Innovative Retail Technologies

JUL-AUG 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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I n today's competitive retail environment, corporate leadership faces a variety of obstacles and is required to make many important decisions on a daily basis — all of which could be considered mission-critical and vital to the long-term success of the business. Such was the situation Gregg Smith faced when he joined Five Below in the newly created position of senior director of asset protection nearly three years ago. As Five Below's first asset protection department head, Smith quickly built a long to-do list. With various areas of the operation calling for attention, the trick was to gather enough data to make intelligent decisions about what exactly was needed and then to create a prioritized action plan to address the issues. While it would have been easy for Smith to focus only on problems and solutions that affected the needs of his department, he looked for opportunities to provide additional value to other functional areas of the organization. Looking back over his time with the company, there are three initiatives that stand out as having had a significant impact on the organization. Improve Communications With Incident Reporting One of Smith's first projects was to streamline the reporting of incidents. "When I joined, the process of how we collected information from our 380 stores was very manual," he explains. "We used a one-size-fits-all web form that was routed that was being provided." Additionally, incidents are routed to the appropriate people automatically. For example, if a store received a carton with the wrong contents, it can report the discrepancy. The incident is sent to the person in inventory control at the distribution center that serves the district that store is in. This type of efficient automation is a significant improvement over the catch-all email address being used previously. "By being strategic and sending incidents only to the necessary parties, noise is removed, and stores can focus on the important things for them," Smith adds. Smith was also able to show that the software could be used in areas beyond loss prevention, which made the decision to pay for the monthly software subscription easier. Essentially, if to one email address. Whether someone was reporting an accident, theft, broken computer, or robbery, the same form was used. Oftentimes, people had trouble understanding what sections of the form applied to the incident they were trying to report. It was confusing to people." Once the report was made and the email was received, it was up to one person in the organization to then read and interpret the incident and then forward the message to the right personnel. It wasn't the most efficient process. Smith set out to identify trends from the incident data. The problem was, there really wasn't any data. He had to sift through all the incident reports manually and categorize them just to be able see what was happening and how often. "I began analyzing the data and uncovering trends to make informed decisions, implement programs and initiatives, and obtain funding to correct things that were taking place to an extent no one really knew up to that point in time," he explains. After identifying a variety of areas in the business that could use better data, Smith was given the green light to invest in a cloud-based case management and auditing platform. "As opposed to our previous one- size-fits-all form for all incident types, the software that we use enables us to customize the form specific to each incident type. This helped to streamline the process as users were no longer confused by fields that didn't fit their situation and increased the quality of the information 7 Jul -Aug 2017 "When you consider the age of our workforce and how they prefer to learn today, videos make sense." Gregg Smith, senior director of asset protection, Five Below

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