In my position with LP Innovations, I am often asked, “What’s new out there in loss prevention to help make our program better?” This is often a good question; however the answer depends on the context in which it is asked. Change is good and exploring new initiatives is important, but new isn’t necessarily always better when it comes to improving your loss prevention program or reducing your shrink.
Recently, my son and I had a discussion regarding the release of yet another version of a hugely popular techno device. Curious, I asked him what was so great about this newer version compared to the existing model. Being the “ultimate consumer”, my son began to explain all of the things the newer version could do. “But does it make the device faster, and will it really improve how you get through your day?” I asked him. Detecting my skepticism, my son immediately followed up by repeating and highlighting all of the “bells and whistles” of this new version. It was clear to me that; in this case, “newer” was not better.
As a loss prevention professional and now a solution provider, I’ve discovered that it is usually not the “next best thing” or the “newest technology” out there that will help resolve or improve shrink results. Don’t get me wrong – technology has most certainly helped our efforts. If your company is not using some of the “staple” technologies in the loss prevention marketplace, I strongly suggest exploring how they can improve your program. My point is, change is good, but not simply for the sake of change. The greatest impact to your results could be just altering an existing program or the way in which you are using current technologies. Prior to making a change consider the following:
Measure where you stand
Before making any changes, make sure you have analyzed and measured your current program and its results. Review your shrink results overtime – what do you see?
Get feedback on your programs and their results from the people that have a stake in the programs or utilize the results. Analyze the use of your current technologies – are you using them to their fullest capabilities?
Through proper measurement and analysis, necessary changes will quickly become apparent. New ideas will begin to take shape and you may see that change is necessary, but to the structure not to something new.
A great example can be a store audit. Analyzing a lagging audit program may not require the use of new auditing technologies; it may only require a new set of audit questions or new procedures for following up on audit results.
Make decision makers aware of your timelines and the value of your programs
Programs and initiatives often take time to achieve desired goals. The worst thing one can do is to prematurely change direction or start new initiatives without allowing existing initiatives the proper time to demonstrate value. Moving on to the “next best thing” may not be necessary; patience with the existing initiative may be all you need to see its value.
Always make certain the decision makers know the process, timeline, goals and objectives related to your program initiatives. Set milestones, measure progress and provide regular updates. Your review will keep everyone informed and indicate when you need to alter direction, change initiatives or stay the course.
Change to re-energize
Change is often used to re-energize or regenerate a level of awareness and bring attention to your loss prevention program. This may be a good time for a change, but prior to making a complete change, make slight changes, such as how things are communicated or introduced.
Communicate your results differently, emphasizing the most positive aspects of your program to renew energy. If there is no new energy and the program continues to falter, then perhaps it is time to seek a new initiative.
Our world is changing very quickly around us. Technology is advancing faster than ever before, products and services are being offered in ways never before used, and there is always something new being released. The same is true for our industry; video technology, exception-based reporting and EAS to name only a few have made dramatic improvements year after year.
Don’t let the “newer version” or the “bells and whistles” of any technology, program or imitative be the driver of how you develop a good loss prevention program. If what you are doing is still providing good results and has everyone engaged, look to make slight adjustments for improved results. You will know when change is necessary.
Written by Michael Hofstetter, CFI, National Client Services Manager
Need assistance in measuring and analyzing your loss prevention program and initiatives? LPI provides loss prevention program assessments to help you benchmark, assess and provide recommendations on where you are with your program today. Contact us to learn more.