Welcome again from sunny Orlando, Florida as we continue with Day 2 of the 2022 RILA Asset Protection Conference! While today’s sessions had something for everyone, the primary theme was all about people—our leaders at every level, our workforce, our customers, and our communities. The energy once again flowed freely throughout the event, and attendees were rewarded with a series of great sessions.
The day began with the annual Women in Asset Protection Breakfast, an event that has become a popular landmark within the annual conference. Panelists shared their experiences with an enthusiastic audience as female law enforcement officials and industry leaders explored avenues that can be pursued to expand and support career development and a more diverse retail organization.
The conversation then moved to the main stage for a general session on “Leveraging Stores to Better Serve Communities” with Target’s Oscar Arango, Paul Jaeckle with Meijer, and moderator Erin Hiatt with RILA. With examples including a Meijer store that became a safe harbor during an Active Shooter incident to ways that asset protection departments can find creative ways to lessen the burden on our law enforcement partners, the presentation outlined a few of the many ways that we can enrich the lives of the communities we serve while reminding us that while we have a responsibility to protect, it’s how we go about it that really defines our programs.
Our next session featured a continuing discussion on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Doing What’s Best.” Our panel of retail leaders and DEI experts emphasized that rather than simply focusing on “doing what’s right,” it’s just as important to emphasize “doing what’s best” by amplifying underrepresented voices, engaging the community, and bringing difference experiences and perspectives to the forefront to make us better. We were reminded that inclusion is an action, but belonging is a feeling, grounded when we start from “a place of good” with open minds, good intensions, and sincere motivations.
Today’s Breakout Sessions provided an array of options for attendees, with both morning and afternoon sessions packed with topics most relevant to today’s asset protection issues. This included roundtable discussions, interactive presentations, and the annual Student Mentorship Program with students from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Analytics program. Over the past several months, students teamed with Kroger to examine which products are most susceptible to large-scale theft, spikes in theft frequency, and the efficacy of theft deterrence strategies. Congratulations once again to the students, who provided an excellent presentation and all those who support this terrific initiative. Look for the published report presented by the students in an upcoming edition of LP Magazine.
The afternoon’s General Sessions began with Lisa LaBruno’s discussion with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who is pioneering ORC efforts across his state. General Raoul shared how influential retailers have been to raising awareness among law enforcement and prosecutors about the gravity of ORC, discussed the Organized Retail Crime Task Forces being pioneered by District Attorney Offices across the U.S., and offered perspective on the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders. He urged attendees to be persistent and intentional when working with officials, “once you start explaining how the proceeds can go towards funding other criminal activity, then you have the attention of law enforcement agencies and dedication to devote resources to it.”
This was followed by the final session of the day, “understanding and Managing eCommerce Loss at Scale” with Jerret Sauer and Maghan Hoppes with Gap, Inc. and Todd Isenhour with Lowe’s. As eCommerce becomes an increasingly important part of the retail business, understanding and managing eCommerce loss is a critical need. Our team of experts dove into defining eCommerce loss, measuring it, and how retailers align internal teams and external partners to tackle this increasingly important challenge.
We also want to recognize the tremendous contributions of our solution provider partners who offered their latest products and innovations along with their subject matter expertise. The Exposition Hall was very well-attended between sessions the past two days, with solution providers eager to share and retail leaders eager to learn and explore the opportunities. These outstanding partners do an exceptional job supporting both the conference and the industry, making events like this possible.
While we’re looking forward to the final day of sessions on Wednesday, we would also offer our gratitude and congratulations to RILA for another great conference experience. Look for our summary in tomorrow’s newsletter as we wrap up a busy and productive event.