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.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/955857

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 20 of 76

continued from page 19 ALL TOGETHER NOW "I have always maintained that we need to understand what's available. We need to own that. I don't necessarily expect an IT partner to throw new things across my desk." – Scott Roubic, JOANN 20 MARCH–APRIL 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM going to be in when being considered in projects from other functions, according to Goddard. To Goddard, innovation isn't limited to finding and implementing new technology tools—it's about getting stores to use them. "A lot of our technology we haven't been using for very long, so [stores] are still evolving in their understanding of the value of it," he explained. "We can roll out something fantastic, and it is crucial we ensure our success by continuously training to these new technologies while soliciting ideas from our end users. It must be user friendly, and we must overcome challenges along the way and push the envelope with our end users and solutions providers alike." Outreach can also help reduce duplication of effort or reduce store costs. For example, one vendor said it's not uncommon for store merchandising managers to hire an outside company to test the effectiveness of an endcap or a display, even though they already have a camera that could do it for them. Finally, Roubic suggested a third way in which LP innovation needs to be a two-way street—by looking not just at the future but also at the past. "A couple of years ago one of our field AP pros asked, 'Why aren't we looking at patterns in discounts and coupons?' We use them a lot, so we started using our exception-based reporting system to dig into trends," explained Roubic. By doing so, the AP department had a "significant and immediate impact" by rooting out team member abuse of coupons and, more significantly, by identifying and addressing training and systemic gaps that were contributing to lost revenue. Despite improved utilization, Roubic thinks they still have a ways to go before they're extracting full value from the capabilities of their exception-based reporting system. "My point is that when you're looking forward and thinking about innovation, you also need to look back at what you have and to be sure that you leverage your existing tools as best you can," said Roubic. "This is increasingly important in an environment where resources may be at a minimum and capital investment may not be at the level you need, yet you are still expected to drive improvement." At Sears Holdings, that has resulted in new missions for asset protection. Its team is taking its investigative mindset and problem-solving skills and applying it to loyalty programs and other areas of sales-reducing activity. "It may not show up as shrink, but it's just as impactful to the profitability of the company," said Scott Glenn. "We were highlighting this with our loyalty team and across the enterprise, so they said, 'Okay, you have the visibility. You have the skills. Go ahead and knock out $50 million a year for us.'" Glenn's team readily accepted the challenge. "It was a natural transition for us. At the end of the day, we are here to stop profit drain. In the past it was just more narrowly focused around other metrics, but it's the same approach. So we just embraced the opportunity to codify it and make it part of our accountability. Margin loss and other profit drains are now more of a mantra for us compared to traditional shrink, fraud, and safety." Positioning for Success In a recent study, Profit Protection: New Ways to Combat Shrinkage by the IE Foundation and Ernst & Young, researchers noted that opportunity can fall into the gap between functional silos. "We found that in many firms neither IT managers nor shrinkage managers were aware of the latest developments in software for pattern recognition that can identify potential sources of shrinkage," the report concluded. Scott Roubic said his team at JOANN avoids any such problem by accepting full responsibility for keeping abreast of the latest technology opportunities. "I have always maintained that we need to understand what's available. We need to own that. I don't necessarily expect an IT partner to throw new things across my desk," he said. "And while you need to know your business model and to limit your recommendations to technology that fits it, you still need to know everything. Something that might not be the right fit for your business today may fit your business model tomorrow. Businesses change rapidly. If you don't take on the responsibility, to me, you're putting yourself in a tough position." But how do you stay on the cutting edge of technology? Although organizational structures and other intractable issues can restrict an LP executive's options in this regard, it's worthwhile to consider what successful LP innovators are saying keeps them poised to exploit advances in technology. Scott Glenn gives credit to the addition of technology expertise to the AP team. "I've tried to structure our team differently. We've hired statisticians, data modelers, and systems people, so we can look for different opportunities," said Glenn. He also thinks that the LP industry could better utilize technology

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of LP Magazine - MAR-APR 2018