Welcome to Day 2 of LP Magazine’s coverage of the 2017 Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Retail Asset Protection Conference from New Orleans, LA.
Following a morning welcome from Jess Dankert, senior director of retail operations for RILA, Day 2 of the conference kicked off with a general session featuring Rob Glenn, director for the private sector division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Glenn moderated a panel discussion on whole community preparedness for evolving threats and hazards. The discussion featured homeland security and emergency management specialists along with asset protection leaders talking about how to prepare for emerging and evolving threats and hazards across the country. Panel members shared their thoughts on how to work together to achieve improved resiliency regarding civil unrest and disasters, as well as an increased focus on innovative solutions and integrated problem-solving.
This was followed by a general session with “Research Nerd and Communication Wizard” Hannah Ubl with BridgeWorks offering an in-depth look at “Generational BlindSpots and How to Communicate Across Generations.” Ubl discussed the spectrum of generations from Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials, and the latest—Generation Z. She highlighted some of the more prominent trends that define the generations and how each generation fits into the workforce. By providing examples representing each generation through numerous case studies, Ubl shared her insights on how to recruit, retain, and engage every generation in the workforce.
Tuesday’s breakout sessions once again featured excellent learning presentations across the range of tracks, which included leadership and development, business intelligence and analytics, crimes against business, operational loss, and workplace safety. Sessions led by the industry’s leading subject matter experts covered many important topics to include everything from organized retail crime, safe lifting strategies, RFID, self-checkouts, working with Millennials, and a session on “Letting Go of the Familiar and Embracing the New” with the leadership team at Walmart. The various sessions received strong feedback from the conference participants, who actively participated in the different presentations.
Following lunch in the exhibit hall, the afternoon general session featured a compelling presentation with Cynthia Hetherington, president of the Hetherington Group, on “Information Overload and Making the Most out of Internet and Social Media Investigations.” Navigating the web to find information that is critical to retail investigations has become an integral aspect of asset protection investigations across the industry. Hetherington provided an excellent overview of the top online sources investigators can leverage, along with practices for discreetly conducting Internet searches that can help resolve some of the most intricate online investigations.
Following the afternoon breakout sessions, we returned to the main hall for the (R)Tech Asset Protection Innovation Awards, which showcases the industry’s game-changing technology that mitigates total retail loss while recognizing visionary companies that are developing these solutions. (R)Tech is a term that describes the confluence of retail and technology while embodying the strongest values of both industries for the benefit of the retail consumer. The 2017 winners included:
- 1st Place: Digital Safety
- 2nd Place: Profitect
- 3rd Place: Walmart
- Retailers’ Choice: Profitect
Award finalists were identified by an esteemed group of AP technology experts ahead of RILA’s annual Retail AP Conference. Winners were selected by conference attendees and announced from the general session stage.
The final keynote presentation featured Lorie Fridell, associate professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, discussing the “Impact of Hidden Biases.” Fridell reviewed the role that bias can play in disruptive behaviors and other acts of violence across the country, and how those biases may influence our everyday routines. She then discussed some basic strategies for promoting a “bias-free asset protection program.”
Following a long but productive day, attendees then met in the exhibit hall to relax, meet with fellow practitioners, and service providers. This final session in the exhibit hall showed strong and steady traffic throughout the afternoon.
As a final note, attendees also generously donated to the Loss Prevention Benevolent Fund throughout the event, surpassing the conference goal and setting a conference record for contributions. Many thanks to RILA and the conference participants for their continuing support of this important industry initiative.