Attracting risk management and loss prevention experts from throughout the Gulf, Retail Risk – Dubai this week featured an array of thought provoking content from experts both regionally based and flown in from around the world.

The conference opened on day one with Paul Bessant, Founder of Retail Knowledge (owners of the Retail Risk conference series) delivering an insightful address to the audience, many of whom had already attended an eye-opening course that morning on non-confrontational interview techniques, from Wicklander Zulawski.

Peter Page, a leading GCC-based Risk executive, gave a keynote presentation entitled “The View From The Top” offering his perspective on where loss prevention has come from, is now and what lies ahead for those charged with protecting their business’ and stakeholder interests in the Gulf over the next five years.

Peter’s inspiring and thoughtful lecture was followed by a one hour session called “Meet the Experts.” Delegates were presented with nine 7-minute snapshots by leading experts in their fields who explained what challenges they deal with and where their expertise lay. All of these experts then made themselves available during the entire two day conference for delegates to speak with privately and discuss what opportunities there may be for them to use that expertise in their businesses.

Next came the much anticipated Mastermind Networking Session. For one hour all delegates were able to participate in a unique opportunity to meet others doing similar work in other organisations, to exchange business cards and expand their networks. Very quickly delegates became so engaged in the process that it was hardly even necessary for the Chair to co-ordinate the exercise, with people making new acquaintances and networking around the room with great enthusiasm! This session was an outstanding success and something we are sure to replicate next year.

Day one of the conference concluded with Criminal Mastermind, Tony Sales, appearing live on stage, flown in from London just for the conference, to provide an invaluable insight into how the criminal mind works – from identifying targets to systematic exploitation of weaknesses and how to defend against them. Tony, who now works with many large corporations around the globe identifying potential weaknesses and showing them how to improve their defences against the latest criminal initiatives, held the audience in rapt attention. Many delegates, who instantly understood the value of having an inside view of how the criminal world works, posed insightful questions. This was certainly a much appreciated highlight of an outstanding first day.

Day two of the conference picked straight up where day one had left off, with most of the previous day’s delegates returning for more of the Retail Risk conference experience as well as some new faces arriving for a second day packed with fabulous presentations and ably Chaired by Peter Page.

mushtaque_300pxMushtaque Rahmat   Who would dare threaten the GCC’s $285 billion retail sector?

Mushtaque gave an illuminating insight into factors that contribute to shrinkage and how to stop, avoid and reduce these. He defined retail loss in the GCC and discussed some of the often overlooked areas, such as price-matching, counterfeits and damages. Mushtaque went on to talk about shrinkage as a cost of doing business versus its impact on profit and the link between customer satisfaction and profitability.

mark_goldspink_300pxMark Goldspink   Behavioural economics in fraud – Man vs. Machine

Mark presented a thought-provoking overview of the fraud journey from single to multi to cross to omni channel retailing and the disparity that often exists between investment in front office and the back office. Mark spoke of the complex landscape that is emerging and the need for LP to add to the bottom line despite increasing complexity, exposure and effort. Mark outlined the AI contribution & machine learning and how exploiting the synergy between humans and machines can help to overcome decision fatigue and innattentional blindness.

david_erasmus_300pxDavid Erasmus   Credible Gulf risk assessment statistics to benchmark your business against

David provided the first opportunity of its kind for retailers to take part in a live technology-enabled interactive poll to consolidate input on the risks that retailers in the region face. After a look at the evolving landscape and unified commerce, Dave spoke about omni channel and reverse logistics, labour reforms, revised penal codes and regulations in the region before conducting the poll. A heat-map was produced and the findings will be published to attendees with four weeks.

ken_bohnert_300pxKen Bohnert   How adidas negotiated the data-mining ‘minefield’

Ken provided delegates with a case study into how his organization had gone about the successful global implementation of a data mining tool across disparate systems in many jurisdictions with differing languages. Ken outlined the RFI, RFP and vendor selection process, explaining how the final decision had been made. Ken spoke about the challenges and successes of the implementation including the marketing strategy to staff and he concluded with some examples of large thefts and a case of bribery that had been uncovered and resolved using the tool and plans for future expansion.

scott_brothers_300pxScott Brothers   How to get everything you can from all you’ve got

Scott provided a passionate presentation on the use of technology to break down internal silos and the part that technology has to play in this space. He gave some examples of where this has been done proficiently in the UK and spoke about early stakeholder engagement as the key to achieving this. Scott outlined synergies between existing systems and newer technology and how this can provide real business-wide intelligence through areas such as gender and age recognition, heat-mapping, dwell times, conversion rates and so on.

clotilde_300pxClotilde Iaia Polak   Surveillance cameras and how to comply with the law

Clotilde provided a legal opinion on extant legislation in Dubai and what retailers need to do to comply. She outlined the often overlooked rationale for the legislation and offered a thoroughly informative and well researched perspective on this. Clotilde also talked about data protection legislation and how this will impact delegates with stores in specific locations. She also successfully fielded a number of questions from delegates.

Christopher P. Norris   Using the selective interview to resolve workplace issues

Chris provided another though-provoking and highly informative illustration of how ‘W-Z’ methods can be used in a non-confrontational way to resolve workplace issues that otherwise would seem impossible to resolve. He explained to delegates how the selective interview process is designed to eliminate the innocent from an investigation and by default, allow the investigator to understand where to focus his or her attention to progress an investigation to a successful outcome. Chris used videos of real-life interviews to graphically illustrate his points. He also provided an outstanding workshop later in the afternoon, as Louis Fouché had earlier…

louis_fouche_300pxLouis Fouché   Strategies and practice for audit excellence

Louis presented his own journey and how he has successfully reduced shrinkage within his organization through his own unique strategy approach to stores, depots & online and systems. In a really engaging presentation Louis demonstrated how by getting the building blocks of success right the auditing function can flourish within a business becoming a valued business partner rather than just a necessary evil.

The day was rounded off with a lively panel debate around manned guarding in the GCC. Panelists and delegates immersed themselves in this controversial subject, occasionally challenging each other’s views and producing some really thought provoking perspectives on the topic.

Chair Peter Page brought proceedings to final close after expertly chairing the second day of conference. Many delegates then repaired to the pool area top the hotel to continue their discussions and expand their professional networks further.

Founder of Retail Knowledge Paul Bessant commented “Not only is this the first two day conference that we have held as part of the Retail Risk conference series it is also clearly the most successful Retail Risk – Dubai that we have every run. It is most gratifying to see that risk and loss prevention professionals increasingly see the annual event as an important annual fixture and a genuine opportunity to help them in their work. I am already looking forward to next year.”

Registrations for Retail Risk – Dubai 2017 are now open…