Change Isnt Just Something You Carry in Your Pocket

Here we are again quickly making our way to the midpoint of another year. And while we may realize that time wont stand still for any of us, its still difficult to come to terms with how quickly it can move by.

Were once again in the midst of conference season, learning of the newest products, latest trends, and the fresh ideas that keep the business of retail on track and moving forward. Dont tell anyone, but I really do enjoy this time of year. Its a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet new up-and-coming leaders, and charge our batteries for what lies ahead. Each one of these events marks time as we reflect on whats happened over the past year, whats happening today, and what we expect the next twelve months will bring us as we move forward. Were reminded of the importance of keeping our eyes on the ball.

Still, as much as we talk about time marching forward, its really not time that marks our progressits change. And in todays retail climate, were not talking about the type of change that we can carry around like so many coins in our pockets. Were referring to the kind of change that can make a real difference in the way that we approach our jobs and the way that we are perceived as business partners.

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In the opening keynote presentation at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Asset Protection Conference last month, Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations at Walgreens took the lead by discussing the transformative changes impacting retail, the evolution of asset protection strategies, and the essential role that asset protection has played in the companys overall success. He discussed how the role of asset protection has evolved both at Walgreens and across the industry and the essential role that he feels asset protection will play as the retail industry moves forward. How do you embrace disruption? Make it a part of your business, he said.

Ashworth also highlighted how the adoption of the total retail loss concept is changing how companies are approaching asset protection. Designed to provide the retail industry with a better understanding of what constitutes retail loss, this approach advocated by RILA and researcher Adrian Beck moves beyond the traditional confines of retail shrinkage to develop the much broader concept of total retail loss to help the industry better understand and tackle the problem.

By offering a different way of thinking about how a much broader range of losses impact retail businesses, retail companies in generaland loss prevention practitioners in particularwe’ll be able to better understand the impact of current and future retail risks and how to make more informed choices about how to utilize the increasingly scarce resources that are available to us.

This way of thinking is more than a trend; it is a benchmark for the way retail companies are going to approach their loss prevention and asset protection programs moving forward. For those in the LP profession, it will provide an opportunity to build upon and reinforce the critical role that our programs and our teams can play in becoming agents of change within the business.

This should also be seen as a sign of things yet to come. When we talk about the evolution of the loss prevention professional and how we need to take the lead in changing the way things are done, we truly need to take it to heart. We are now legitimately seen as true business partners in the retail community. Gone are the days of specialization and a singular focus on what we do and how we approach things. And when it comes down to it, we can either get out front and lead the parade or watch it pass us by.

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