Efforts to stop shoplifting in a store must involve more than just the store owner or manager. An effective strategy incorporates the input from department managers or whatever leadership hierarchy a store has in place. This has been something I have always been in favor of since my days as a Loss Prevention Manager. It came to me again recently when I was invited to be a part of a Veterans Committee at the college where I work. This was the second meeting of this particular group (I was not a member at the first meeting.) The Chairman of the committee outlined some of the goals from the first meeting. As discussions about everything the committee wanted to accomplish were laid out it appeared there was much the leader was taking upon himself. This group of military veterans and retired military leaders and college leadership started jumping in and giving suggestions and offering solutions to some big challenges. For example one of the goals of the committee is to send five members of the student veteran’s leadership team to a national conference. This includes finding sponsors, donors, arranging flights, hotels rooms, etc. The Committee Chairman was trying to do this and run his department on campus. My fellow committee members are men and women of action. They started volunteering to take on some of these tasks. What does this have to do with Loss Prevention? Theft prevention cannot be the responsibility of one person. Whether it is ensuring merchandise is being tagged with Sensormatic tags to daily testing of equipment to creating a shortage plan, it cannot fall on one person.
Store managers have to have a team of people who will assist them in putting together an effective shortage prevention strategy. The manager has to have a vision for what he/she wants but without the help of people who are willing to share the load that vision will not be fulfilled. The store owner or manager can make the initial purchase of a Sensormatic security system and have it installed but once that is complete there is more that goes into a Shortage Plan. Someone has to be responsible for the training of employees who will be responding to electronic article surveillance alarms when they activate the towers. Since turnover is going to occur from time to time this trainer has to be continually reviewing procedures with employees and training new employees. Properly responding to alarms is important and can determine if merchandise is recovered or how the person will respond who has caused the alarm. When executed in the right way, responders to electronic article surveillance alarms can stop shoplifting and recover merchandise without causing a scene. They can also keep a situation from escalating by the manner in which they interact with the customer who causes the alarm.
Not only does someone need to take responsibility for alarm response training someone has to be charged with the tagging and auditing of merchandise. The store management team should determine the items that they want to have protected with Sensormatic tags. At that point someone has to get the job done and make sure it is a continual process. It can be tedious (I know I have had to do it) but when the merchandise program is followed on a daily basis it is easy to keep up with. Lapses in tagging and auditing create headaches as employees have to backtrack to locate what is not tagged and get caught up. You can understand how hard it would be for a Store Manager to do this with the rest of his/her workload.
While it is not as labor intensive the system equipment must be checked for operational readiness on a regular basis. This may be daily or weekly but it is a test that should include the pedestals, deactivation pads, Sensormatic cameras or traffic counting devices if they are part of a system and accounting of detachment tools. Identifying issues quickly plays an important role in store efforts to stop shoplifting. Broken or damaged equipment can mean that thieves are not being detected as they leave the store. That results in an increase in unnecessary shrinkage.
Putting an anti-theft program in place and incorporating Sensormatic tags and towers into that plan is important. Having a team that gives their support and participates in the program is crucial. No matter how well-intentioned a store owner or manager may be they cannot carry that load by themselves. Getting team buy in and support is necessry in all aspects of a business and theft prevention and shortage reduction is no different. Teamwork makes running a store easier on everyone and a more productive environment overall.
For more information on Sensormatic tags contact us or call 1.866.914.2567.