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  • Lynch Mob
    replied
    Originally posted by John H. Christman View Post
    Lynch: I have shown below the Index to our Agent Training Manual (an inch thick Manual given to each new agent during training).

    9. Loss Prevention Process
    a. Course Outline and Guide
    b. Sample LPW "Action Taken Page"
    c. Determining Levels of Awareness
    and Compliance As far as I can tell, this is the only educational piece, and it sounds marginal compared to what I talk about.
    d. How SIS Derives Statistics for Summaries
    e. Sample Loss Prevention Summaries
    f. List of Security Violations
    g. List of Security Audits
    h. Examples of Loss Prevention Objectives
    I. Sample Loss Prevention Objective Pages
    Objective Pages

    10. Confrontation Management

    MACY*S/BULLOCKS LOSS PREVENTION PROCESS
    INTRODUCTION

    Historically, Security Departments focused primarily on apprehending shoplifters and dishonest employees. Although Macy*s/Bullocks continues to place a major emphasis on deterring and detecting employee theft, we have been unable to find any correlation between apprehension statistics and shortage. Therefore, we recognized that in order to totally address shortage reduction and loss prevention, we needed to expand our focus. This was accomplished by the Loss. Prevention Proces~. By utilizing the LP Process, Macy*s/Bullocks shortage is reduced, which in turn increases profitability.
    There are four elements necessary for any successful loss prevention program.
    1. Total support from top management
    2 A positive employee attitude
    3. Maximum use of all available resources
    4. A system which establishes both responsibility and accountability for loss prevention through evaluations that are consistent and progressive

    Without getting into a debate over whether these are the four elements for a successful LP program or not, I have to take specific issue with #3. I disagree that maximum use of available resources is part of a successful program. Appropriate usage of available resources is more correct. This thought process is much of the reason why I think LP overspends and wastes money, because very often it is as you have said, maximum usage. More is not always better though.

    There are many Loss Prevention programs, but Macy*s/Bullocks has a "process" which incorporates a total operating philosophy of loss prevention and shortage reduction. The three components of the LP Process are the Loss Prevention Workbook (LPW), the LP Summaries and the LP Objectives. These components are the key elements to an effective and ongoing loss prevention program.

    Benefits:
    1. The Process impacts shortage in an ongoing manner throughout the season. There should be very few surprises when the inventory results are published.
    2. The Process is a consistent method of addressing shortage. Any new executive can pick up where the previous manager left off, anywhere in the Division.
    3. Proper utilization of the Process enables a stores' total Loss Prevention efforts to be evaluated, as well as the individual efforts of every executive.
    4. Evaluation can be done anytime, anywhere and by anyone.

    Clearly, I do not understand all the ins and outs of your Loss Prevention process. As it is described here, it sounds more like an auditing process than an educational process.

    **************

    I think if you read the first paragraph, we stated in the 1980's and 90's much of your philosphy; however, we continued to make apprehensions when our prevention efforts failed. We utilized not only the LPP for prevention analysis and treatment, but CCTV, EAS, proprietary visible SO's, FR controls, etc. I have no doubt that people have been saying things in line with my philosophy for years. It is the actual application that is different. Saying things and doing them are very, very different.

    It is noted, if not clear from the above, that the Security Agent who was responsible for making apprehensions was also responsible for his/her assigned LPP area/Dept.

    From the above I hope you will see that some of us who have been quite vociferous in defending the necessity for apprehnsions were on the same page as you with regard to apprehension/shortage correlations.

    At the risk of being repetitive, some of us recognized years ago (at least 25) that a combination and blending of all available techniques and procedures was the key to successful loss prevention and shortage reduction.
    I am not sure exactly why you shared all of this, but once again, it seems to only add to what I have been saying. You said that 25 years ago or more people were saying what I am saying, but your LP manual outline pretty much only shows information about investigations (internal and external) and audits. I don't see, from your outline, where you focus on education, training, awareness, or operational efficiency at all. Now, maybe there is more within those sections, but from the outline, it looks like a typical LP manual that focuses almost exclusively on apprehensions and audits.

    Just to show a difference, at P&L Solutions, we have designed the STEPS Management Training Program. It is a program with 12 modules of classroom training sessions designed specifically to teach Operations Management how to reduce shrink in their stores. Each module is designed to be a 2-hour classroom training session with homework assignments and follow-up visits to monitor their progress and learning. This program is designed for quarterly sessions to be extended over a couple of years. We track the progress of managers and put new managers in the program from the beginning as they join the company. We are currently in the process of developing PodTraining modules to make the learning process easier and track progress easier. With the PodTraining, we will be able to provide even more consistent training to managers.

    I know there is not another LP program that has 24 hours of classroom training for store operations management, specifically on Loss Prevention. When I am talking education, I am talking about it at a level that most LP professionals have never imagined, which is why so many have difficulty in understanding the difference. I talk training and they equate their 1 hour LP orientations and tour of the camera room as the same thing. Most LP training for ops is basically the equivalent of kindergarten. We are trying to offer higher level learning that gives Ops managers a huge competitive advantage, and helps them become much more well-rounded managers. And, while most LP training for Ops focuses on the store associates, it generally ignores the management, because it is so basic. We focus our training on the management. They are the ones that make the difference.

    So maybe the differences are simply that most do not fully understand the level of education I am talking about. If they believe customer service is simply greeting customers and asking them if they need help, then we are talking about two different things entirely. We have one full 2-hour session dedicated to using customer service techniques to prevent shoplifting. There is much more to it than what most believe, and we go into in-depth.

    So, while many give lip service to training and awareness, we take it to a whole other place. And, this is how I believe LP gets the most benefit. Think about it logically. You have limited resources in LP. You take time to train your people extensively (60 hours in your case John) and you send them into the store to fight shrink. What if you gave your store Ops management team that time for training? Suddenly, you have an army of highly trained individuals fighting shrink that has grown by 10 times what your normal resources are. How could you NOT be more effective when you are educating 10 times the people you were before? How could you NOT be more effective when you are teaching the people whose actions create the shrink how to not only not create that shrink, but to help stop all the other people in the store from creating shrink too?

    Can someone please tell me how this cannot be a more effective strategy that does not work in all environments? There are reasons why it cannot work, but it is not the result of a flawed strategy. The failures come from a commitment to follow through on the strategy. It has nothing to do with the size of the building you implement it in, or the type of merchandise that is sold.

    Leave a comment:


  • John H. Christman
    replied
    Lynch: I was unaware until LPGuy's last post that he worked for Macy's; I don't know when or what store. However, I do feel in light of your comments above I should explain Macy's Agent Training Program, at least when I was there (up until 1994). While I don't know the details of macy's program today, I'm confident that the successful portions of its basic program developed during the 80's is still in force.

    I have shown below the Index to our Agent Training Manual (an inch thick Manual given to each new agent during training).

    SECTION TOPIC
    1 Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure
    a. Court Systems
    b. Law of Torts
    c. Decision Tree for Shoplifting
    d. Penal Code Sections Related to Shoplifting
    e. Policy Regarding Search of Subjects
    f. Factual and Accurate Report Writing

    2 Ethics and Expenses
    a. Sample Travel Expense Report (F 71-01 )
    b. Explanation of Travel Expense Report

    3 Miscellaneous Civil Issues
    a. Sample Controlled Release Form (f 59-59)
    b. Tresspass: Private Property

    4 Internal Investigation
    a. Sample Case Distribution Log
    b. Sample Case Notes Form
    c. Sample Employee Information Report (EIR)
    d. Practical Excercises
    e. Sample Package Discrepancy Form

    5 Register Processing System (RPS)
    a. Reading Register Tapes
    b. Practical Exercises
    c. Using RPS Screens to Find Errors
    d. Sample RPS Screens
    e. How to Investigate POS Register Theft
    f. Sample Plot Sheet
    g. Sample Void Report (Report XRPS315)
    h. Quick Tips: RPS
    I. Quick Tips: Viewing Overs and Shorts
    J Quick Tips: Lotus
    k. Quick Tips: GE Credit System

    6 Honesty Shops
    a. Types of Shops
    b. "How Employees Steal"

    7 Fraud
    a. Divisional Investigations Roster
    b. Introduction to Eastbourne
    c. Sample Eastbourne Return Reports
    d. Sample Eastbourne Void Reports
    e. Sample Eastbourne Miscellaneous Reports
    f. Check Fraud
    g. Credit Card Fraud

    8 Interview and Interrogation
    a. Course Outline and Guide
    b. Presentation of Choices
    c. "Why Bad Things Happen"
    d. Sample Interview Log
    e. Sample Promissory Agreements
    f. Bibliography

    9. Loss Prevention Process
    a. Course Outline and Guide
    b. Sample LPW "Action Taken Page"
    c. Determining Levels of Awareness
    and Compliance
    d. How SIS Derives Statistics for Summaries
    e. Sample Loss Prevention Summaries
    f. List of Security Violations
    g. List of Security Audits
    h. Examples of Loss Prevention Objectives
    I. Sample Loss Prevention Objective Pages
    Objective Pages

    10. Confrontation Management

    Now for some details of the training.

    Each new Agent was brought to San Framcisco (Corp Hdq) for approx 60 hours of classroom (some of which was practical work, writing report, Confrontation Management, e.g.). Of this time, only about 12% was spent on Shoplifting. Significantly more was spent on our Loss Prevention Process, which was designed to identify areas of loss and address them immediately. Utilizing the various formats to records actions taken, we could not only determine successful actions but address areas which were unresponsive to loss prevention.

    Rather then tryt to explain the process, I'll simply reprint below the first page of the Macy's/Bullocks Security Manual covering the Process.

    *********

    MACY*S/BULLOCKS LOSS PREVENTION PROCESS
    INTRODUCTION

    Historically, Security Departments focused primarily on apprehending shoplifters and dishonest employees. Although Macy*s/Bullocks continues to place a major emphasis on deterring and detecting employee theft, we have been unable to find any correlation between apprehension statistics and shortage. Therefore, we recognized that in order to totally address shortage reduction and loss prevention, we needed to expand our focus. This was accomplished by the Loss. Prevention Proces~. By utilizing the LP Process, Macy*s/Bullocks shortage is reduced, which in turn increases profitability.
    There are four elements necessary for any successful loss prevention program.
    1. Total support from top management
    2 A positive employee attitude
    3. Maximum use of all available resources
    4. A system which establishes both responsibility and accountability for loss prevention through evaluations that are consistent and progressive

    There are many Loss Prevention programs, but Macy*s/Bullocks has a "process" which incorporates a total operating philosophy of loss prevention and shortage reduction. The three components of the LP Process are the Loss Prevention Workbook (LPW), the LP Summaries and the LP Objectives. These components are the key elements to an effective and ongoing loss prevention program.

    Benefits:
    1. The Process impacts shortage in an ongoing manner throughout the season. There should be very few surprises when the inventory results are published.
    2. The Process is a consistent method of addressing shortage. Any new executive can pick up where the previous manager left off, anywhere in the Division.
    3. Proper utilization of the Process enables a stores' total Loss Prevention efforts to be evaluated, as well as the individual efforts of every executive.
    4. Evaluation can be done anytime, anywhere and by anyone.

    **************

    I think if you read the first paragraph, we stated in the 1980's and 90's much of your philosphy; however, we continued to make apprehensions when our prevention efforts failed. We utilized not only the LPP for prevention analysis and treatment, but CCTV, EAS, proprietary visible SO's, FR controls, etc.

    It is noted, if not clear from the above, that the Security Agent who was responsible for making apprehensions was also responsible for his/her assigned LPP area/Dept.

    From the above I hope you will see that some of us who have been quite vociferous in defending the necessity for apprehnsions were on the same page as you with regard to apprehension/shortage correlations.

    At the risk of being repetitive, some of us recognized years ago (at least 25) that a combination and blending of all available techniques and procedures was the key to successful loss prevention and shortage reduction.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lynch Mob
    replied
    Mr. Christman

    Your retrospective missed one very, very important point. The point that was the entire basis of my article "Admitting We Have a Problem". What do we do when the traditional methods of Loss prevention do not work?

    I have no issue with anyone doing what works for them if it works. Why would I ever have issues with that. The problem is that the thinking of "do whatever works best for you" assumes that everyone is smart enough, creative enough, logical enough, and flexible enough to step back and be able to critically assess their program to get maximum results from it. Most professionals, not just LP but in all professions, are not that good. They just do what has been done before because that is what they were taught. As a result of the copying, programs start to just look alike.

    The reality is that LP programs across the various retailers are pretty much the same. We do not see companies doing what is best for themselves, they just do what everyone else does. This even becomes clear in the arguments that some make against the strategies I talk about. I have heard several times "if what you are saying works, why aren't others doing it". The question alone shows the common understanding that people are inclined to just steal ideas rather than come up with god answers themselves. We expect people to just copy good ideas.

    The reason why my stragies are not being copyied are simple. It is not because they don't work. It is because they are not what is traditionally done. It is not what people have learned throughout their careers as being "The best way"' The people in power in the Lp industry would now have to acknowledge that they have made mistakes. They would have to revamp everything they do. Why would they do that? They won't.

    I only hope the future of LP learns now that their are alterative strategies. I can only hope that some will look at the way things have always been done and are willing to say they want to achieve more. I hope the future of LP really wants to focus on driving down shrink numbers instead of just accepting acceptable shrink numbers. I hope the future of LP actually wants to make sure their programs and tools provide an ROI and do not all into some cockeyed idea that it is important to waste money rather than let people steal.

    I just hope the future of LP is better than the present and past LP.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lynch Mob
    replied
    Originally posted by LPGuy View Post
    I'll also add one more thing. There are some who are of the mindset that big box or department store loss prevention officers are focused only on making apprehensions all day long, and that these stores' LP programs believe that making a large number of apprehensions is the way to lower shrink.

    I can't speak for every retailer, but nothing could be further from the truth in my own personal experience. I worked as a loss prevention officer for Macy's, the largest upscale department store in the United States. While Macy's has a strong apprehension program in place, sales floor surveillance and apprehensions only consisted of a fraction of my work day. On any given day, I could be working on department audits, Macy's credit card fraud cases, customer service issues, finding lost children, assisting mall security officers, internal investigations, handling customer harassment issues pertaining to our sales associates, or teaching orientation classes for newly-hired sales associates in which we discussed prevention techniques, customer service skills, fraud awareness, and more. We also consistently partnered with sales managers to discuss issues pertaining to their particular departments and awareness issues.

    To look at in-store loss prevention and make a cost/benefit analysis based purely on "apprehension $ amount vs. $ amount to run LP program" is flawed, because such an analysis is based solely on one benefit. As you can see, I was involved in many more responsibilities than just cloak-and-dagger work.
    Your list of tasks is interesting. Several are things that an LP agent should never be doing, such as assisting mall security (I assume you meant on issues unrelated to your store), and others should take almost no time at all during any typical week, such as dealing with lost children. You only listed one aspect of your job that dealt with any education at all, your new hire orentations. How often are those classes? Once a month? Twice a month? If each class were about 1 hour long, that would indicate that you spend 2 hours a month on education out of the 160 hours you work. How is this balanced? You spend virtually all of your time on apprehensions (internal and external) and audits?

    So how am I wrong about your role? Less than 2 percent of your time deals with education and 98 percent of your time is doing the traditional LP thing of apprehensions and audits. Please advise where I made any kind of mistake in looking at the ratio of traditional reactive LP strategies to more proactive strategies.

    Leave a comment:


  • LPGuy
    replied
    I'll also add one more thing. There are some who are of the mindset that big box or department store loss prevention officers are focused only on making apprehensions all day long, and that these stores' LP programs believe that making a large number of apprehensions is the way to lower shrink.

    I can't speak for every retailer, but nothing could be further from the truth in my own personal experience. I worked as a loss prevention officer for Macy's, the largest upscale department store in the United States. While Macy's has a strong apprehension program in place, sales floor surveillance and apprehensions only consisted of a fraction of my work day. On any given day, I could be working on department audits, Macy's credit card fraud cases, customer service issues, finding lost children, assisting mall security officers, internal investigations, handling customer harassment issues pertaining to our sales associates, or teaching orientation classes for newly-hired sales associates in which we discussed prevention techniques, customer service skills, fraud awareness, and more. We also consistently partnered with sales managers to discuss issues pertaining to their particular departments and awareness issues.

    To look at in-store loss prevention and make a cost/benefit analysis based purely on "apprehension $ amount vs. $ amount to run LP program" is flawed, because such an analysis is based solely on one benefit. As you can see, I was involved in many more responsibilities than just cloak-and-dagger work.

    Leave a comment:


  • LPGuy
    replied
    Great points, both of you.

    Your post is especially well written, Mr. Christman, and I couldn't agree more. Despite what others may think, I do not advocate an "apprehension at all costs, all the time" LP policy. You cannot catch your way to lower levels of shortage. As you wrote, it takes a skillful blend of many various preventative techniques to lower shortage. No one aspect is going to do it. Education, as Mr. Lynch advocates, can and should be a major component in an LP program that also makes apprehensions. I myself worked for this type of retailer, and our blend of techniques (involving much of the methods that Mr. Christman mentioned) resulted in very low shortage levels in our store.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Good points, of which I have examples. When I first started working for a Big Box retailer LP focus was on arrests. This store was number one in Mall for arrest. They had nearly 140 arrest that first year and this was not a high crime area. When hired I took the word "prevention" very serious as part of the job. Now during that first year shrink did not go down. the next year arrest were around 100 with myself using more preventive tatics than arrest oriented. Shrink made a slight downward turn but not much. Third year I was made LPM. I put in place prevention programs, methods, teams. These programs etc still exist today nearly two years later. I put focus on prevention not arrest. We had less than 60 arrests and our shrink went down by full 1% to it slowest level ever. In fact this store had not turned a profit in its 13 year history at that point and this was its first year it showed profit. The trainning videos this retailer had said "When prevention fails apprehension takes place" This works! I proved it. You will always need to arrest shoplifters but LP has many duties and to focus on external theft and arrest is wrong. In my view there will always be a need for arrest but I don't feel it should be the Lp's main focus. Prevention works and its name of the game. This one can say is a blend of both worlds
    Last edited by panther10758; 07-14-2007, 02:22 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • John H. Christman
    started a topic Retrospective

    Retrospective

    For those who have followed the “Article of Interest” thread over the past three weeks, I felt some sort of recap of the entire thread and what can be learned from it might be appropriate.

    For those who are relatively new to the LP environment such threads can be both confusing and instructive. How can respected LP professionals have such diametrically opposed views. Both can’t be correct – or can they?

    If one considers the nuances of the various positions voiced, several things should become apparent.

    First, LP professionals tend to be passionate about their beliefs – and this is as it should be.

    Second, a careful reading of the various positions expressed did allow for a variety of techniques to be amalgamated into any given shortage reduction/control program – the distinction being in the emphasis given any part thereof.

    Mr Lynch is convinced that the use of on-the-floor- LP agents whose primary duty is shoplifter apprehensions has a negative cost/benefit ratio and a negative ROI.

    He cites the arithmetic he uses to substantiate his position, which, irrespective of the acceptance or non-acceptance of his theory, provides an insight into how LP goes about dealing with ROIs and cost/benefit analyses.

    At the opposite pole, those advocating on-floor agents and an emphasis on apprehensions cite that simply ignoring theft (because apprehending thieves may not be cost effective) is hard to justify to senior management since it is counter-intuitative to their thinking. Additionally, it is anathema to many LP executives and staff, and may in and of itself encourage more theft.

    Others, and I fall into this category, advocate a skillful and effective blend of all the techniques available for controlling and reducing shrink, as opposed to what is perceived as Mr Lynch’s reliance almost exclusively on “education” of staff regarding shortage and establishing stringent controls and developing a corporate culture of honesty and loyalty.

    I would opine that the use of all techniques, with emphasis based on the totality of the circumstances and the specific environment (obviously, shortage problems in a fine jewelry store differ from those in a drive thru QSR, as do those in a high-end specialty fashion retailer from those of a “Nothing Over $1.00” variety store). One should consider the use of such techniques as: Mystery shoppers, audits, shortage awareness meetings, employee reward programs, shortage bulletin boards, shortage contests, shortage analysis, missing merchandise reports, anti-fraudulent refunder programs, exception reports. CCTV, EAS, U/Cs, RTV controls, shipping/receiving controls, extraction/insertion programs, transfer controls, hand-carry controls, to name just some. Obviously, such programs must be consistently managed and supported from the top down. One cannot expect a warehouseman to be theft adverse when he sees the warehouse manager fill his personal car with gas from the company pump every Friday night. The ‘no tolerance for theft” message must be enforced at all levels.

    So back to the original question – can all views be correct? The answer is: Yes. LP is more of an art than a science. The Six Steps (we all agree) are probably the only generally accepted standard in the retail LP industry. Only one standard does not a science make.

    If Mr Lynch obtains shortage reduction by using his education theory exclusively, and senior management endorses this approach, more power to him - he's meeting the objective. If another LP professional finds a blend of techniques works for him – great! If another environment achieves its objectives by spending its efforts almost exclusively on apprehensions – keep making those arrests as long as the objective is being met.

    All LP Directors report to a boss (the CEO, COO etc) the boss has a boss - the Board of Directors and the stockholders or equity stakeholders. Generally, if our boss is happy with what we're doing and how we're doing it - we've met one of our major objectives.

    I trust that the message taken away from this thread will be that there is no one “right” answer - one should do what proves successful for them in achieving the ultimate objective – contributing to the bottom like by controlling and reducing shrink and protecting our companies, their employees and their customers IAW with the desires of senior management.

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