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Managing Loss in the Rent-to-Own Industry


EDITOR: How then do you define your department’s objectives?

TEMPLET: We have four cornerstones of what we do for the company. The first cornerstone is physical security. That means how to set up the stores from alarms, CCTV, safes, and product-protection strategies to protect our people, products, and property.

- Digital Partner -

The second cornerstone is data analysis and risk exposure, where we look for trends and patterns that may indicate potential loss.

The third is training. What did we learn? How do we make certain that those things are being applied? When we see the gaps, how do we address them? How do we get in front of issues?

Finally, our fourth cornerstone is investigations. We still have the traditional role of investigating both internal and external issues. Both LP and our business partners here understand that the more time we spend on the first three, the less disruption we create in the business by having to do the fourth one investigations.

EDITOR: With 3,000-plus stores and a relatively small staff, how do you accomplish those objectives?

TEMPLET: I’ve talked primarily about our traditional rent-to-own business where we have about 3,000 stores, but we have several other business models. At this point we have almost 3,900 total touch points where we’re doing business with customers. My average field LP person right now is responsible for about 300 of those touch points, so their span of control is fairly large.

LP Solutions

Because of that, we had to develop a way to stay front and center with our people to give us the opportunity to communicate different types of messages. In October of last year we rolled out a new awareness campaign branded “TheLINE on Loss Prevention,” where we educate and train our coworkers about how loss impacts our top and bottom lines. The program is extremely comprehensive including education on safety, internal audit, fleet maintenance/safety, and store operations best practices. The brand is also perfect for tackling the subject of ethics and what it means to “cross the LINE” for the company and employees. We definitely felt it was vital to have an in-store presence that reminds all employees about the importance of considering the impact of loss in their everyday activities. With the introduction of The LINE on Loss Prevention, we’re accomplishing that goal, and we’ve seen significant participation numbers that reflects its acceptance in the stores.

EDITOR: What communications vehicles do you use?

TEMPLET: First, we worked with our awareness solution provider to create a strategic communication plan since we were rolling out a brand new program to our entire store base. We felt it was important to not produce poster pollution, but to essentially create a new communication vehicle through our store managers each month about loss prevention.

With this goal in mind, we crafted a program with three key components. One, a monthly leader’s guide for store managers that guides them through the monthly topic and how to discuss it with their coworkers. Two, an in-store awareness center that emphasizes our brand and houses monthly printed pieces. And, three, an online portal where employees will eventually receive their training and answer quiz questions each month.

- Digital Partner -

We also use video within the program to keep employees engaged and interacting with the print and electronic components. Considering this is a new program for us, we wanted to strategically roll out each phase so it was easily digested and didn’t interrupt store operations. We’ve implemented the store-level discussion about our educational messages each month, videos supporting the monthly topics, and the in-store awareness centers.

We just started the electronic phase by testing our online portal in four of our sixty-two regions. This feature, branded “onLINE,” is more interactive and ensures we obtain an accurate measurement of those stores that are actively involved in the program and those that need some extra attention. January 1st we will roll out the electronic portion to all 3,000 store managers, and by mid-next year we will engage each of our 19,000 coworkers with the monthly quiz topic. This final phase will produce actionable data so we can retarget, repackage, or reemphasize different training points or messages in a flexible way.

We’re proud of our planning to methodically roll out the program in sections to ensure positive feedback from everyone involved, and we look forward to this final phase of reaching each coworker, every month about an important topic to not only loss prevention, but the company as a whole.

EDITOR: You currently report to the CFO, correct? How is it different reporting to the chief financial officer as opposed to a senior-level operations person as you did in the past?

TEMPLET: The differences are very interesting. As I said earlier, when I first started here, the person who hired me was the vice president of HR, but that relationship lasted only a few weeks when she chose to leave the company to pursue another opportunity.

So, I was suddenly thrust into a new relationship with the executive vice president of operational services. That particular position had a lot of tactical-type departments reporting to himrisk management, product services, real estate/construction, fleet, and others. A lot of our conversations centered on the tactical aspects of what needed to be done and how were we going to do things. It was great because it taught me how to get things accomplished in a very diverse company.

When that person retired recently, I was assigned to report to the CFO. Now the discussions are much more strategic. Why are we doing it? What are we getting out of it? Much more a return-on-investment mentality. Although I was thinking and discussing some of those things under my former boss, the nature of the discussions was very much different. Now with the CFO, I have learned a considerable amount in a very short period of time on a totally different perspective and direction of our business.

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