By Karl Langhorst, CPP, CFI, LPC
The goal of both operations and asset protection (AP) teams should be to drive sales. But this difficult climate – with a spike in retail crime, worker shortage and the pandemic—has put teams in a perpetual all-hands-on-deck mode, often struggling to keep up with issues as they arise. For AP teams, it’s even more important to stay focused on championing their store’s day to day operational and sales efforts so that they can bring their teams together and implement proactive loss prevention strategies.
A cohesive partnership between AP and operations is essential to educate operations staff on potential loss prevention opportunities, promote business-centric loss prevention strategies that combat those opportunities, and create safer, more profitable stores. Here are some strategies to align AP and operations teams and unite them toward their common goal.
Get Aligned on Sales, Shrink, and LP Strategies
For operations and AP to work together, communication is vital in getting both teams aligned on sales, shrink, and loss prevention strategies. Members of the AP team should be business-focused professionals with subject matter expertise in loss prevention and who focus on how to improve operations daily so that store staff can sell more and improve the customer experience. Frequent and consistent communication is key in helping teams understand each other’s goals and work together.
Understand and Train on Operations Basics
AP and operations managers should work together to train AP staff on the key aspects of retail operations, such as how shrink impacts sales and the customer experience, as well as how operational tasks can support loss prevention efforts. A business-focused AP team should understand how to collaborate with store staff and managers so they can listen to and address concerns while also holding productive conversations about how to best incorporate their LP strategies into the daily store routine. This understanding of business operations is crucial, and if an AP team member cannot speak about the importance of sales with a store manager, the success of their loss prevention initiatives will be at risk.
Focus on Holistic Problems, Not Just Security
Often, AP teams can get into a “security” mindset—and it’s not hard to see why. But focusing solely on security means AP teams may not be open to collaboration and in developing holistic strategies to improve operational efficiencies. This security mindset is reactionary and can also place AP practitioners into a loss reaction mindset, rather than a loss prevention mindset, essentially becoming their company’s police force rather than a valued business partner. Loss prevention has an opportunity to create solutions that not only address theft and safety, but actively improves the customer experience and helps to boost sales. AP teams should always strive to learn more, evolve with the changing processes, and think creatively when problem solving to tackle any new challenge to their business partners or their customers. AP leaders that find a way to say “yes” to new initiatives are much more likely to be seen by their organization as a team member that is aligned with company goals.
Looking for an Innovative & Creative Solution?
ALTO’s boots-on-the-ground resources have the expertise to support collaboration and communication between AP & operational teams while supporting & strengthening their loss prevention solutions, deterring theft, and restoring a focus on sales & safety in stores. ALTO’s Customer Support Specialists are experienced in listening to concerns and looking for disruptions in-store that can negatively impact sales, customer & associate safety, and the store brand. ALTO is committed to being a solution partner for our retail clients, providing unbiased feedback and potential solutions to AP leadership so that they have a clear picture of where their opportunities lie and how they might overcome them to achieve their desired goals.
Interested in becoming part of the solution to safer stores, increased sales, and lower shrink? Contact us to join the ALTO Alliance today.