This week LP Magazine and LPM Media Group were once again in Rogers, Arkansas to attend Walmart’s annual Asset Protection National Meeting. Emphasizing the theme, “Today >> Tomorrow”, Joe Schrauder, vice president of asset protection, opened the meeting by thanking the Walmart AP team for not only making a difference in the stores—but also for serving as leaders in the community.
This message was especially poignant following recent events at the Walmart locations in South Haven and El Paso, which were struck by tragedies that impacted both the organization and the entire nation. Schrauder acknowledged the team’s effort, bravery, and devotion in the aftermath of these horrific events. Walmart US CEO and President Greg Foran also shared his appreciation for what the asset protection team is doing to ensure the safety of both associates and customers.
Schrauder proudly emphasized that the asset protection team should be encouraged by the company’s shrink and safety performances, which remain headed in the right direction. “We are on a journey that doesn’t have a destination,” he explained. “There is no end point. The way we measure ourselves is through progress. We always have to challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. We are all making progress. It’s up to each one of us to capitalize on the momentum and instill belief in the plan.”
The energy and excitement of day one’s rotations focused heavily on execution and innovation—how well we take our mission and make it come to life in the stores. Over 500 members of field leadership took part in rotating sessions that challenged participants to actively engage in problem-solving. Activities focused on problems they encounter on a daily basis, with exercises involving the frontend, the backroom, and while conducting cash investigations serving as prime examples.
Day two challenged the team to look toward the future, with various sessions focused on positive approaches, open minds, creative thinking, and moving forward with a positive and productive mindset so that we can best adapt to the fast pace and coming changes that will continue to affect the role of asset protection.
During the meeting, the team was reminded of some of the innovations and investments that propelled Walmart asset protection forward this year, to include:
- Walmart AP’s largest investment ever in the customer host positions, which delivered on the department’s promise to protect assets while providing exceptional customer service,
- The implementation of receipt check app and gates at the frontend, and
- The piloting of a new case management system.
All have been integral to the overall success of the asset protection team, helping to lead to where the asset protection team is today, and helping to position the entire organization for tomorrow’s success.
As part of his closing comments for the meeting, Schrauder shared five thing he has learned over the past few years while working at Walmart that the team can apply to their business:
1. Run your business like you own it,
2. Be brave,
3. Innovate and create change,
4. Culture matters and you can make the difference, and
5. Work as a team and take care of each other.
The overarching message for the two-day meeting was for asset protection to continue to create a balance between execution and innovation; to manage today and prepare for tomorrow; and by maintaining an empowered workforce, everyone plays a role in making it happen. This was certainly evident as they concluded the meeting with the annual AP awards celebrating the hard work of Walmart asset protection’s best-of-the best.