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Loss Prevention Certification: Recently Certified October 2016

Professional excellence requires dedication and responsibility, and is something that the best continuously strive to achieve. In order to maximize potential, it is therefore essential that professional development is seen as an ongoing process. We should always be looking for ways to improve our skills, abilities, and base of knowledge as a means to maximize performance. Loss prevention certification is a means of establishing and validating that standard of excellence.

The Loss Prevention Foundation celebrates the Certified LP professional

 

Kevin LynchKevin Lynch, LPC, Executive Director, Business Development at Tyco Integrated Security

“The Loss Prevention Foundation’s LPC Course was one of the most challenging academic endeavors in my career. The course was a rigorous journey through every aspect of Retail Loss Prevention. As a solution provider to the Loss Prevention Community it gave me unique perspective on what amount of knowledge and leadership it requires to be a top flight LP Executive. I will be a significantly more effective and efficient solution provider for having acquired my LPC designation.”

Tim Fisher

 

Tim Fisher, LPC, Director of Loss Prevention at T-Mobile

“The LPC designation demonstrates to others your level of knowledge and competency in the Retail Loss Prevention field; much the same way that a CPA designation for an accountant demonstrates their abilities in the field of accounting.”

 

 

October 2016

Loss prevention certification is an investment that we make in ourselves. It is not simply a commitment to higher learning, but also a dedication to reach a higher standard. Each of these individuals is helping to raise the bar for the profession; and has earned both their designation and respect of the loss prevention community.

The Loss Prevention Foundation is pleased to recognize and congratulate the following individuals who have successfully completed all of the requirements set forth by the board of directors to be LPQualified (LPQ) and/or LPCertified (LPC).

LP Certified

Nathan Bradfield, LPC
Devin Conroy, LPC
Kenneth Edwards, LPC
Steven Farmer, LPC
Gary Holland, LPC
Randy Lima, LPC
Anthony Maddox, LPC
James Perillo, III LPC
Aaron Pisors, LPC
Joshua Power, LPC
Brigham Roberts, LPC
James Runyon, LPC
Robert Seibel, LPC
Rocco Speziale, LPC
Paul Tucker, LPC
David Valentine, LPC

LPQualified

Joel Atwood, LPQ
Cole Brundage, LPQ
Abi Conlon, LPQ
Des Cooney, LPQ
Julian Kolarchick, LPQ
Eugene Levit, LPQ
Kyle Maurer, LPQ
Jonathan McCormick, LPQ
Brandy Parrish, LPQ
Alma Rogers, LPQ
Nathan Suen, LPQ
Kendrick Thomas, LPQ
Gregg Titmus, LPQ
Marcus Toussaint, LPQ
Delia Valadez, LPQ
Amber Waterman, LPQ
Robert Young, LPQ

The retail industry is extremely competitive, and loss prevention has become an integral component of a successful retail model. In order to remain successful our professional competencies must include flexibility, strong problem-solving and decision making skills, a superior knowledge base, and an ability to effectively apply our knowledge and experience to the diverse situations that we face on a day-to-day basis.

It is our responsibility to manage the process; driven by individual learning experiences and carrying a personal signature for success. Continuing education, training and skills development, lifelong learning activities, intellectual nourishment and exposure to new ideas all contribute to that plan. Are you taking the necessary steps?

To view the Recently Certified for September 2016, click here.

For more information on loss prevention certification and the certification process, contact the Loss Prevention Foundation at www.losspreventionfoundation.org

Botched Crisis Management at Wells Fargo?

Recently, the news seems to be reporting one crisis after another. The effectiveness of a company’s, individual’s or government’s crisis management plan and execution can be a virtual make-or-break situation. Just in the last week we have seen Hillary Clinton and her organization exposed by WikiLeaks and Donald Trump fending off charges of sexual improprieties. I am certainly not going to get in the middle of that political quagmire, I’ll take a closer look at two other crisis situations making the news. One is the massive recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, following reports of exploding batteries and fires. The other is the scandal at Wells Fargo regarding unethical sales practices and the creation of phony accounts to boost sales numbers.

Both companies have been criticized for their crisis management response to these situations so far, but experts who have been offering their opinions have been especially critical of Wells Fargo. All indicators are that Wells Fargo’s management has scored poorly in their early crisis management response. In fact, the Dow Jones business news called their efforts to date “a textbook case of botched crisis management.”

On September 20, senators from both major parties chastised Wells Fargo’s then-CEO John Stumpf over the company’s sales practices. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called it “gutless leadership and fraud”. She went on to call for a criminal investigation. A review of the Senate proceedings indicated that the Wells Fargo team seemed unprepared and did not answer many questions from legislators about faulty sales practices. This ineffective response to the situation ended up in the bank’s agreeing to the payment of a $185 million fine.

Wells Fargo’s “botched response” reached a peak when, on October 12, Stumpf stepped down after nearly 35 years with the bank, the last nine as CEO. In the opinions of several former Wells Fargo executives, the root of the bank’s crisis management debacle stemmed from an insular culture that left it ill-prepared to effectively deal with this or any other major crisis. They were simply untested and caught off guard. Former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden was quoted as saying “The recurring themes here seem to be complacency, arrogance or being disengaged.” When asked about the situation in recent weeks, Stumpf and Wells Fargo Spokeswoman Mary Eshet often answered “No comment.”, a cardinal sin in any crisis management situation.

Yes, Wells Fargo did respond by firing some 5300 employees, but the company said that those layoffs only represented about 1 percent of its employee base. In addition, the bank would neither confirm or deny any wrongdoing. To make things worse, Stumpf showed zero empathy and never said he was sorry. At one point, an Oregon senator accused Stumpf of “scapegoating people at the bottom.”

After a CNBC interview featuring Stumpf aired, Warren Buffett (whose company owns about 10 percent of Wells Fargo’s stock) phoned and said he “didn’t think the interview went very well.” Buffett also said he thought the issue was “much bigger” than Stumpf seemed to think it was.

Things just kept getting worse due to Wells Fargo’s continued crisis management missteps. At one point, it was reported that Stumpf became aware of the faulty sales practices as early as the fall of 2013. Even after weeks to prepare, Stumpf continued to stumble. When he appeared before the Senate Banking Committee, he had few concrete answers.

Things are still not getting better for Wells Fargo. New CEO Tim Sloan got off to a rocky start with Wall Street last week when he announced a drop in profits while analysts were demanding more information on the crisis that had prompted his appointment. On the 90-minute call, Sloan continually deflected questions and referred to the board’s continuing investigation.

Wells Fargo’s crisis management efforts, at best, have been ineffective and, at worst, inexcusable for a company of its size. While it’s true that crisis management and communication can be complicated, there are basic do’s and don’ts that Wells Fargo seemed to be ignorant of or just disregarded.

It is important that, in any major crisis, the top officer in the company is visible and is effectively communicating their response and direction. It seems that Wells Fargo got the first part right but failed miserably on the second part. No executive should be expected to go it alone. They need to be prepared, practiced and have an effective team behind them that are just as prepared. Done right, effective crisis management takes a whole team that represents all critical functions of a company and holds regular drills preparing for a wide variety of issues that might arise in the future. At the minimum, the team should consist of:

  • Senior Management
  • Technical Operations
  • Public Relations
  • Consumer Affairs
  • Investor Relations
  • Legal
  • Publicity and Advertising
  • Internal and External Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Security

I was unable to find out if Wells Fargo has such a team or if they have drilled in order to develop effective crisis management processes. But it is clear that their actions have served to make the crisis worse, not better. Rarely is a company in a position to “tell all” during a major crisis. But they need to make every effort to show some transparency, empathy and cooperation. “No comment,” especially from the top, doesn’t do any of that.

Risk, Safety, and Loss Prevention on the Global Stage

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Unless you live in a cave—which for many might seem a sensible thing to do judging by the current level of global risk—you will not have failed to recognize that international tensions are at their highest level for many years.

Wars, diseases, political unrest, natural disasters, sectarian violence, military interventions, and global terrorism have indiscriminately made the world a less safe place in which to live, work, travel, and transact.

Even in statistically safer territories, there is a perception—largely fanned by an over-imaginative 24/7 media machine—that we are all in mortal peril. Although life-changing acts of global terror underline legitimate concerns and have impacted daily life for many, the earth continues to spin. The world of business remains on its axis as more companies seek to expand their operations or do business in parts of the world that are widely viewed as risk hot spots.

Such companies are encouraged to take a global perspective on safety and loss prevention, particularly in light of research that suggests that by 2020 our international mobility levels—whether it is personal journeys of travelers finding themselves or multi-national businesses exploring new markets—will have increased by a further 50 percent. And these territories will carry with them various shades of risk as this wanderlust increases.

Territories

Nigeria is the home of notorious extremist group Boko Haram, whose anti-education views and methods of kidnapping and enslaving young schoolgirls have made it one of the world’s most outlawed organizations. But the country is an attractive trading partner for many businesses because the country’s economy grew by 89 percent between 2007 and 2013, and its billionaires dominate Africa’s rich list.

North Africa as a whole is also democracy poor but oil rich. Because of unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, the region is largely seen as a terrorist training ground or a staging post for people traffickers and migrants fleeing to Europe from conflicts across the Middle East.

Retail is among the sectors attempting to increase their global footfall, whether through international expansion in store openings, meetings with suppliers, or logistics directors traveling to view supply chain operations. How do these businesses mitigate risk and unwanted attention? How do they get to understand the rules and protocols of doing business safely? How do they get to know about safety and loss prevention in far-flung territories without committing a crime or dropping a cultural clanger? Irrespective of language differences, how do companies make sure that staff behave correctly and respectably, even to the point of what they regard as harmless gestures?

For example, former UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond committed the ultimate faux pas in 2015 at possibly the most delicate part of the Iranian nuclear discussions, when he was pictured smiling to the world’s press and performing a double-thumbs-up alongside his Iranian counterpart when the deal was agreed. In Iran, the gesture is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger, and it also has a perjorative meaning in Russia and Greece. If a skillful British politician cannot get the body language right, how does a business person venturing into unknown territory for the first time manage to seal the deal?

The truth is that many do not. According to leading medical and travel security experts International SOS, which specializes in keeping foreign nationals safe all over the world, although there is a duty of care expected of companies to their members of staff, there is a poor track record.

According to International SOS research figures in its travel risk management surveys, 38 percent of businesses said they never carried out research on a country they are visiting, and 78 percent of respondents never carry emergency numbers with them to cover the eventuality of getting into any difficulties.

Yet the same figures reveal a cerebral disconnect. A total of 86 percent of respondents understand that their companies have a duty of care towards them, and half of those asked said they would take legal action against their employers if things went wrong while abroad, presuming they came out of the incident unscathed.

London-based International SOS works hand in glove with its partner company Control Risks to provide risk assessment and business continuity strategy consultancy to companies operating around the world. Whereas Control Risks carries out deep-dive consultancy, International SOS provides the practical and tactical support in terms of medical intervention to full evacuation scenarios.

This multi-layered approach works because the risk map is constantly changing according to global events including disease outbreaks, the rise of the so-called Islamic State, and widespread political destabilization.

According to Robert Walker of International SOS, “The value of our services is that we have functional teams in each of our regions that carry out assessments and give advice, and they are the same teams that deliver the actual assistance. As the situations are actually very fluid, there can be a very fine line between the deterioration of a situation and when we need to actually evacuate people.

“We look at the worst-case scenarios and the most likely case outcomes in order to understand the implications for our clients, and that work allows us to deliver our service effectively.”

Being immersed in the world of international risk management by being embedded in medical corps, for example, allows the business to offer accurate, up-to-the-minute advice to clients active in the field.

“If we are advising clients, we have to be ahead of them in terms of knowledge and be able to identify trigger points and leading indicators linked to specific decisions. An election in a given country will not necessarily lead to a destabilization, but we monitor for how protest movement evolves and what the government response to those protests might be. Protests might start off as non-violent, but then a situation occurs, and the government does something such as putting police in full riot gear on the streets, for example. And this generates a reaction that foments fringe violence. This could initially be confined to the city (or even a focal point of the city, which grows around a few blocks) but by and large does not affect the wider country. We saw that in Tahrir Square in Cairo. But we would look for signs of protests developing in other, hitherto quiet cities or for unexpected increases in the size or changes in the behavior of crowds.

“If the police turn up in riot gear, protestors often want to throw things at the line of riot shields, and that is how situations escalate. So if we saw large numbers of Police stockpiling riot gear, we might start to advise additional precautions and, in some circumstances, to be prepared to stay in a safe location for several days.”

This is what the business refers to as the “death cross,” where the worst-case scenario also becomes the most likely. There is a confluence of events that threatens to overspill into a perfect storm where time to evacuate is no longer an option.

“The challenge in these situations is translating what we are seeing into useful advice before it is too late to do something about it,” said Walker.

Exposure to Risk

The biggest role of International SOS is to reduce the client’s exposure to risk so that they fully understand the geopolitical situation or, in the case of medical emergencies, the level of pandemic that they face in order for them to execute adequate precautions before situations become out of their control.

Information resources available to International SOS, which has been in business for 30 years, include viable and credible networks on the ground including non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—although they are not an NGO themselves—tour operators, medical personnel, and embassy staff who understand the lie of the land, literally and metaphorically.

Retailers Operating Outside Their Comfort Zones

Many international retailers have launched ventures in territories that have not worked simply because the customer homework was deemed inadequate. Tesco’s launch of its grocery offering in North America was abandoned, as was Best Buy’s foray into the UK electronics market, although both looked good on paper.

Operating in other countries is more than dealing with customers’ different buying patterns. In the world of safety and loss prevention, CCTV systems rules differ in various European countries based on their interpretation of the EU Data Protection Regulations, and in the situation of employment law, rules governing the hiring and firing of staff vary significantly.

Imagine trying to negotiate a world where bribery and corruption are the currency of the territory, although outlawed by the retailer’s own country of origin.

“If you were looking to enter a country to do business, for example Tajikistan, we would advise how to travel and provide intelligence on business operations, but there is no replacement for local knowledge to control risks. Corruption and bribery are good examples in many countries, and we would always counsel on Western travelers new to a region to be escorted by a national who speaks the local language and dialect and understands the culture,” said Walker.

Road traffic accidents for foreign nationals are in the top five of medical evacuations from a country, according to International SOS figures, so the organization has developed a best practice package to guide visitors.

“Having a local driver instead of driving yourself is always advisable in the case of road traffic accidents, for example, as the aftermath could be complicated if you have limited knowledge of the language and legal requirements,” said Walker.

International SOS has also worked out the commercial value of failures triggered by not carrying out pre-travel risk assessments. From the company’s calculations, a failed assignment resulting in evacuation due to not performing the right levels of due diligence can cost a business anywhere between €520,000 and €868,000, which is more than two and a half times the cost of an average successful mission.

Failure in the international arena is therefore not a commercial option, particularly as the cost of pre-travel screening is relatively inexpensive and requires mainly common-sense checks and regular touch points.

Presenting at Retail Fraud in the UK in April in 2015, International SOS Regional Security Manager Peter Cooper said, “Businesses must have a communications plan while they are abroad and make sure that they are tracking their personnel while they are away. This involves regular contact and more so at a time of emergency so that the company can make sure they are okay as part of their duty of care to that individual. There are also quick tips for travelers. These include having an itinerary and sharing it with the business. Employers should also consider the employee profile. Are they a novice traveler, for example? The company will also have carried out its own risk assessment of the region to investigate the potential threats while both parties need to be aware of the assistance available and how to access it in an emergency.”

Risk is a perennial travelling partner whether the journey is for business or pleasure. The traveler must therefore plan and pack accordingly and, along with their suits and briefcases, carry an itinerary complete with emergency contact details. Most importantly, the business must have done its pre-trip homework to protect its most valuable assets and as far as possible guarantee the success of the overseas mission before it has even left familiar soil.

This article was excerpted from “International Rescue,” which was published in 2015 in LP Magazine EU.

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) in Action

The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) aims to improve theft prevention and recovery by collaborating with retailers via its Violent Crime Working Group. A recent LPRC event, the Houston Robbery Prevention Summit, benefitted from the participation of more than 12 retail chains, as well as from federal and local law enforcement leadership. Participants agreed that meeting regularly and discussing ways to improve protective actions was a top priority going forward.

Read Hayes, Ph.D., CPP, updates LP Magazine readers on these initiatives and the future focus of the LPRC in his recent Evidence-Based LP column for the September-October 2016 issue. Hayes also offers some leadership advice inspired by the US Army but applicable to the world of LP. From the article:

“The US Army has long worked to understand and produce high-quality leaders. Lives, and our freedom, depend on them getting it right. Army field manual 22-100 bases leadership development around the concept of “be, know, and do.” The same principles help any manager accomplish his or her goals.

Be a good leader by demonstrating sound character, decisiveness, and selfless service—even when tired and discouraged.

Know your people and how to communicate and inspire supervisors, peers, and subordinates alike; and strive for technical and tactical crime and loss control knowledge and proficiency. And of course know your organization’s business and people, the company’s objectives and strategy, and even the areas around your locations.

Do make good decisions, motivate people, operate your team to make the right things happen, and constantly improve LP processes and results with evidence-based solutions.”

Check out “Be All You Can Be” to read the full column and learn more about how member organizations benefit from participating in LPRC research. You can also visit the Table of Contents for the September-October 2016 issue or register for a free subscription to the magazine.

New EAS tag wins national award. Top retailers acknowledge importance of new Concept Tag

Agon Systems’ clothing tag, named the Concept Tag, won the “Best Newcomer Award” this year at the annual Fraud Awards; the “Oscars” for the risk and loss prevention industry.

Awards are made upon the recommendation of an independent panel of judges made up of leading loss prevention figures from retail.

The Awards dinner, held in the UK, fittingly at Premiership Champions Leicester City Football Club, was recognition for Agon’s revolutionary Electronic Article Surveillance Tag, which has been feted as the most exciting advancement in EAS tagging for over 30 years.

Agon Systems has been fighting retail crime for over 20 years and have sold over 200,000 EAS systems around the world. However, the Concept Tag did not come to prominence in Europe until Agon partnered JD Sports in extensive field trials.

JD Sports installed the tags in its brand new flagship Oxford Street store in London, UK. When measured against an average store, losses of garments were reduced by 50%. However, with over 35,000sqft of retail space, spread over 3 floors deploying 65,000 Concept Tags, this was no average store!

JD were quick to realise that they were on to something special, extending the trial to seven regional flagship stores across the UK and Europe reducing like-for-like results (compared to their previous tagging systems) of almost 66%. And when would be thieves were caught on video complaining of how impossible it was to get the tags off garments, other retailers were quick to pick up the phone.

Agon are confident that all retailers using the Concept Tag will see reductions in loss of 50-70%, depending on how the product is used and how much stock is protected within a store with the tag. It is also important to note that the Concept Tag does not only reduce loss figures, it also improves sales figures. This is due to the fact that there is more stock now available for customers to buy, which may previously had been stolen. Also the introduction of the Concept Tag reduces criminal activity within the store and therefore provides a more pleasant environment for customers to shop and a safer store environment for staff to work within.

To meet rapidly increasing demand, earlier in the year Agon closed down their main Swiss factory and moved its operations into a new UK office and warehouse based in Eastbourne. The company’s R&D facility remains in Switzerland for the time being.

Agon Systems Award UKThe Swiss facility is responsible for bringing to market a number of new innovations over the next 24 months, these include a totally redesigned Mono Electronics Board that will allow Remote Service, Wireless Synchronisation and improved performance and lower energy usage. Additionally their developers will bring online a redesigned Receiver and Transmitter Electronics with many new features and new software for both customer and engineer interface.

The UK facility will hold between £750K -£1M worth of stock at any one time to support the growing customer base and to ensure that they can deliver what the client requires anywhere in Europe with 24-48hrs. This facility also has an area where engineers can pre-configure and test every EAS system that is sent out for installation, this means almost 100% success rates without any failures. From the UK facility they will also provide remote support to their products all over the world via their Agon software.

Managing Director of Agon Systems, Sean Welch commented: “Winning the Best Newcomer Award at the recent Fraud Awards is a fitting tribute to the hard work and determination of everyone at Agon to find and develop the best products in the industry.

“In the last 12 months alone Agon has increased sales by 40%. And with ten major retailers due to come on board with the Concept Tag in 2017, we expect a further growth of around 40% or more in the coming financial year.

“Agon is looking forward to a very bright future, with an industry leading product that will revolutionise the tagging market and see the Concept Tag become the tag of choice for the majority of retailers over the next 5 years. 2017 will see us launch the Concept Tag into the USA and we are excited about the opportunities that exist for us in this vast market. That’s good for us and it is good for our community here in East Sussex.”

For more information head to http://www.agon-systems.com

Five Things Every Company Should Consider When Conducting a Risk Assessment

Sponsored by CAP Index

Advice for addressing just about any security challenge—from preventing a lawsuit to keeping staff safe—is typically the same: First, conduct a risk assessment. But how do you know if your risk assessments are up to snuff? Here are five things loss prevention departments should evaluate about their risk assessment processes.

1. Consider the source. Whether it is an article you read online, the words of an over-chatty neighbor, or the lofty promises of a television commercial, one piece of advice holds true: consider the source. This common-sense counsel is critical when it is applied to your risk assessment data.

The source and quality of your risk assessment data are critical. It is important to consider the following:

  • Are you gathering all the necessary information?
  • Is the person entering the event into the database doing so skillfully and consistently?
  • Are you categorizing event data appropriately?
  • Is your internal and external information reliable, accurate, and complete?
  • Does your risk assessment equation add it all up effectively?

Failing to follow these steps can lead to faulty decision making, which in turn can affect your bottom line. Resources could be over- or under-allocated, and you could choose less-than-ideal locations or set unreasonable goals. Also, these faulty decisions could lead to significant litigation exposure.

2. Risk assessment frequency and consistency. We check the smoke detectors in our homes every year at daylight savings time. We get our vehicles inspected annually. And we even make it to the dentist twice a year—like it or not. These safety precautions happen in patterns, making them second nature to us.

That kind of consistency and frequency should also apply to your organization’s risk assessment strategy. Many organizations fail to factor frequency and consistent assessments into their risk assessment strategy.

Take some time to meet with your team and analyze when, why, and how often you conduct your risk assessments. Many companies assess annually, while others assess only after a serious incident. Some do a partial assessment based on special circumstances that need to be addressed. If you need assistance, a risk assessment services company, such as CAP Index, can help you determine the pattern of crime risk assessment frequency that is right for your organization.

3. Employee feedback—perception vs. reality. Perception is reality, right? Not always. Employee feedback is an important component in our risk assessment and prevention arsenal. But to make the most of this information, you must ensure that you understand and account for the gap between perception and reality. Here are some things to consider:

  • Was the feedback solicited or unsolicited, and how does that influence their responses?
  • How do people’s own experiences affect their perceptions? For example, a suburban employee may consider vehicle break-in a highly dangerous situation, while an urban employee may view the same incident as a nuisance.
  • Employees can see and intuit things that just might trump the data that you are gathering. It is important to collect these supplementary observations and impressions.

4. Articulating your risk assessment methodology. Being able to articulate your risk assessment strategy is vital. You should document your strategy and be able to explain the methodology used to draw conclusions.

5. Understanding the distinction between threats and vulnerability. Which came first, the threat or the vulnerability? Turns out, there is no chicken and egg question here. Unless you have a reasonably anticipated threat, you do not have vulnerability. You are only vulnerable to threats that exist. You cannot know your vulnerabilities until you accurately identify and assess your actual and inherent threats. So while the terms may seem interchangeable or confusing, it is important to remember that vulnerability is really a result of a credible and reasonably foreseeable threat.

Recognize Your Resume as a Personal Marketing Strategy

In an increasingly competitive job market, the importance that having a well-constructed resume can have on your loss prevention career cannot be overstated. The resume provides a summary of an individual’s experience, education, skills, and qualifications. However, that is an oversimplification of the power that this document carries and the potential impact that it can have on your career development plan. As such, it is imperative to have a professional resume that contains the right information, allowing you to stand out from the countless other candidates that potential employers will be looking at during the search process.

First impressions count, and often the first impression that a potential employer will have of you will depend on how you present yourself through your resume. In this respect we are typically reminded that a potential employer will often have a mountain of paperwork to sort through as they review prospective candidates for a position. As a result, it’s surmised that they my only take a few moments to “glance” at a resume before moving on to the next, and the resume has to be constructed to “catch their attention” and make an impression. All of the years you’ve spent working and studying, all of your accomplishments and experience, and all of the effort that you’ve put into building a successful loss prevention career must be appropriately represented in your resume.

Understand the Value

Many candidates tend to minimize the importance of the resume in the overall hiring process. They surmise that a resume alone won’t get them a job, rationalizing away the need to “provide too many details”. They feel that once they get into the interview process that they can convince the hiring parties that their skills and capabilities make them the best choice. The primary fault in that thinking, however—is that you have to get in the door first. You can’t make an impression if you’re never given the opportunity.

It’s absolutely correct to state that a resume alone won’t typically get anyone a job. Hiring decisions are progressive, and there are many things that go into the overall process. However, while a good resume doesn’t guarantee a bad candidate a job, a bad resume can certainly cost a good candidate an opportunity for the position of a lifetime.

It’s true that too many details can hamper a resume. Readers can get bogged down by wordy descriptions and information overload, losing interest as a result. But it’s not the quantity of words that we use, rather the quality of our statements that set the tone. Choosing our words wisely speaks volumes about our overall ability and understanding of who we are and what we do.

Bring it to Life

A resume isn’t simply a compilation of job titles or job descriptions. It is a forum for roles, responsibilities, skills, competencies, and accomplishments. It should bring your loss prevention career to life in the eyes of anyone reading the document and make them want to meet the person described on these pages.

Let’s compare a couple of simple examples:

Loss Prevention Manger: Apprehend shoplifters, conduct internal investigations, conduct operational audits, run the safety committee. Hold monthly inspections of alarm systems and equipment. Hold employee orientations, awareness training, and other meetings to reduce retail shrink results…

Loss Prevention Manger: Development and implementation of loss prevention, audit, and safety programs for a $40 million retail store leading a staff of 6 employees. Working together with store management and associates, our team was able to reduce and maintain retail shrink at .8% of sales…

Which loss prevention manager would you offer a job interview? In the first example, we are simply providing a description of the job. Anyone reading this resume already knows what a loss prevention manager does, and doesn’t need a refresher on the job description.

In the second example, we are describing what we accomplished, using simple wording that supports action, leadership, teamwork, business acumen, and real-world results. It’s accurate, concise, and insightful. It applies at every level of professional development. We don’t need gimmicks or shortcuts—we need strategy and common sense. This is what gets you in the door and sets the tone for any discussions that follow.

Consider your resume to be your personal marketing brochure. Most often, this is the document that will determine who decision makers will interview. It should grasp the employer’s attention and to give them the information they need to bring you to the next step in the hiring process. A well-written and well-formatted resume tells the employer a lot about your professionalism, and improves the chances of receiving a job interview.

When building a successful loss prevention career, simple steps can help us bring talents to the forefront. Learning these basic rules can help validate your talents and abilities, keep you on the right path, and prepare you for what lies ahead.

For more information on loss prevention careers, visit www.lpjobs.com

This article was originally published in 2015 and was updated October 18, 2016. 

Retailers See Increase in Organized Retail Crime

Organized retail crime is continuing to grow, with 83 percent of merchants surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according to the 12th annual ORC study released today by the National Retail Federation.

“Retailers continue to deal with the challenges that come with fighting organized retail crime,” NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca said. “Every day, criminals are getting more creative in the ways they manipulate the retail supply chain. Combating ORC is a full-time job, and it is a constant battle industry-wide for retailers large and small to stay one step ahead of these savvy criminals.”

The survey of 59 senior retail loss prevention executives found that 100 percent said their companies had experienced ORC in the past year, up from 97 percent in 2015 and marking the first time in the survey’s history that all responding companies reported being a victim. In addition, 83 percent said ORC had grown: The average loss was $700,259 per $1 billion in sales, a significant increase from $453,940 last year.

With the problem growing, 71 percent of loss prevention executives said they now believe their top management understands the severity and complexity of the crimes, up from 63 percent last year.

ORC gangs often use storefronts, pawn shops, flea markets and kiosks to fence stolen goods, and 63 percent of those surveyed said they had recovered merchandise from a physical location. But many criminals turn to the Internet for the anonymity it offers — 58 percent of retailers said they had identified stolen merchandise from an e-fencing operation.

Criminals are also finding ways to manipulate store return policies. According to the survey, 68 percent of respondents said they had experienced thieves returning stolen merchandise for store credit, which is often resold to secondary-market buyers.

Four new states — New Mexico, Oregon, New York and Vermont — have enacted ORC laws in the past year, bringing the total nationwide to 34. But the survey found that 56 percent of retailers in states with ORC laws said they had seen no increase in support from law enforcement, the highest in the survey’s history. Retailers continue to support creation of a federal ORC law, which is backed by 79.7 percent of those surveyed.

“Organized retail crime continues to impact retailers at a larger scale now more than ever before,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Custom Policy Jonathan Gold, who heads NRF’s lobbying efforts on ORC. “ORC also poses a threat to unwitting consumers who may purchase stolen merchandise that is not stored properly or may have expired. It is critical for our industry to continue pushing for strong federal legislation that would properly define ORC and make it a federal crime. Until there is a federal ORC law to counter this increasing criminal activity and the ability to transport stolen products across state lines, it will be nearly impossible to put a dent in this $30 billion-a-year problem that threatens retailers, the economy and consumers across the country.”

Cargo theft continued to impact retailers, cited by 44 percent of those surveyed, up from 38 percent last year. The most common place for cargo theft to occur is when merchandise is en route from the manufacturer to a retailer’s warehouse or from the warehouse to a store, followed by on-site at the warehouse.

Los Angeles continued to be the hardest hit area for ORC in the nation, a position it has held since 2012. Following in order were New York City, Chicago, Miami, Houston, San Francisco/Oakland, Arlington/Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Orange County, Calif.

The survey of 59 executives representing department, big-box, discount, drug, grocery and specialty retailers was conducted July 20th to August 19th, 2016.

The Fundamentals of Network Data Loss Prevention

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It’s important to understand how criminals gain access to systems in order to better manage your organization’s network data loss prevention. While the playbook for network penetrations varies from attacker to attacker, there are some consistent patterns that emerge from each enterprise-level incident. Network penetrations can be broken down into three steps, each with distinct signatures.

1. On-Ramp to the Network. Attackers have to get a foothold in the network, and this is most often done by social engineering targets to download malware or submit credentials to a phishing site. Additional on-ramps include watering holes, compromised logins, third-party hacks, and exploiting vulnerable third-party apps, particularly content management systems.

2. Navigating the Network. Once inside, attackers will use internal documentation to further their attack, pivoting from corporate user to corporate user via compromises to eventually gain access to documents and databases.

3. Exfiltration. Data exits the system in surprisingly simple fashions. Sometimes it is hidden in traffic, but more often than not, it is zipped or encrypted and moved off the network to a drop site before detection systems can alert users and data loss can be stopped.

Human Error in Network Data Loss Prevention

Nearly all of the network attacks involve the following failures, oversights, or policy breakdowns:

  • Human error is almost always involved. Whether attackers enter through the front door or move laterally through the network, the attackers need employees to take some sort of action, whether it is entering credentials into a phishing site or opening a malicious attachment.
  • Employees use corporate emails to register for third-party sites that have been hacked and, even worse, reused passwords.
  • Lack of two-factor authentication for access to VPN networks, databases, and shares contribute to many of the breaches and magnify password reuse problems.
  • WordPress plugins are exploited for credentials to access servers or to create phishing pages. In general, servers running CMS applications are hackers’ on-ramp of choice.
  • Once inside networks, reconnaissance is performed through corporate directories, wikis, and share sites. Attackers find targets with desired accesses and move laterally using malware or phishing sites sent from internal email.
  • Network traffic monitors fail or are evaded during exfiltration.

This article was excerpted from “Basic Training in Network Security.” Read the article to learn best practices in data loss prevention and discover which components of any corporate network are most vulnerable. 

LP101: Establishing Policy for Safety in the Workplace

Every retail organization wants to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees and customers. We strive to prevent accidents, injuries and illnesses by promoting safe work practices and working conditions, achieving zero accidents and injuries in all aspects of our operations, and fully complying with all rules, regulations, laws, and best practices. To achieve these objectives, we must develop and implement policies supporting safety in the workplace that will provide all applicable information to our employees, and where appropriate to our customers.

There are many benefits to having an effective safety policy:

  • A well-defined policy that is backed by a sound program and the necessary support will provide a vehicle to establish commitment to health and safety objectives throughout the company structure, ensuring that they are integrated at every level of the organization.
  • A well-executed policy will help to ensure that resources for health and safety are properly allocated and accounted for; providing appropriate safety training, instilling higher equipment standards (Ex: inspection, repair and replacement), ensuring consistent practices, and providing a strong foundation for self-regulation through self-assessment and audit programs.
  • A sound policy and program will ultimately help to reduce injuries and illnesses in the working/shopping environment.

Essentially, a safety policy is a statement of intent; a commitment to plan for coordinated management action regarding our safety initiatives. Policies should provide a comprehensive message regarding the company’s health and safety objectives and clear direction for the safety program. Guidelines will vary based on the type of retailer, products sold, and other circumstances specific to a particular organization, but common elements may include but are not limited to:

  • A statement of the organization’s commitment to a safe and healthy workplace and shopping environment.
  • Specific policies and guidelines should be spelled out with statements regarding personal injury and occupational health, fire protection and compliance with all applicable legislation.
  • Training initiatives and related guidelines. Safety awareness promoted.
  • Instruments for reporting and resolving actual and/or potential safety issues are established and communicated
  • A statement reaffirming management’s responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to prevent injuries and/or illnesses, and an assertion that all levels of management will be held accountable for their safety responsibilities.
  • Statements proclaiming that it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy work environment, with an emphasis on cooperation for the effective implementation of policy objectives.
  • References to the actual safety program and related procedures for implementing policy objectives.
  • Systems of accountability are established with disciplinary forums if policies are violated.
  • An affirmation of the company commitment to ongoing review, revisions of the policy and program when necessary and appropriate.

The policy should be clearly worded and easily understood by all employees. Proper procedures and program activities should be outlined, with responsibilities clearly defined, assigned and understood. It should be communicated to everyone in the workplace with well-established standards and methods of accountability. Policy objectives should be integrated with all other company plans and objectives.

By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about safety in the workplace and other topics designed to help build your career in loss prevention, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.

LPF LogoInvest in your future by exploring the benefits that LPQualfied, LPCertified, and the loss prevention certification process provide by visiting losspreventionfoundation.org

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