Loss Prevention Changes From the Last 20 Years
Loss prevention practices and tools have become very sophisticated in the last 20 years. From budget cuts that forced departments to work together, to sophisticated technology that makes it possible to do more with less, we’ll explore how the industry continues to grow and improve.
Loss prevention used to focus on “putting out fires”
Chet Young, a former vice president of audit and loss prevention for Walgreens, reflects on how loss prevention has changed since he began working in the field in 1988. According to Chet old loss prevention tactics, “Were basically just fire calls. [Employees] would respond to an alarm and run out to do interviews. There was very little prevention and intervention ahead of the fact.”
Nowadays, businesses focus more on prevention. One way that they prevent losses is with Envysion's advanced video intelligence, which takes video surveillance and makes it even more effective. Businesses can pair video with data, search through footage easily, and then use that information to make smart loss prevention decisions.
Loss prevention personnel come from a variety of backgrounds
Young recalls, “When I came into the LP department, the standard pattern of recruitment was to reach out to people in the military or law enforcement. Over the years, we have made successful efforts to diversify in terms of backgrounds, ethnicity, and everything else.” More than 20 years later, this is true for many different retailers. However, a background in criminal justice is still very useful for aspiring loss prevention officers.
There’s more technology in loss prevention
20 years ago, loss prevention professionals wouldn’t have been able to imagine the role that technology now plays in their field. A process that used to be manual (and occasionally dangerous, according to Chet Young) has become streamlined and automated.
As one example, with products like Envysion’s video platform, organizations can store their video surveillance footage on the cloud to access remotely, administer everything from a central control point, and more. Managers no longer need to travel to a physical location to view and analyze footage.
Another point of evolution that technology has created is how loss prevention supervisors handle exception reporting. According to Young, what little exception reporting Walgreen’s once had was very archaic. Now, this can all be linked to a POS (point-of-sale) system that allows employees to easily identify any problem areas that require more monitoring. Envysion’s exception reports deliver insight into daily operations, marketing efficacy, employee performance, and loss prevention — for the whole organization.
Loss prevention is more closely integrated with other departments
Loss prevention doesn’t exist in a vacuum anymore. The role of the department has changed over the years, with loss prevention providing a “strategic service to other areas of the business,” especially as budgets are slashed. For example, with the increase in technology, loss prevention now works with IT departments on a regular basis to combat internal and external theft.
Loss prevention technology will continue to evolve even more over the next 20 years. With products that feature powerful analytics (like people counting and path analysis), Envysion will undoubtedly continue to innovate and develop new methods that help to protect profits.