Data analysis is all about answering questions. To properly develop the questions, you must first identify your enterprise’s opportunities to increase profitability. Second, you need to identify the specific data needed to answer these questions. Finally, you must determine the tools and loss prevention software resources you can use to turn that data into actionable information to resolve the opportunities.
Develop the Questions. Increase in profitability is always the goal of any enterprise. Opportunities reside in breaking up organized retail crime (ORC) rings that are having a heavy impact on shrinkage and item availability across your business. Improving safety protocols to reduce internal and external injury claims would avoid payouts. Upgrading loss prevention software to improve workforce efficiency and productivity would result in reductions to labor cost centers. How do you resolve these opportunities? The specific questions can be limitless, but the answers are almost always contained in your data.
Find the Data. Once you have determined your questions, you need to find the data to answer them. Look at every level of your enterprise and understand all of the data being collected and how it can possibly morph into information that can answer your questions. You may find that the human resources department has data that can help with your efficiency and workforce productivity. There is also information in logistics, point-of-sale, and inventory databases that could help. You must look at a variety of sources to gather sufficient data to answer your questions.
When collecting your data, you must be proactive and diplomatic at the same time. Snooping around in databases often is met with resistance, for good reason. Information security, proprietary secrets, HIPAA, and a whole host of other factors may create a discussion as to why you may want access to the data. Make sure you have clearly defined goals, ensure that you have proper oversight while examining, and be patient but politely persistent.
Find the Tools. Now that you have formed the questions and identified your data, you need to aggregate the data in a methodical way and turn it into actionable information. This is the most difficult part of the data analysis process. We have all sat at a desk trying to make the link between transaction data, inventory data, suspect data, tips, and video images to resolve an ORC group or an internal case. And we have all conducted analysis of cycle counts and physical inventory with multiple databases and applications open on our laptops to try and find out why our numbers are off. There is loss prevention software out there to help aggregate and analyze data to answer your questions.
A great loss prevention software platform designed for data analysis should be able to:
- Instantly access and view all relevant databases through one interface.
- Graphically create relationships between data and build a case for the answers to your questions.
- Create multiple graphs of the information for better understanding.
- Accept and analyze social media and hashtagging.
- Use facial recognition of stored photo and video images as well as run actively against live CCTV feed.
- Be flexible in allowing specific modification to loss prevention system needs but also to any need in your enterprise.
- Not change or alter your data in any way.
All of these points are key to getting the capital expenditure toward DA loss prevention software. You can actually prove value in purchasing DA software by showing that it can accommodate any department in the enterprise, not just LP. And the fact that software only looks at data and does not affect the data in any way will give you greater access and buy-in from IT and other stakeholders.
Check out the full article, “Data Analysis: The Key to Good Loss Prevention and a Great Career,” to learn more about extending the life of your investments and improving profitability through data.