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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GARETT SEIVOLD is a journalist who has covered corporate security for nearly twenty years. He has been recognized for outstanding writing, investigative reporting, and instructional journalism. He has authored dozens of survey-based research reports and best-practice manuals on security-related topics. Seivold can be reached at GarettS@LPportal.com. "[Innovation] doesn't have to start at the highest level and trickle down. I personally came up with ideas at the store level, innovations involving expense reduction and better information sharing, and had the mindset that I wanted to see those tools trickle up." – Brian Goddard, Macy's 22 MARCH–APRIL 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM ■ Spend time up front to customize new technology to best fit your wide range of business needs; vendors are more than willing these days to work with you. ■ Focus on "pain points" for innovation that works. ■ Innovation should take aim at both dynamic capabilities (which are generally forward-looking) and ordinary capabilities (which are oriented toward the execution of current operations). ■ Be willing to give up ownership of a technology or a project. Don't let the fear of giving up ownership dissuade you from collaboration. Reshaping the LP Professional? Soon after assuming responsibility for asset protection, Scott Roubic started to wonder if he had sized up the industry wrong. "I was a numbers guy and accustomed to leveraging technology. And I was thrown by the approach in LP that seemed very boots-on-the-ground focused. More than anything, I was struggling because we didn't make good use of the data that was out there, and we were lacking the tools and systems to do it. So I started to wonder, 'Is this not the right place for these tools and approaches?'" His view changed after a conference keynote where an industry leader pushed his peers to attack innovation in just the way Roubic had thought it should be—by thinking more broadly than the store floor—and to make full use of technology and data at its fingertips. "That's when I realized that I was thinking along the right lines, and our innovation at JOANN since has followed that path." It's logical, as retail reinvents itself, for the role of LP—and the skills of the practitioners who lead it—to change. Uniformly, today's industry leaders in innovation think technology will take center stage in that transformation. "It's already underway and is only going to intensify," said one. "To be honest, if you're not staying on top of the latest and greatest, I don't know how you can survive in the industry." More broadly, he suggested that the industry should cultivate a slightly different perception of LP executives. "I think the important thing is to be seen as a member of business leadership who happens to be in AP, as an effective leader and not just the person leading AP." Scott Glenn thinks it's not yet clear how retailers will organize themselves to avoid the disconnects that still exist around technology innovation but believes the path forward for LP leader is clear. "Today's AP/LP executive has to be much more data-driven and analytical," he said, "and exploit that knowledge and their curiosity to pursue things that are going to provide ROI across the enterprise." Glenn suspects that we may see continued transformation in retail organization structures as companies try to maximize strategic cooperation, for example by having more department heads reporting into the chief information officer function and greater use of task forces to formalize collaboration. Roubic wonders, several years from now, if LP departments won't look substantially different than they do today. "I might be taking it too far, but I'm someone with a finance background that is now leading AP, and I could see someone with a technical background stepping into the leading role in certain companies," he said. "I don't want to minimize the AP field, but if you've got a good team beneath you that knows the day to day, then it may behoove some companies to bring in someone with a tech background to move them forward, especially companies that are higher tech and need to leverage big data." Whichever way retailers evolve their structures to encourage innovation—or if they don't—LP leaders have the ability to help lead the effort. "I think there is more onus on them today to stay aware of the market, and most of them do a good job of that in LP, better than some other functions," said Hedgie Bartol, business development manager for retail at Axis Communications. "They allocate time to go to trade shows to learn and take the time to learn from vendors and from their industry counterparts. Some of the other functions don't. A lot of them will say they're not tech savvy. But many are way more tech savvy than they let on." ALL TOGETHER NOW

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