Building a successful loss prevention program has always been predicated on the commitment to professional growth and development. Working in a business as dynamic as retail, it is essential that we remain flexible in our methods and progressive in our approach to a global retail market. As the business moves forward change comes quickly, and our skills and abilities must evolve to meet the needs and expectations of a new professional standard.
But true growth must be built on a solid foundation. Especially when we consider the pace of change, we find that success is largely based on the refinement of the fundamental principles that anchor our skills and our decision making. By expanding on our foundation of knowledge, we give ourselves a stronger and more stable base to build upon. We reinforce our futures by broadening our opportunities.
Establishing a Foundation through Industry Support
As an industry, there is much that we can learn if we are willing to share and accept information and ideas. A wealth of information is available regarding the statistical, operational and philosophical history of the loss prevention industry that can give us something to build on; and help us to forge a successful loss prevention program within our companies as well. While our businesses may be different there are many common bonds that are mutually shared, and much that we can learn from each other within the loss prevention community.
Many companies have specific policies and regulations regarding the sharing of proprietary information with competitors in most areas of the business, but within the loss prevention community we often seek to reduce losses through the sharing of information. Most certainly, there is specific information that must remain confidential in order to protect the best interests of the individual company. But sharing ideas and universal information can benefit our specific company and the loss prevention community as a whole. Consolidating efforts can lead to industry success as well as organizational accomplishment.
- Industry-specific studies can provide us with information regarding current and past shrink trends, average shrink results, company awareness and participation in shrink programs, budget information, the overall impact of shrink on the business, the use of data mining, EAS, CCTV and other technical systems and other prominent problems and issues faced by retail companies.
- Industry trade associations offer training seminars, product/vendor demonstrations, networking opportunities, social gatherings and charity events. These associations provide tremendous opportunities and information for our programs and the loss prevention professional in general.
- Publications and other media. Various articles are printed in newspapers, trade journals (LP Magazine, etc…), industry email correspondence or in other industry/association newsletters. It is incumbent upon you to gain insight from your counterparts, study the entire industry, and apply what you learn to the performance and development of your department.
- Networking. Developing a cooperative partnership with individuals serving other retailers can improve skills and enhance your program. Every interaction is an opportunity to learn; and the ability to draw from different programs allows us to expand our knowledge base, giving us an opportunity to make better and more informed decisions. Networking is a means to open communication. It’s a portal to share information and resources. Such information and perspective can only lead to further growth and future successes.
- Other retail industry outlets can also provide valuable information and insights that can be extremely beneficial to our program development. The more that we learn about all of the different aspects of retail matched with our ability to remain current with other retail industry outlets can only expand our understanding of the business and improve the quality of our efforts.
Every loss prevention program handles information and their approach to loss prevention a little differently. These different approaches also spawn new and different ideas. Every idea and every piece of information that we can absorb makes us a more well-rounded department—more flexible, more open-minded, and more valuable to the retail loss prevention industry as a whole. Shared resources, shared ideas and even shared stories provide us with an additional base of information that can help us to further develop our departments.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about developing your loss prevention program and the certification process, visit losspreventionfoundation.org.