Retail loss prevention initiatives necessary for success & profit

By definition, retail loss prevention  is a type of private investigation into larceny or theft. It is police and detective work for the private business instead of the general public. Businesses that do not take into consideration basic loss prevention and asset protection procedures will not survive.

The focus in retail loss prevention is on shoplifting, fraud and employee theft. According to the 2006 National Retail Security Survey, shrink is divided into five categories:

46.8% Employee theft
31.6% Shoplifting
14.4% Administrative error
3.75% Vendor error
2.86% Unknown error

To understand  retail loss prevention , a business needs to understand shrink. Shrink is merchandise or assets that are unaccounted for – and the loss is usually identified during an inventory. A business’s books will tell how much merchandise the business is supposed to have, based on receivings, shipments, etc. The difference between the books and what merchandise is actually there is called shrink.

A business must analyze its operations in order to identify factors that contribute to loss. Strategies must then be implemented to combat shrink. As illustrated in the statistics above, employee theft creates the most loss for a business and has to be taken into consideration when creating a program to reduce shrink. Many businesses only focus on shoplifting as a contributor, but employees can actually steal much more.

Retail loss prevention is a necessary effort in order for a business to be successful and profitable.

For more information contact us: retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567.

 

Posted September 30th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Security and Loss Prevention similar but not the same

If you are or work for a small to medium sized retailer with less than ten locations you may be thinking security and loss prevention are one in the same.  Most retailers that size do not have a loss prevention staff or even a program in place.  Many that I run into will respond, “I have a security system” when I ask about their loss prevention situation.  What they mean to say is “I have a burglar alarm.” 

A burglar alarm, known as a security system, is armed when the facility is closed and no one is in the location.  Just stating the obvious, when a protected point such as a door or window is breached it sets of the burglar alarm which triggers a string of events that will result in the police being dispatched to the location. 

Retail loss prevention will include a burglar alarm to protect assests when the facility is closed; however, most retail losses accur when the store is open.  Taking a look at other security and loss prevention solutions are CCTV (surveillance cameras).  CCTV systems are great for recording events where loss occurs so that you can retrieve the evidence for use in court etc…

An active loss prevention security solution is an EAS (Electronic Article Security) system such as Checkpoint Systems.  Checkpoint systems involve installing antennas at doors that detect anti theft devices that are placed on merchandise.  These anti theft devices are either pinned on or are labels that are stuck on.  When a shoplifter approaches an exit with merchandise that has not been paid for the Checkpoint system will alarm alerting staff of the issue.  This catches the shoplifting in the act, thus a Checkpoint system is considered an active  loss prevention security method.

For more information and or to learn about your options for protecting your merchandise visit:  security and loss prevention 

 

Posted September 28th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

The basics of Loss Prevention

Loss Prevention, traditionally, is a department or part of many retailers and businesses throughout the world. The responsibilities are generally the same; prevent losses.

Through a proactive approach, loss prevention can be a real asset to any company interested in protecting themselves from a number of different losses. Shoplifters, employee theft, receiving/delivery issues, vendor fraud and other administrative related concerns are the reality retailers and businesses face.

As an example, a local grocer I worked for some years ago faced a number of challenges. They were a smaller business, competing against the likes of Ralphs, Vons and other big name grocers. However, they had a niche, the community loved them. They were profitable and able to open to more local stores. As the business grew, so did the issues. More employees increased the likely hood of employee theft and dishonest employees. The operations department did not have the time or the experience on detecting and preventing such occurrences. They needed help, and fast. The company I worked for at the time was hired. The operators of the loss prevention organization came in with a fury. They quickly identified the issues and worked with the management on creating a plan to aggressively go after those causing the losses and rolled out a plan to help prevent them from occurring in the future. Initially, we launched several investigations into large dollar losses various departments were suffering. We uncovered everything from a local delivery company not delivering all the goods, and working with a dishonest employee to keep some of the company merchandise for his own little side business to big name, brand name vendors delivering only part of the merchandise ordered and fudging the numbers on invoices to reflect otherwise. Today, this grocer is thriving. They have about 21 locations and are looking forward to growth in the future.

Loss Prevention is an important and integral part of a business. A solid program delivering better than expected results should always be the outcome.

For more information visit us at loss prevention or call us at 1.866.914.2567

 

Posted September 27th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Why Employees Steal In Retail Loss Prevention, Atlanta

Over the years many of the employees caught in retail loss prevention theft investigations that I have conducted have given me a lot of reasons why they did it. The most common is “as a favor to help friends out” or commonly called peer pressure. Think of it, an employee commits a felony that will land them in serious trouble to help out a buddy.

My fellow loss prevention and security professionals have heard this so many times. Why does the employee do it? There are several factors. One being age. We mostly hear this from 17 to 22 year olds. I believe that this is because they think that fitting in with so-called “friends” is more important than anything else. This thought process is pretty alien to the rest of us until you start thinking back to your own life at that age. You may have started smoking or did something else that you now look back and say, “what was I thinking?”. All of this in order to “fit in”.

Employees in that age group also tend to feel like they are bullet proof and that they wont get caught. In that situation I always laugh about the security and loss prevention investigations I conducted where a 19 year old cashier thought that she was the only one that ever thought up refund fraud, cash theft, void fraud or some other retail loss prevention theft that I had already put 600 people prior to her in jail for.

There was one retail loss prevention investigation in particular that I think is a good example. Two 18 year olds, male and female who were boyfriend/girlfriend decided that they would steal merchandise and cash to the tune of several thousand dollars. They thought that no one knew what they were doing. Clearly they believed that they were smarter that the rest of us including the store manager.

The manager contacted me to start a retail loss prevention investigation after he noticed variances in both cash and merchandise. In a very short time I had the evidence pulled together and narrowed it down to the two eighteen year olds. The interviews with each of them revealed the reason, they were stealing for each other (isn’t love grand?) and they didn’t think anyone would notice. They got to spend the next two years on probation paying back the business with interest and 50 hours of community service each (separate community service details as the Judge thought the love needed a break).

Your loss prevention security program must take this type of reason in to account if you want to keep your money on the bottom line. You must make clear to employees of all ages that you will not tolerate any theft of any type. The only thing they are allowed to leave the store with that they did not bring in is the air in their lungs. The rest is hands off.

Security and loss prevention professionals help you to balance loss prevention with sales, operations and human resource issues and concerns.

For more information on loss prevention security , retail loss prevention or loss prevention in general please contact us in Atlanta at: security and loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567

LPSI is the Atlanta area loss prevention security experts.

Posted September 25th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Loss Prevention Security Policy And Procedure

Loss prevention security is achieved with many programs and concepts running at the same time. However, the foundation of all of this is the company policy and procedure manual. Is it a living-breathing document that is emphasized daily by upper and middle management? Or is it used only and a means to prop open the office door?

Your P & P should clearly spell out how the company operates and when someone asks a question the first source that the person should be referred to is that manual. You must create a loss prevention security culture when employees automatically start with the P & P manual. This accomplishes several goals.

One of the biggest time and profit wastes in a company is reinventing the same wheel over and over. A policy and procedure manual creates a standard. Do it that way. Another issue that a P & P manual solves is the constant interruptions for information that should be readily available to employees.

For example, you have a procedure for receiving. Everyone that touches that area should know the correct way to receive product. It should be the same way and not open to interpretation. Security and loss prevention is only achieved when everyone is doing the same things the same way.

Of course all of this is only possible if you keep the manual up to date with relevant and current information that has changed with your business changes. Loss prevention security personnel should be involved along with all other areas to review and insure that changes are made as business changes.

Security and loss prevention personal can then focus more on prevention and go after the money that is leaking off the bottom line in more complex areas. Loss prevention security should be a profit center. You will never achieve that until you have a stable foundation.

Make your policy and procedure manual and loss prevention a corner stone in your companies profit model.

For more information about security and loss prevention in Atlanta contact us at: loss prevention security or call 1.866.914.2567

 

 

Posted September 23rd, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Security and Loss Prevention – Providing the same outcome thru different tasks

Security and Loss Prevention have, throughout their history, been lumped together as one in the same. Some call Loss Prevention, Security, some call Security, Loss Prevention.

I personally believe they are different, here’s why.

Security is, as its name indicates, a position of securing, keeping secure or providing a secure environment for people, places and things. When you hear the name security, you automatically think of a person in a uniform, assigned to patrol or monitor a particular area.

When you hear the name of Loss Prevention, you think of a plain clothes store detective or undercover loss prevention agent. Both working to protect the assets of the company through a pro-active approach, one is overt the other is covert.

Security and Loss Prevention, different or not, should have the same goal. Provide the retailer or business with a safe, secure and profitable environment.

Through shared responsibilities, Security and Loss Prevention offer a great partnership.

Retailers must have their fingers on the pulse of the business to truly identify what is needed. Is it a uniformed security program, or should they develop a full blown loss prevention program? What is the environment? What is the business? What do the stores or business look like? Large box or smaller boutique styles? The demographic can also dictate when and where a uniformed security presence is best suited versus the undercover loss prevention personnel working to apprehend would-be thieves. Having uniformed security personnel at the front of a business can sometimes deter customers. Having a poorly trained and uneducated loss prevention program can lead to bad business practice. It’s no easy task. Security and Loss Prevention are two business needs that should be address by every retailer, business owner and manager alike.

Consult a Loss Prevention professional to asses your specific situation and recommend the security a loss prevention services that best fit your goals.

For more information visit us at security and loss prevention or call us 1.866.914.2567

Posted September 21st, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Retail loss prevention solution a click or call away

Retail Loss Prevention has been around for many years. Names like Store Detective, In house Detective, Grocery Cop, Loss Prevention Agent, Undercovers, and more have been bounced around and used all over the place. Whatever the name, the job of a person in Retail Loss Prevention is ever-changing. 

From Apprehending shoplifters, to running an inventory, leaders in Retail Loss Prevention are always out to find the best return on the investment. This is no small feat. As most business people would probably agree, a knowledgeable and effective loss prevention department can seriously impact the business. Now, whether this impact is negative or positive depends on the organization.

Knowledge is power. In this day and age, it is important for loss prevention leadership to look at ALL aspects of the retail business. Is the retailer suffering from shoplifters? What about organized retail crime rings? Are they having issues with cash shortages? Maybe their receiving habits have gone unchecked for too long. What about employee awareness? Deciding what works best and building a custom program to each retailer should be the goal.

By far, one of the best ways Retail Loss Prevention can impact their business and partners is by helping build the awareness of all employees. Most employees are not aware of losses other than shoplifters. They don’t know about markdown abuse, price adjustments, refund fraud, discount abuse and other point of sale schemes used by the dishonest employee. Employee awareness impacts shrink and losses effectively when managed appropriately.

As experts, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. provides a valuable service to the retailer working closely with management, ownership and or operations, they can advise on all aspects of the business where opportunities for improvement exist to reduce losses and boost profits.

For more information visit us at retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567

 

Posted September 21st, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Loss Prevention Security, Hiring Procedures, Atlanta

Loss prevention security professionals that have been in the business for some time understand that simply conducting employee theft investigation after investigation is not the primary solution to company profitability.

I began to notice early in my career that the loss prevention people are really the ones catching the sludge coming out of the end of the pipe. We deal with the most undesirable soon to be ex-employees. When you are constantly doing this you have a tendency to look up the pipe and try to figure out where all of this comes from. The answer is that it starts the moment that a person walks in to apply for a job.

If your company has poor or weak hiring policies then you are simply setting the company and yourself up for more sludge. I am not even going into the issue of what this costs the company to train and replace the bad hire let alone the cost of that a poor performer caused you in lost sales and productivity. That is for another blog.

Loss prevention is exactly that, preventing loss. In a way when we have to conduct an employee theft investigation we have lost. Whatever the employee did should have been prevented. So how do we do this?

Security and loss prevention must be involved and have input into the hiring process. We should be working directly with Human Resource management as partners to achieve the company’s goal, which is a profit.

Our company should be selecting the most desirable and best candidate for the position. Part of this should be consideration for their background and attitudes. Has this person been involved in any undesirable behavior, criminal activity, poor personal money management and poor work history? In addition what is this candidates attitude towards management, supervision and loss prevention. What is their work ethic? All of these areas affect the company and loss prevention mission, profit. Loss prevention security is not simply chasing bad guys

This is in addition to security and loss prevention involvement in other areas such as inventory control, merchandising and store layout. Loss prevention security personnel must interface with all areas of the company to insure that the profit mission is achieved. But again these are issues for another days blog.

Security and loss prevention is one of the major keys to a profitable company. Ignore it as many have done and face an unprofitable environment while catching more sludge than you should have to.

For more information contact us: security and loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567

Posted September 20th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Various forms of Loss Prevention Security to consider

Many business leaders are aware of the unfortunate need for loss prevention security.  Loss prevention security is available in many forms and is probably most popular as retail loss prevention.

In retail you have installed solutions that include camera systems, burglar & fire systems and electronic article surveillance systems (EAS).

Consulting solutions are also available such as loss prevention investigators/ consultants that are for hire on a per incident basis or long term contract basis.  Consulting side lends itself well to retail as well as other businesses who may be experiencing employee theft / employee fraud issues.

It is becoming more popular for businesses to subcontract their Loss Prevention work out due to cut backs in staffing and utilizing this resource to periodically train existing staff can pay big dividends.  The best defense against losses is always going to be a good offense.  Having well informed and trained staff working through a well thought out plan and procedures is critical and getting there can be accomplished quickly and efficiently through the use of periodic outside help.

For installed loss prevention security, cameras are the most popular; however, they are the most missunderstood as well.  You see the evidence of it on TV every day when watching convenience store or bank robberies in action.  Theives don’t care if they are being recorded.  Having a camera system installed will not stop professional theives or even the ametuers.  But it is good to have a record of the event for proof in court if needed.

For more options and information visit: loss prevention security 

 

 

Posted September 13th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Loss Prevention in Atlanta…Do You Have a Plan?

Most large retailers in Atlanta and elsewhere suffer “shrinkage” of less than 2% of their revenue, but did you know that small business retailers often suffer “shrinkage” of up to 20% month over month?  If your business does not have a loss prevention plan, get one, NOW.

Loss prevention involves all types of retail item loss.  According to Wikipedia, the following outline losses of inventory percentages and their causes:

  • 46.8% from employee theft
  • 31.6% from shoplifting
  • 14.4% from administrative error
  • 3.75% from vendor error
  • 2.86% from unknown error.

The above listed reasons are not the only culprits for loses.  Credit card fraud, check fraud, and skimming can also be considered causes of “shrinkage”.  So what can a small business do to prevent these types of problems from occurring?

Have procedures in place such as the method a cashier checks out a customer? Have them check the bottom of the basket first.  “Bottom of basket” loss occurs when either a customer does not indicate other items are below where the employee can’t see or they are forgotten.  This can be prevented with proper training of employees.

I’ve noticed many retail outlets have anti-shoplifting alarm systems on articles, such as clothing.  However, when the article passes through the alarm and it goes off, no one responds.  Have a loss prevention employee that is responsible for checking the bags and receipts of existing customers.

By having a plan in place, you can decrease the “mysterious disappearance” of items in your retail outlet. 

Need additional advice on loss prevention?  Contact us at loss prevention   or call 1.866.914.2567.

Posted September 8th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized