For many Retail Loss Prevention Managers budgets are shrinking and store counts are rising.
To make the most of their audits they may need to think harder about the technology they are using.
In his presentation at the Retail Risk – Leicester conference on 5th October, Gary Moncur will be sharing some insights from his experience as an LP manager in the United States, covering stores across a whole continent.
As Director, Loss Prevention (North America) for the Compass Group, the world leader in commercial food and hospitality services, Gary covers a lot of locations with a small team. It was the same in his previous job with Dollar General, where he was a divisional LP manager with a team of 20 people, some of them covering 300 stores.
“When one person is covering 150 locations you need to make full use of your exception reporting tool. With that you have the ability to sit down on a Monday and use all your knowledge, all your shrink reports and your POS reports to help you decide where you need to go. Then before you walk into the location you know what you’re walking into, you’re not just walking in blind.”
The loss prevention and compliance audit software that Gary has been using is Think LP.
“With this system you can quickly conduct the audit and you can get instant results. It actually generates the results to the location. In the past you worked with pencil and paper, you went away and wrote up the report and sent it out to everybody within a few days, but with this technology platform it’s instant.
“More than that, the more you do the more data it builds up. You create a history for that location and for every location. You can run different reports which show missed questions, how many questions were missed, the percentage of missed questions. That’s less work for the LP manager to have to do and makes them more efficient as they plan out the weeks and months.”
Another technology that LP managers should be using more, and better, in Gary’s opinion, has been around rather longer.
That’s the telephone.
“Phone interviews are not the preferred method but particularly when the store count is challenging if someone is good on the phone it really helps them in their role,” he says.
“Most retailers have CCTV at most locations and if they are utilising exception reporting, then with a combination of those two things you can pretty well ascertain whether there’s a problem. Then the phone conversation becomes a lot easier because it’s not so much about what they have done as why they have done it. On the phone you can use the technology to develop a case before you step out of the office.”
To demonstrate competence as an interviewer, on the phone and face to face, Gary recommends the Certified Forensic Interviewer designation, which was introduced in 2004 and held (in 2016) by 1,600 individuals worldwide.
“it’s a really nice certification for an LP professional to have. If I’m looking to hire someone it’s one of the first things we look at these days.”
Originally from Edinburgh, in Scotland, Gary started working for Toys R Us when he moved to the United States and then transferred to Babies R Us. He found Loss Prevention was tough to get into, but managed it after multiple attempts and in the past few years moved to the food service and hospitality sector – a career path that many other LP executives may want to follow.
In principle, he says, the switch isn’t hard to make.
“The experience should carry over. Of course, you have to sell yourself, but I think retail LP professionals can and should look outside of the industry.
“I tell people that food service hospitality is so different from retail except for one thing: people steal in exactly the same way. They steal cash, they steal through the back door and through the front door, they falsify inventory, it’s all the same kind of issues so I do feel strongly that we can transition to other sectors.”