EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Meehan, CFI recently completed his first book-length publication titled Evolution of Retail Asset Protection: Protecting Your Profit in a Digital Age. The is available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Meehan has been working in retail information technology and loss prevention roles for over twenty years. He became a contributing writer to LP Magazine in 2015 and was named Retail Technology Editor in 2018. His Future of LP columns run in each issue of the print magazine and are published along with other of his articles on the magazine’s website. Following is our recent discussion about the book. – Jack Trlica, LPM Managing Editor
TRLICA: You and I talked about your writing for the magazine several years ago. When and why did you begin thinking about sharing your thoughts with the industry?
MEEHAN: I thought about writing for several years before we started talking about it. I would always read something and think, “How do you get started writing?” When we first spoke about writing, my first thought was “I am not a writer.” I had many ideas of what I could write about but struggled with how I could share them. I appreciate your encouragement and help getting me started. I am also fortunate to have worked for progressive leaders and companies that helped challenge my curiosity and encouraged me to turn it into action.
TRLICA: I’ve been impressed with the variety of topics you address in your articles for the magazine. How have you become so conversant on such a wide range of topics?
MEEHAN: I am a bit of a transplant—an IT person who fell in love with the loss prevention and asset protection world. I believe in the “never stop learning” philosophy of professional growth. I read a lot to help stay current. My goal is to read a book every week, along with various industry publications. I am also very involved in our industry, both attending and speaking at conferences. If I had one recommendation for my peers, it’s to consume more information in whatever way possible. If you don’t like to read or don’t have the time, you can listen to audiobooks or watch videos.
TRLICA: What made you decide to publish a book on the evolution of loss prevention?
MEEHAN: Today’s asset protection professionals live in a different world than we did even five years ago. In the past twenty years, email, smartphones, social media, online shopping, and big data have evolved fast and furious. I wanted to write a little about these technological evolutions. But oftentimes I think data and technology are considered the solution to everything and the people component gets missed, so it was important that the human element remain a central part of my book.
TRLICA: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
MEEHAN: I hope to encourage people to think bigger. We are in a rapidly changing environment with a lot of outdated policies, laws, and definitions. We turn to technology as a fix-all when the human element of AP is very real. I don’t want to change anyone’s point of view, but instead I hope to help them look and think differently than we have in the past.
TRLICA: What’s next for you in your writing career?
MEEHAN: I hope to continue to write for the magazine. This first book just scratches the surface on where our industry is going. I would love to write another book about Negations and how it relates to interview and interrogation, or about my international travels and how LP differs around the world.
Evolution of Retail Asset Protection Table of Contents:
Thinking Outside the Box
Total Retail Loss
Crime in Retail
Organized Retail Crime
Working with Law Enforcement
Cybercrime in Retail
Interviews and Interrogations
Technology and Data
Big Data and Analytics
Social Media Monitoring and OSINT
Innovation and Technology