Every year, the bar is raised for the retail industry, which means the bar for our asset protection leadership must also be raised in kind to reflect the diverse needs and expectations of the business. This requires that we allocate our time and resources wisely, maximizing efforts and making the most out of our opportunities so that we get the most out of every decision and every experience.
There are many different aspects of the conference experience that makes these events so valuable to the attendees. Each individual has their favorite sessions based on their needs and preferences. We might focus on an experience or contact made in the exposition hall, or even a more informal meeting with a solution provider that ends in a productive and meaningful outcome. But from a big-picture perspective, what were some of the more prominent takeaways from the conference as a whole?
As the 2018 RILA Retail Asset Protection Conference drew to a close, LPM put together its 5 top takeaways coming out of this year’s event:
The value of education: In the dynamic but volatile world of asset protection, there is an overarching need to stay abreast of the latest trends, technology, ideas, events, and approaches to the greatest challenges facing the industry. This is something that many talk about, but few truly practice. When it comes to learning more about the most pressing issues, we need look no further than our peers and partners to find the answers we’re looking for. The conference setting is an outstanding opportunity to learn and grow as a professional; and one that every leader should strive to experience.
The need to engage: The business of retail continues to evolve at a tremendous pace, changing both the way that we manage our business resources and the way that we connect with our customers. A simple review of the conference agenda serves as a stark reminder of just how much the world has changed in just the past few years and how critical it is to keep our eye on the ball. It’s no longer good enough to simply be aware of these ongoing changes. We must become actively engaged in the process—or be left behind.
The importance of working together: For those in the field that might wonder whether their department leaders practice what they preach, when it comes to reaching out to industry peers and working together to seek out solutions, the answer is a resounding “yes”. Leadership is about much more than simply giving direction—it’s also about taking charge. But one of the most important traits that a leader can have is humility and the willingness to reach out to others—whether someone on the team or those outside of the organization, to grow and develop. These traits are front and center at every asset protection conference and part of the dynamic that makes these events so critically important. When you see 30-year veterans willing to learn and grow from and/or alongside new industry leaders, you know we’re doing something right.
The changing of the guard: In every business and every profession, there is a cyclical transition of leadership as individuals move up, move on, or retire, giving way to the next generation of leaders. As those that have given their careers to the industry explore the next chapter of their lives, they pave the way for fresh faces and vigorous ideas represented by these new leaders. In Orlando, we were given a glimpse into the future as three new industry leaders offered their insights into what they’ve experienced thus far, how they perceive today’s asset protection, and what their vision holds for the future of the industry. The promise and enthusiasm of these innovative leaders energized the entire room and was clearly one of the highlights of the conference.
Facing the revolution head-on: There were several exceptional sessions that confronted the latest challenges faced by asset protection professionals, from the insights of the retail leaders that highlighted the general sessions, to the innovative solutions underscored by the (R) Tech awards, to the discussions on new threats—and the latest criminal strategies into old threats. But perhaps the presentation that provided the strongest example of growth, relevance, and influence came in the form of the panel discussion on “Shoplifters, ORC, Shrinking Justice & Opioids.”
By bringing together loss prevention leadership, an attorney general, a police chief, a federal judge, and a law professor to have a robust conversation on the many challenges and concerns facing the industry, we pave the way for open and honest dialogue from many different perspectives, which helps lead to legitimate solutions. Opening eyes to the true problems facing the retail community, defending the way that we approach these challenges, standing up for the professionals that lead our efforts at every level, and seeking out solutions with a firm approach but an open mind will drive the business and the asset protection agenda forward.
On a final note, we would like to extend our gratitude to the presenters, the participants, the solution providers, and especially Lisa LaBruno and the entire RILA team for providing us with another outstanding event. We’re already looking forward to next year in Denver!
For more on the conference, check out EyeOnLP’s video recaps:
This post was updated May 17, 2018.