Retail theft prevention is something I have enjoyed since the day I started working in it. If I were to be asked what my favorite part about doing Loss Prevention work is, I would have a hard time saying one thing. That’s because at different times in my career there were various parts of the job that really made my job rewarding. It was fun to stop shoplifting when I started out my career, watching a theft transpire and the adrenaline kicked in as I readied myself for the concealment and the stop I would be making. As I advanced and became a Loss Prevention Manager I continued to catch shoplifters every so often but I started having to train employees about shortage reduction and the expectations upon them in preventing theft and fraud. These sessions usually took place during new employee orientations. I found that training others was a piece of shortage reduction I found to be rewarding (I also found I could start picking out potential future dishonest employees by their questions and their attention in class). As the L.P. Manager I also had interactions with various vendors, such as the property management officials, closed circuit television technicians and Checkpoint Systems technicians who worked on our electronic article surveillance equipment. As I progressed in my career I took these early lessons in building partnerships to create closer ties that became part of our shortage reduction culture.
I found that as I built strong partnership with vendors I was able to get improved service for the store. One example was an upgrade we did with our CCTV system. The contract was with a new company and the workers came out, completed the upgrades, took time to explain the changes and trained me on what I would need to know. I completed a positive survey of their work for my company. A few years later we underwent another upgrade and because of my survey this company received the contract. The technicians went out of their way to show me how they crimped BNC connectors rather than using twist-ons like I was used to and they left me extras and a crimping tool. My relations with the Checkpoint Systems vendors were great as well. I didn’t place “urgent” requests in unnecessarily. If I had a repair need and the technician called we would talk about the issue. If it was something that could wait until he could get to my store a few days later due to other calls, I would do my best to work with him. It might have been a checklane that had a faulty deactivation unit. If I didn’t have a spare unit I would shut down that register for a few days. If my request was going to have a significant impact on retail theft prevention and shortage such as a pedestal not working then I would get the faster service. I can tell you that this mutual respect paid off when I would request a system check just before the holidays to ensure our system was running at peak performance. I always seemed to be at the top of his list of priorities.
I already had friendships I had built with local law enforcement from my job as a Loss Prevention Officer, but using the skills I was developing with vendor relations I found I was able to create a new level of partnership with my police department. Nothing enhances store security more than having police cars parked at the curb of the store or a couple of police bikes located inside the doors to the building. Police stopped at our store for no other reason than to come and visit with our L.P. team in our office. When the police department wanted to conduct a children’s I.D. session for families, our store allowed them to set up a table up front. When they started a Santa’s Helper’s program the store manager made sure we were the retailer to volunteer to help out by adding extra staff and feeding the kids and officers lunch. Since the officers were spending time at our store, I took the time to attend a citizen’s class they offered (about an 8 week program) to let them know I valued what they offered. Like my partnership with Checkpoint Systems, when I was in need of help from the police, I can attest that I rarely had to wait long on a response.
In Part 2 I will provide some other strategies I learned along the way that made Loss Prevention rewarding AND helped me in creating a strong retail theft prevention program. Loss Prevention programs are important to shortage reduction and partnerships with others enhances those programs.
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