Loss prevention departments across the country—and across the globe—have gone through a powerful evolution over the past several decades. Once viewed as merely a security force intended to apprehend retail thieves and provide a physical presence to deter shoplifting and other criminal activity, loss prevention has both witnessed and been part of a transformation as teams have developed to become partners in the business of retail.
What is the Role of Loss Prevention?
What may seem to be a relatively simple question often takes on a life of its own as various functions, philosophies, tasks, and responsibilities are debated by the loss prevention and asset protection community, those that we serve, those that support us in meeting our goals, and those outside the retail circle that draw their own conclusions based on what they see, hear, and experience.
Often the dialogue can more accurately be described as discussions focused on the variables that distinguish a specific approach to the role, such as the methodologies of a particular retailer. Other times we fall back on the common calling card, “The role of loss prevention is to reduce shrink.” But even this falls short of truly describing what loss prevention is really all about, and it still doesn’t accurately portray how far we’ve come.
More succinctly, the role of loss prevention is to enhance the profitability of our companies—just like every other role inside the retail enterprise. Indeed, reducing losses and shrink was, is, and will always be a critical aspect of that role. But as the industry has continued to evolve into a profession, our role continues to develop as well, taking us down a more global path with broader responsibilities and higher expectations.
Today, loss prevention professionals are seen as active and valued members of leadership as they have adapted to the retail culture and taken a seat at the table, balancing the concepts of shrink reduction and profit enhancement to best meet the needs of the business. And where we are today is only the beginning.
Retail is Evolving
The past twelve months have provided us with a massive wave of challenges, changes, and—growth. Yet this is merely a glimpse of what lies ahead. Retail is evolving. The way that we shop, the products we buy, and even the way that we pay for goods and services is changing in ways that we never would have expected just a few short months ago.
But every business is different. Retailers have different products, venues, customers, and cultures. This also leads to different needs, approaches, and expectations for the loss prevention/asset protection department. As a result, these variations will impact the way that a program evolves and matures. The tools necessary to accomplish our goals, the methods used to achieve productive outcomes, and the strategies that bring it all together are relative to the needs of the business. Differences are expected. However, the most successful programs are always looking for ways to get even better.
A Need for Information
As we look at the life cycle of your loss prevention program, what information can help us best measure where you are today versus where you want to be? Is your department effectively evolving with the needs of the business?
This survey is intended to analyze different program characteristics to help establish a baseline for program growth and development. Please answer our short survey questions, and feel free to share any additional thoughts and opinions in the comments section.
We welcome and appreciate your insights and opinions, and your responses will be kept strictly confidential.
Please click on the link below to take the survey and help us explore some of those answers. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
Your voice will make a difference! A summary and analysis of survey results will be published upon completion in the near future.