The first Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Asset Protection Conference in three years ended on a high note yesterday, April 27. Though a short day, the two sessions RILA hosted were both informative and interesting for those in the asset protection industry.
Using Video Analytics to Drive AP and Business Goals
First, CAP Index Executive Vice President Walter Palmer, Lowe’s Vice President of Asset Protection and Safety Scott Draher, and Kroger Senior Manager of Asset Protection Solutions and Technology Chris McCarrick discussed using video analytics to drive AP and business goals. Palmer moderated, while Draher and McCarrick shared use cases they’ve tested and deployed, from people counting and anomalous behavior identification, to shelf availability and intrusions.
“We’re just now at the stage where we’re starting to actually deploy video analytics after years of testing,” said Draher. “It’s much better to take baby steps, learn as you go, and go from there.”
At Lowe’s, Draher started introducing analytics by creating proofs of concept. Then, he had to ensure their existing infrastructure could handle analytics and managed a deployment plan.
Some of the analytics they’ve tested include shelf-out-of-stock detection which aims to improve in-stock accuracy; customer dwell/labor re-deployment to know how many people are in the store at a time and whether anyone is in high-theft areas; and pass-off detection that can identify dishonest activity.
“The analytic I’m most excited about, though, is shrink prevention at checkout,” Draher said. “We’ve been able to get so far with being able to count items, and now we’re going after actual object recognition.”
Amazingly, Draher said his team has been able to identify that 20 percent of their inventory shrink comes from mis-scans—an issue he hopes shrink prevention analytics can help with.
Chris McCarrick said that his team has tested mis-scan detection, product switch detection, produce recognition, anti-shelf sweep analytics, blocked emergency exit analytics, spill detection, full cart corral analytics, license plate recognition, and face matching.
“It’s been a journey,” McCarrick said. “Early on, because I had a vendor partner that could do X, I thought all I had to do was bring it in and run it, and it would work. Getting things onto our internal network is a laborious process, and there are good reasons for that. So I’ve had to slow down. My tech folks don’t go as fast as I want them to go, and there are competing priorities. So as I’ve gone through this process and gone through better business use cases, I’ve asked through those business cases for more dedicated resources to get these projects off the ground. And part of the business case includes funding past the rollout and multiple years into the future. As you navigate the waters, each organization is different.”
Master Your Mind
To put the final exclamation point on this year’s conference, Jim Kwik, founder of Kwik Learning, gave a session on mastering your mind, where he explained how to improve your memory and focus.
Kwik suggested using the acronym BOSS: Belief, Observation, State, and Strategies. That means you must believe in yourself, listen and be silent in order to observe, control your emotional state, and create effective strategies for the information you do want to remember.
“Our struggles become our strengths,” Kwik said. “You learned a lot over the past few days, and those ideas don’t mean anything without implementation. Bring playfulness, focus, and confidence to anything, and you’ll do better.”
“Life is like an egg. If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends, but if an egg is broken by an inside force, life begins. Now is the time to unleash your genius.”
LP Benevolent Fund Raises $10,000
Overall, this year’s conference was a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues in the industry and learn best practices for the new world of asset protection.
Both LPM and the Loss Prevention Foundation had booths on the Expo floor, and we were happy to be reunited with all of the wonderful, inspiring people that make this industry so great. This was my first RILA AP conference, and the lessons I learned and connections I made were truly invaluable. It was a week I will never forget.
Ending our recap on a high note, the generosity of the asset protection community was also on full display. The LP Benevolent Fund had a booth in the Exposition Hall, selling raffle tickets for a variety of prizes. While the final totals have yet to be calculated, more than $10,000 was raised to support this important industry initiative.
Thank you to everyone who donated, and to all of the wonderful vendor sponsors that made this year’s conference possible!