So far 2017 has been a very challenging year for retail companies. The number of retail companies that have filed for bankruptcy, closed locations, or dramatically reduced their budgets are clearly shaping this year to be one of the worst years in retail.
The challenge most retailers face is simply a lack of resources available to sustain a proactive LP program. Even maintaining a consistent LP presence in all store locations can be a stretch as most field personnel are used to immediately address cases of theft or other critical areas of concern.
If you’re an LP director working for a challenged retailer that is closing stores and comps are flat, you have an obligation to help create the most profit you can. You can’t just sit back and hope it passes. You must become a true partner in profitability, take some leadership, and take some risk.
A consideration for retailers is to outsource portions of their loss prevention programs or their entire loss prevention function. While this is certainly a consideration for some retailers, outsourcing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, consider your current shrink. If it’s on par or below the national average, outsourcing may not be for you. However, if your shrink rate is an immediate concern, also consider your size. Outsourcing works best for smaller retailers that are geographically dispersed but have limited internal resources.
If you’ve determined that outsourcing is the best option for you, the next challenge is to pick a partner. As with any outsourced vendor, the decision to move forward with such a critical portion of your business should be based not only on what types of services they can provide, but also how they demonstrate an exact understanding of your operations and needs.
Here are the top five secrets to consider before making the choice to outsource:
1. Coverage. Does the provider have adequate and reliable resources near all of your store locations? If they only cover a small percentage of your store locations, the expense for them to travel may be just as much as sending your own team.
2. Staffing and Certification. Are all staff, including those in field locations, full-time employees? This ensures the accountability and consistency in delivery of your services. Also, as this vendor will act as a primary or secondary “face” of your department, ensure that all members are properly trained and certified.
3. Culture. Communication with your internal team and a demonstrated understanding of your business drivers are crucial to your program success. If they do not demonstrate a thorough understanding of any of these areas, the partnership will not be a success.
4. Insurance and License. Does the vendor have all the appropriate insurance coverage, are they properly licensed, and how do they demonstrate it?
5. Measurement. The vendor should be able to quickly and clearly demonstrate other cases of reduced shrink, improvement in earnings, and heightened program awareness at all associate levels.
While outsourcing is not the best option for all retailers, for some, it has provided the opportunity to shift the loss prevention program from a reactive to a positive state, leading to heightened associate awareness, reduced shrink, and improved earnings.
Your LP Partner
LP Innovations is the only nationwide, single-source provider of loss prevention solutions for the retail industry with a dedicated full-time field staff. Since its inception in 1998, LP Innovations has provided its rapidly growing customer base with a variety of innovative solutions proven to protect profit and reduce shrink. Its expert team is dedicated to maximizing your profitability through proven shrink reduction programs, uncompromising customer service, and its unique ability to seamlessly integrate into diverse business cultures. LP Innovations’ services include:
- Compliance and Control Audits
- Investigative Consulting
- Exception-Based Reporting and Analysis
- Training and Awareness Materials
- Mystery Shopping
- Loss Prevention Consulting
- Location Risk Assessments
- Civil Demand and Recovery
From a nationwide field staff of loss prevention auditors and certified investigators to a dedicated staff of exception-based reporting analysts and experienced program directors, LP Innovations provides its customers with best-in-class services, helping to build and maintain stronger and cost-effective loss prevention programs. For more information about our services, visit lpinnovations.com.