The majestic Chateau Elan Winery and Resort just north of Atlanta, GA, was the setting for the second annual Security100 Summits Retail event held July 18 – 20. This year’s theme focused on the evolving role of loss prevention as it relates to not only reducing loss, but improving the customer experience and supporting revenue and profit improvement. Along with numerous presentations and panel discussions, retailers and solutions providers engaged in intimate conversations for solving retail challenges.
The opening speaker was Maurizio Scrofani, LPC, CSCP, who discussed the role of logistics asset protection in today’s omni-channel environment. Scrofani is a veteran supply-chain executive most recently the vice president of supply chain asset protection for Macy’s and currently CEO of MPS Solutions. His talk focused on how shippers, manufacturers, and third-party providers can collectively use strategic partnerships as force multipliers to help retailers mitigate risk and deliver a positive consumer experience.
A retail panel of shrink experts discussed how loss prevention organizations are working to shrink big data to maximize the impact of data analytics within the retail enterprise. Christian Romero, CISO for Technocracy, moderated the panel [see image above] that included Johnny Custer, LPC, director of analytics for Sears Holdings; Tom Meehan, CFI, director of technology and investigations at Bloomingdale’s; James Stark, director of LP for Pier 1; and David Shugan, CFI, senior director of LP with Carters.
Meehan pointed out that “big data today primarily supports operations and enhancing the customer experience; catching bad guys is just a by-product” of that focus. Custer agreed with that assessment. He said that LP organizations should “look at the problem first and solve the issue, whether it’s process, training, or catching a bad actor.”
Shugan, who leads a relatively small loss prevention team, emphasized that smaller organizations need to portray “an OZ mentality” to succeed; project a “big, powerful, and all-inclusive” solution throughout the enterprise. Relative to finding data analytics talent, he advised other LP leaders, “Don’t be afraid to hire someone smarter than you to get the job done.”
In a discussion of partnering with solutions providers, Stark said, “Don’t try to fit me in your box. I need to know how you make me bigger, faster, smarter, and not make me look bad.” He also acknowledged that LP leaders don’t have to be big data experts, but they do “have to be able to express to IT a clear vision of where LP is taking data analytics.”
John Clark, retail chair for the Loss Prevention Foundation’s Armed Services Committee, explained to the attendees how the committee is working to help active military and veterans transition into civilian life. Illustrating the points from his own experiences, transitioning military often face financial, marital, and job hunting issues. The committee partners with retailers to offer certification scholarships, networking, mentoring, and job opportunities for these men and women.
A panel on day two addressed the current threats of violence and disruption in the retail environment. Curt Crum of the Boise (ID) Police Department and president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR) provided an overview from the law enforcement perspective. He said that police are seeing a significant shift in retail crime turning more violent. They are also finding that the same individuals engaged in organized retail crime are also in involved in other property crimes, robberies, retail fraud, human trafficking, and other serious felonies.
Walgreens Director of Corporate Investigations Dave Colen gave the attendees an overview of his organization’s planning for current crisis events such as civil unrest due to recent police-involved shooting and political events like the Republican National Convention. He said, “Crisis preparation is not business continuity. It’s what do I do right now to manage a significant issue.” Colen also advised his peers in the audience that “anyone can do nothing. We’re paid to plan for issues before they become issues.”
Bloomingdale’s Tom Meehan also provided an insight into his company’s crisis management planning. He advised that organizations monitoring social media and broadcast news have to differentiate what is real versus rumor or misinformation and know the tipping point that triggers action, such as closing stores. Meehan also emphasized that employee communications requires that you “say it early and say it often” to be effective.
Much of the two days were spent in boardroom presentations to the retailers, where each participating solutions provider spent 25 minutes giving retailers a background on their company and presenting their products and/or services. The overview allowed retailers to set up “one-2-one” meetings with the vendors who they could potentially partner with to meet their current internal challenges.
One loss prevention leader of a major specialty apparel retailer commented that this type of small hosted event allows him to have intimate conversations with solutions providers to better communicate his challenges and understand how the supplier can meet his needs.
The solutions providers who sponsored the event included Altronix, American Public University, ARCA, Axis Communications, CEC, Cognitec, HanwhaTechwin America, Hytera Respond & Achieve, Milestone, SEB, and Securewatch24. Other organizations supporting the event included the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR), the Loss Prevention Foundation, and LP Magazine.
The Security100 Summits Retail event is presented by FOCUS MEDIA EVENTS. Nancy Largay, general manager for FOCUS MEDIA, said, “This event is designed to bring together retail leaders for the loss prevention community with leading solution providers to engage, debate, problem solve, and build key relationships to help solve the unique challenges facing retail today.” The event included numerous opportunities for networking at the Chateau Elan resort, including golf, wine tastings, and special dinner activities.
For those looking to be involved in the 2017 Summit, you can submit an inquiry by visiting the website at www.security100summits.com/retail.