Nike strives to improve LP
BEAVERTON, Ore.—With its 450 specialty stores and more than 1,000 partner stores around the world, large corporations like Nike are always looking for ways to improve their loss prevention program.
Bill Turner, director, asset protection, risk and control at Nike Global Retail said Nike has experienced far below average shrink numbers, year after year, which he attributes to focusing loss prevention efforts on training employees. “We’ve been spending a lot of time perfecting our program based on deterrents and training and awareness,” he said. But, he foresees the use of technology becoming more of a prominent part of Nike’s LP program, especially in these challenging economic times. “People are expensive, travel is expensive and we always say we’re trying to be present without being present and I think all retailers are in the same boat trying to figure out how to get the message across and control assets and do all those things without adding a lot of headcount and travel.”
The evolution of video surveillance has presented the ability for retailers to remotely view stores, something Turner said will become more of a prominent part of Nike’s LP efforts. While Turner said that he thinks this technology still needs time to develop before its mass implementation, he sees a lot of potential. “It is a technology that the sky is the limit with remote view and the ability for alarm companies using IP-technology cameras to provide visibility in physical stores, which wasn’t possible before. It’s coming and it’s coming quick and the technology is changing so fast.”
Nike hasn’t historically been an early adopter and has taken a “stair step approach” to migrating to such solutions. “When I got here seven years ago, we had virtually nothing,” he said. “We had tapes and VCR equipment attached to cameras and we slowly graduated to DVRs and added a little more and remote view is now something we are looking at.”
One of the partners that Nike is considering working with is Iverify, a video monitoring company that is currently certifying all its associates in LP-specific monitoring techniques. Iverify has partnered with the Loss Prevention Foundation to certify its associates as LPQualified, which will improve their ability to identify retail-specific threats.
“When monitoring from an LP standpoint, we look for key theft indicators such as a shopping cart full of merchandise or an individual acting suspicious and picking up lots of items or removing tags,” said Angela Hardison, EVP of operations and human resources at Iverify. “They’re looking at those types of behaviors that indicate theft and if necessary we have the ability to intervene with audio and video and prevent theft from happening.”
In addition, Iverify can offer retail clients open-and-closing escorts to ensure the safety of its employees. Hardison said Iverify began focusing its business specifically on retail loss prevention last year and is starting the LP certification process for approximately 200 of its associates.
Improving education and awareness on the monitoring end meshes with Nike’s approach to LP, said Turner. “Solution providers, if they understand our business and how we do it, they’re going to be better off and with Iverify, one thing they hang their hat on, is saying that they want their people to understand their client’s business,” he said. “My philosophy has been that if you don’t understand the business you’re in and you don’t understand how retail ticks, then you don’t have the knowledge to plug the hole that causes shrinkage and loss.”
However, despite having a strong loss prevention program in place and looking for even more ways to improve loss, success isn’t always a good thing. While it obviously reduces the company’s financial loss and improves the bottom line, it doesn’t exactly make for a good case to boost the LP budget. “One of our ongoing challenges is that sometimes success is not your friend,” he said. “The hardest thing to do is gain momentum in an LP program at a high level when you don’t have a problem—but that’s a good problem to have.”