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Cyber-security - Why LP is the Best Oversight

Posted on 7/28/15 10:30 AM

The Target breach and the other incidents that followed confirmed that cybercrime is a large threat to retailers. Both in terms of the hard costs such as repair and damage payouts and in the soft costs like customer anger and mistrust. I have little doubt that if it’s not already happening, soon colleges and universities will be offering degrees specific to cyber security.

In retail, everyone reports to someone and eventually we need to decide the exact reporting structure for our cyber-security specialists. Like many business functions, including Loss Prevention, there is some flexibility in a cross-functional department.

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Topics: loss prevention, Victim, Refund Fraud, Cyber Security

A Shift in Crime or Flawed Perceptions?

Posted on 7/23/15 10:08 AM

A Shift in Crime or Flawed Perceptions?
The danger in guessing shrink contribution

I read this year’s National Retail Security Survey and it was nice to see such a large shift in human behavior. According to the recent survey, employee theft’s contribution to shrink substantially fell to 34%. That’s a decrease of over eleven percentage points since 2010 and a decrease of five from 2012.

And probably, most likely, quite…flawed.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not just that I have to update my sales deck that I am suspicious. Although I was immediately skeptical of the figure, I conducted some quick “back of the envelope math” to see if it made sense. I also relied on several other sources and over twenty five years of experience in coming to the conclusion that loss prevention professionals are making a big mistake if they use these opinions as reason to shift their focus away from internal theft issues.

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Topics: employee theft, ORC, Shrink, Shoplifter Theft

Do More With Less...

Posted on 7/14/15 11:24 AM

Modern business language is chock full of flavorable terms and phrases. Things that sound really nice, but are more verbal optics than possible realities.  These little bites of wisdom exist in the endless universe of theory but seldom stand the test of practice. The issues arise when we start to believe that these nuggets of corporate-speak can represent an achievable goal. When managers misinterpret a hackneyed phrase for an actual proverb. As when we suggest someone gives 110% , a request which is impossible but attempts to suggest that we might be holding back on a full effort. One phrase in particular appears to have developed into an actual business belief in the impossible – “do more with less”. While  the origin of this little gem is probably unknown, one could guess that it came as an answer to slashed resources without a corresponding reduction in goals. It's easy to imagine that it was accompanied with either an implicit or perhaps explicit threat of “if you can’t get it done with what I’ve provided then I’ll find someone who can.”

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Topics: loss prevention, Loss Prevention program and development

The Importance of Face to Face Loss Prevention

Posted on 7/7/15 10:30 AM

Technology has afforded us the opportunity to be in two places at once. Using remote connectivity, a person can be in one location conducting business, while “connected” to another watching video or conducting a video conference. Even though technology provides us this convenience to conduct business remotely, face to face loss prevention still provides greater benefits as it comes to a solid loss prevention program.

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Topics: loss prevention awareness, loss prevention, Loss Prevention program and development

Is Your Deterrence Loud Enough?

Posted on 6/30/15 10:30 AM

The best way to avoid loss is to not experience any losses. That statement appears a matter of common sense and a proclamation of the obvious. And yet, we don’t always do a great job at asset protection. The core issue lies in both the types of actions taken and the efforts placed on the most successful strategy—deterrence.

To understand the short falls of deterrence, we must first separate it from processes meant to apprehend and those meant to protect. True deterrence doesn’t operate like a locked door and it’s not necessarily an investigative device such as a camera system or an exception based reporting software. In other words, a heavy steal gate doesn’t deter theft, it prevents theft by removing entry in the same way that our video recording doesn’t stop behavior, but helps us discover the individual responsible for the behavior. These devices are necessary and helpful, but they are limited in their benefits—a gate can only protect things behind it and a camera can only catch actions in front of it. Deterrence, when properly executed, however, operates within the individual and is not subject to the limits of physical space.

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Topics: employee awareness, educate, Internal Dishonesty, Internal Theft

The Language of Fear, Optimism, and Loss Prevention

Posted on 6/25/15 4:05 PM

Hope is mostly hard-wired into human nature. Even self-proclaimed pessimists can’t avoid its seductive voice. In the short-term or in evaluation of “near time” events we can call upon pragmatic rational to measure risk, but our 

observations of the future remain mired in optimism. True, there are those who see a sunburn in every sunny day, but for the majority the “bad” sleeps in the past and the “good” waits in the future.

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The One Thing More Damaging than Internal Theft

Posted on 6/17/15 10:00 AM

I’ve spent a couple of decades observing attitudes on employee theft. Obviously it is not a question of whether or not employers believe it to be right or wrong. Unanimously, people agree that stealing is a bad thing, that it is illegal, and that such behavior hurts both the company and its employees. In fact, most managers accept that internal theft is a considerably sized problem. Where the conversation gets a bit dicey is when we move from a general “they” steal to the more specific “your people steal.”

In seminars I’ll often share the statistics the one in ten employee engage in dishonesty and that these actions are estimated to account for nearly half of all company losses. At this point I ask the audience to answer a few questions based on their own perceptions of the problem. I ask them to write down what percentage of theft causes loss in the following categories:

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Topics: employee theft, Internal Dishonesty, Internal Theft, Honest Employees

Loss Prevention: What's in a Name?

Posted on 6/10/15 9:59 AM

Most of my career I have heard my profession referred to as the “Loss Prevention Industry” somewhat routinely by many of my peers and fellow retail loss prevention professionals. A very curious description that apparently reflects a need by some to inaccurately describe what we do. At some level you could argue to challenge this notion is splitting hairs and not worth the debate. I disagree, how we define ourselves creates perceptions on how others perceive our value and the role we play in the industry we serve.

If asked by a perfect stranger to describe what I do, my response is I am a retail professional providing loss prevention expertise to my employer. In the unlikely event they push for a more expansive description I would add; a retail generalist with a specific expertise in the application of loss prevention best practices across “all” retail functional areas to help reduce loss, protect assets and ultimately help my company improve profitability. With a clear understanding it is a vital support function to help directly and indirectly improve earnings. The key concept being an important strategic contributor to a retail organization by helping drive improved earnings through the applica

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Topics: Loss Prevention Professionals

MOS: Marked out of Stock or Missing out of Shrink?

Posted on 6/2/15 11:46 AM

Although the calculation of shrink is quite simple, the factors that determine your shrink calculation may not be. Damages, known thefts, defective merchandise, mismates, return to vendors and items ‘marked out of stock’ (MOS) could be creating some “black holes” in your shrink percentage.

The MOS concept is fairly straight forward and used by most retailers. An item that cannot be sold because it is damaged for example, is documented as such allowing the merchants to replenish that item onto the sales floor. This affords the retailer the opportunity to replace the non-saleable item as opposed to not having that item available until the next physical inventory cycle.

The “black hole” as it relates to the MOS concept is

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Topics: employee theft

Loss Prevention Isn't Sales Prevention

Posted on 5/19/15 12:04 PM

Over the years we’ve often heard Loss Prevention referred to as Sales Prevention.  This is usually in reference to merchandise protection and the different views of what that entails. On the one hand, the merchant needs the product visible and touchable in order to sell the product. On the other hand, loss prevention wants to ensure that the product cannot be stolen or damaged so it can be sold.  Which is the right course of action?

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Topics: employee awareness, loss prevention technology, BlueTracs

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