Letter From Garth
Like many of you, I just returned from RILA’s 2014 RILA Retail Asset Protection Conference. After only my second event in my role here at RILA, I am amazed at the energy level at the conference, and I return more excited than ever about the great work going on the industry. Themes that emerged include the changing role that asset protection plays in driving retail success, emerging technologies and new uses for traditional systems, and the importance preparedness in the face of a variety of challenges – these and more inspired me and made me proud to be a part of this great industry.
And nowhere is there a better representation of the industry than on RILA’s Asset Protection Steering Committee, the group that works tirelessly to make the RILA conference the industry’s best event ever. I want to extend a sincere “thank you” to the entire committee, and specifically to steering committee chair David Lund, Vice President, Loss Prevention at Dick’s Sporting Goods and vice chair Dennis Wamsley, Director, Loss Prevention & Safety at Publix Super Markets. Their thought leadership and commitment to excellence is demonstrated by the excellent content found at this year’s event.
From the conference’s opening with keynote speaker Rick Damron, COO of Lowes, the stage was set with an inspirational look at the critical roles asset protection plays at Lowe’s in the overall strategy of the company, driving profitability and customer satisfaction, all while continuously improving on every asset protection metric. The moderated panel of three senior asset protection executives – Bob Oberosler, Group VP, Asset Protection at Rite Aid, Libby Rabun, VP, Loss Prevention at AutoZone and Mark Stinde, VP, Asset Protection at 7-Eleven shared unique perspectives and insights on the current state and future challenges of the retail AP industry. And perhaps most timely, our Cybersecurity Panel was a focused discussion among experts from CrowdStrike Services, the United States Secret Service, and Gap Inc., moderated by a security expert from Accenture. But these only scrape the surface of what was a comprehensive and eye-opening program of main stage inspiration and breakout session deep-dives into the issues faced daily in AP.
I was personally inspired by the results of RILA’s college student program, through which graduate and undergraduate students worked with industry mentors to complete research projects on the ROI of remote monitoring and POS exception report applications, and on millennial consumers’ perceptions of AP strategies, respectively. And I am continually impressed with the quality products and services featured in the Exhibit Hall, where more than 130 solution provider companies demonstrated a vast array of offerings, from emerging technologies to software and cloud based solutions, to security and safety essentials, providing retailers with solutions to the challenges faced by AP departments today and tomorrow.
For the first time, RILA and The Loss Prevention Foundation partnered in a charity event to support the Loss Prevention Memorial Fund, which supports the families of fallen LP professionals. This year, more than $2,500 was raised in just two days with all proceeds going directly to the fund. We appreciate all individuals and companies that made this possible and contributed by giving back to the AP community.
Also held in conjunction with the conference was a meeting of RILA’s Asset Protection Leaders Council (APLC), RILA’s committee for the AP pyramid head within our member companies. This amazing group of executives comes together to work collaboratively to guide the strategic direction of the RILA’s AP offerings, to commission research that will benefit the industry, and to benchmark their operations against peer companies. Currently, the APLC is awaiting the results of a study commissioned to assess how the retail buying function impacts inventory shrinkage, broadly defined, and identify mechanisms by which buyers take into account this impact in their decision making.
But RILA is about much more than the conference.
Since our last newsletter, RILA took on the OSHA notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) to “improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.” Writing in opposition to the rule-making, RILA’s comments cited specific concerns with the electronic and public reporting process, the requirement for employers with over 250 employees to report quarterly, and the potential for reported information to be used by organized labor during election campaigns. RILA also signed onto comments by the Coalition of Workplace Safety that represents the larger business community. We will continue to work with the larger business community to oppose this rule as it moves through the regulatory process.
Additionally, RILA’s Horizons Committee which helps lead the development of innovative, next-generation solutions across all retail segments, is finalizing plans for the 2014 in-person meeting in early June at Gap headquarters.
Stay tuned for news on these and other upcoming activities, as RILA continues to represent our members across the asset protection spectrum to advance the industry.