Yesterday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) opened the 2014 Retail Asset Protection Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana with a keynote address from Rick Damron, Chief Operating Officer, Lowe’s Companies Inc. Addressing a crowd of almost 1000 asset protection professionals in attendance for the yearly educational and networking summit, Mr. Damron shared his perspective on the critical role of asset protection in delivering the overall customer experience, driving sales and customer satisfaction while mitigating risk.
“Mr. Damron is a demonstrated thought leader in the retail industry when it comes to asset protection, and Lowe’s is a great example of a company that relies on AP as a trusted partner throughout the enterprise” said Lisa LaBruno, senior vice president, retail operations at RILA. “We are honored to have him here to share his journey and offer his perspective on the state of the industry to open this year’s conference.”
The Retail Asset Protection Conference addresses the biggest challenges and emerging trends within the field to help practitioners stay current on the state of the industry and enhance organizational effectiveness. Recognized as a best-in-class educational program, the conference features open forum discussions, networking opportunities, presentations by leaders of cutting edge programs and an exhibit hall showcasing the latest technology and solutions.
Later, RILA held a signature event of the conference, the Open Forums. Moved to day one of the event to offer early networking and information exchange, the Open Forums provide attendees an opportunity to engage with their peers on emerging challenges and problem-solving in key focus areas such as Organized Retail Crime, Investigations, Operational Shrink, Workplace Safety and Audit and Analytics.
“Moving the forums earlier in the program allowed attendees to get to know one another from the start of the program,” said Jenny Keehan, executive vice president, member services at RILA. “The open forums provided an opportunity to network and start discussing the most pressing challenges in the sector, paving the way for further productive conversations. This increases the feel of community that fuels candid and open sharing, a signature component of RILA events.”
The afternoon featured diverse breakout sessions, including a presentation on the impact of big data on identifying and preventing fraud at The Finish Line, and a session on driving shrink results through cross-functional partnerships with the Home Depot. Executives from Gap, Inc., Walgreens and Schneider Electric shared tips for promoting workplace diversity and inclusiveness, while leaders from Walmart, and Lowe’s shared lessons on empowering employees to create buy-in for safety programs. In addition, participants learned from the best organized retail crime (ORC) operations about how to collaborate and form partnerships to conquer ORC, and how to leverage interactive video for driving shrink, robbery, burglary and safety incident reductions with Walgreen and Family Dollar.
Best-selling author Jack Uldrich closed day one with an address titled, “How to Future-Proof Your Business Against Tomorrow’s Trends”.” Mr. Uldrich, a noted futurist, discussed the impact of evolving technology on business and the need for flexibility as old ways of managing challenges become obsolete.
“Today was marked by top-notch educational sessions, a packed showroom floor and collaborative dialogue, and attendees can anticipate more of the same tomorrow,” concluded LaBruno.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.