The eleventh edition of the Loss Prevention Research Council’s (LPRC) annual Impact conference was held this week October 5-7 on the University of Florida Gainesville campus with nearly 200 retailer, manufacturer, and solution provider executives in attendance—a significant increase over previous years.
The educational portion of the conference kicked off Tuesday morning with a keynote presentation by Dr. Lucia Summers with the Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigations at Texas State University, who reviewed her research on “Affecting Offender Decisions.” Dr. Summers will work jointly with the LPRC on 2016 research projects.
The primary mission of the LPRC is to provide retailers with research results that support key loss prevention strategies and tactical programs that prevent loss while enhancing sales. A retail panel featuring Paul Jaeckle from Walmart, Ahmad Lightfoot with TJX, Millie Kresevich of Luxottica, Tom Meehan from Bloomingdale’s, and Lance Hutt with FFR Merchandising, each provided attendees with specific examples of how LPRC research has benefited their organizations.
Throughout the day representatives of various LPRC working groups and action teams presented the results from 2015 projects. Brianna Betts from CVS, Corrie Tallman with Walmart, and Adam Hartway of Digital Safety representing the product protection working group revealed a loss prevention strategy that involves the use of a trademarked logo intended for printing on merchandise packaging to communicate to consumers and potential thieves that the merchandise requires some type of activation mechanism, meaning that the product is useless to thieves when stolen.
The organized retail crime working group developed an interview questionnaire meant for any retailer who detain ORC suspects. Denny Dansak from Kroger and Tony Sheppard of CVS explained how the questionnaire was developed with input from multiple retailers and how the data collected will help LP organizations understand why certain stores are targeted, theft tactics used, and how products are fenced.
John Doggette from Lowe’s and Josh Machtinger of Toys”R”Us representing the big box action team reviewed the results of a Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) study on the relationship of retail buyers with asset protection that found a significant disconnect. Based on the need for better engagement with merchants, the big box team produced a PowerPoint presentation that retailers can use for training buyers in the value of working with LP to protect products. [For more information about the RILA study, see “Engaging Merchants in the Protection of Assets” in the September-October issue of LP Magazine.]
Individual breakout sessions for the various working groups and action teams took place Tuesday afternoon to determine possible projects for 2016. The resulting research goals were presented to the entire conference attendees Wednesday morning.
The last presentation on Tuesday afternoon was a panel of four shoplifters who answered questions about why they steal from retailers, what products they target, tactics they use, and how they perceive various loss prevention technologies and intervention techniques.
The conference concluded Wednesday morning with presentations by LPRC director Dr. Read Hayes and researcher Mike Giblin on some of the research concluded in the past year. Of the dozen projects completed in 2015, the two reviewed the results of studies on employee deviance, CCTV advances, and theft protection devices.
Apart from the educational aspects of the conference, numerous networking activities were included. The event began Monday with a golf tournament followed by an opening reception held at the LPRC innovation lab. Funded in part by Tyco, the lab provides not only meeting space for visiting retailers, but also showcases current technologies from solution provider members. A casino night entertainment event was held Tuesday evening.
John Voytilla from Office Depot/OfficeMax and chair of the LPRC board of advisors hosted the conference along with Chris Gillen, who is a senior advisor to the LPRC helping operationalize the research organization.