit our business model." At times, a retailer's business model may restrict LP innovation, but bending to that reality is part of being a successful company business leader and not just an advocate for a narrow function of the business. For example, JOANN doesn't employ EAS technology, something that Roubic suspects might come as a surprise to new additions to his team, but he says it's never made good business sense for their particular operations. "You need to understand your business model and accept it and innovate with it in mind," he advised. Sears Holdings' Scott Glenn has similar advice. AP/LP leaders need to propose real solutions to real problems that fit a retailer's broader strategic plan. "You have to understand how the system you're proposing fits in the grand scheme. You can't come in and suggest something that works for you but not the larger organization, or it's going to be a non-starter." Being committed to cross-functional collaboration is important in developing and implementing technology projects, just as it is in choosing which technologies to go after. "Well before we deploy, we get everyone board. We include our business partners in meetings, so they can interact with the top three vendors," explained the director of asset protection for a discount retailer. Securing support up front greases the implementation process, he suggested. For example, they went from contract to deployment of a retail analytics platform, which typically takes months, in less than six weeks. "One of the main reasons that happened was my partnership with IT because they recognized that after we got this on board it was going to save them a ton of time by being able to get reports from the field. Since it was in ALL TOGETHER NOW Scott Glenn

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