Category Archives: News articles

CCFA Asset Protection Conference – Beijing, China

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate CCFA Asset Protection Conference in Beijing, China which is hosted by the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA).  My hosts, including CCFA and Michael Zang, chair of the conference, were outstanding to work with and I thought I’d share a few thoughts from the experience.

Presentation at CCFA - Beijing, China

As the first Western speaker at this conference, I was asked to talk about the evolution of the U.S. loss prevention industry, what factors have driven its development, and how the Chinese retail industry might learn from it and move forward more quickly.  Clearly, the loss prevention and asset protection industry is in its early stages in China (as is the case in several other developing markets) and much needs to be done to create an understanding of how our function contributes to organizational performance.

The loss prevention practitioners that I met at the conference are, by and large, assertive and forward thinking with an eagerness to learn from others’ experience.  However, from my experience in observing quite a few retail operations in China, little has been provided to these employees in regards to professional development.  This is due, in part, to the lack of a developed industry but I think it also relates to language and culutural barriers plus the seeming lack of operational strategy that many retailers have for China.

There is a cadre of leaders within China who are working to develop expertise and industry opportunities from within China as evidenced in this conference, interest in publications and certifications from the U.S. such as LP Magazine, the Certified Forensic Interviewer credential, and the efforts of the Loss Prevention Foundation.  Additionally, data is starting to be collected and dissemenated in regards to shrinkage and loss.  KPMG presented data at the conference showing a slowly rising trend in shrinkage, although classification and measurement variances between companies cause difficulty.  However, this is also true in most developed markets.

If Western companies hope to be successful with their loss prevention efforts in China, they will have to carefully consider how they are going to help build the professional and technical skills of those who are on the leading edge of the nascent profession in China.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you are doing to build capability in this market.

Manitoba: Employers Will Have to Report Violent Incidents in Workplace

All Manitoba employers will now have to report annually on all violent incidents in their workplace, as part of a set of changes coming to the province’s workplace and safety rules.

Labour Minister Jennifer Howard said the changes will take effect at the end of August and will also require all employers to develop policies on how to get immediate help when workers are threatened.  “You need a way for an employee to call for help, to get immediate help, and they need to know what that procedure is,” said Howard.  She said tracking and reporting violence in the workplace can be “helpful” in assessing what level of risk there is, as well as raising awareness among workers about the importance of coming forward.

“I think in some workplaces, unfortunately, there has been an acceptance of a certain level of violent activity where people don’t think of these things as workplace safety and health issues that they need to report, so I think this helps to raise that awareness,” she said, adding inspectors will have access to the reports.

The changes also make it clear personal information can be released amongst employees to protect workers from violence, an issue that’s cropped up in the health-care sector due to privacy legislation.

Read the rest of the article here.

UK Civil Recovery Practices Supported in Parliament

In past posts, I have noted the criticism that civil recovery has been receiving in some of the mainstream media in the United Kingdom.  However, just as has been the case in the U.S., the law is very clear on the statutory rights that retailers hold in using this process to help offset the costs of retail crime.  Recently, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Mr Jonathan Djanogly, gave strong support for civil recovery on the floor of the House of Commons.

“Civil recovery is the legal means by which anyone who has suffered a financial loss due to the wrongful actions of someone else can seek appropriate compensation under civil law. Civil recovery schemes are used by many high-street retailers to deter shoplifting and recover from shoplifters the management, administration, security and surveillance costs incurred in dealing with the case, including the costs of the civil recovery action itself. That ambition is both understandable and justifiable. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. Businesses employ civil recovery agents to recover through the civil courts often relatively low-value losses arising from, for example, shoplifting or employee theft. The alternative would be criminal proceedings rather than a suit, with the likelihood of a criminal record for the person being prosecuted.”

“Retailers have a clear legal right to recover the costs of goods that they lose as a result of crime. The Government recognise the appropriate and proportionate use of civil recovery as one option available to retailers for dealing with low-level criminal activity that also amounts to a civil wrong. We believe that civil recovery, when used proportionately, provides an effective response to low-value and often opportunistic crime that often involves teenagers and other vulnerable people.”

“Let me be clear that the Government are entirely satisfied that retailers have a legal right to recover the value of any goods lost or destroyed as a result of an individual’s actions. Defendants can go to their local CAB and receive advice about what to do with the claim. The Government accept that a retailer arguably has a legal right to recover any additional costs or losses directly caused as a result of dealing with a case. However, we appreciate that there is no statutory or other clear basis for setting the amounts of such costs or losses that can be recovered in an individual case. Therefore, the amount of money, if any, that a retailer can recover from an individual accused of low-level theft in respect of its wider costs is entirely a matter for the courts based on the circumstances and facts of the case.”

First Prosecution under UK’s Corporate Manslaughter Law

In the first prosecution under the United Kingdom’s Corporate Manslaughter law, a private company was held responsible for a “gross breach of duty of care” that resulted in the death of an employee.

The company involved, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, employs eight people. Its senior management consists of Peter Eaton, who is its sole director and major shareholder. He was charged with gross negligence manslaughter and a health and safety offense, but a judge ruled last year that he was too unwell to stand trial.

The prosecution contended that the employee was working in a dangerous trench because the company had failed to take all reasonably practical steps to protect him from working in that way. During the trial, it showed that the company’s health and safety policy document had been written by Eaton in 1992 and had not been updated since that time. It also showed that the company had been warned about allowing employees to enter unsupported pits in 2005.

To read more about this decision, click HERE.

How Leaders Create and Use Networks

“Networking” is a term that gets abused, misused, and is often misunderstood.  But, networking, when done right and with purpose, can be a key business skill.  “How Leaders Create and Use Networks” is a good piece on this from Harvard Business Review.  In this article, three types of networking are identified – Operational, Personal, and Strategic.  There were a couple of lines in there that I really liked…first, in regards to personal networking:

“We observed that once aspring leaders..awaken to the dangers of of an excessively internal focus, they begin to seek kindred spirits outside their organizations.  Simultaneously, they become aware of the limitations of their social skills, such as a lack of knowledge about professional domains beyond their own, which makes it difficult for them to find common ground with people outside their usual circles.”

“Many of the managers we study question why they should spend precious time on an activity so indirectly related to the work at hand.  Why widen one’s circle of casual acquantances when there isn’t time even for urgent tasks?  The answer is that these contacts provide important referrals, information, and, often, development support such as coaching and mentoring.”

Second, in regards to the mindset of many managers:

“..we often hear, ‘That’s all well and good, but I already have a day job.’  Others..consider working through networks a way to rely on ‘whom you know’ rather than ‘what you know’ – a hypocritical, even unethical way to get things done.  Whatever the reason, when aspiring leaders do not believe that networking is one of the most important requirements of their new jobs, they will not allocate enough time and effort to see it pay off.”

How do you view networking?  Is it a “dirty word” or an essential business skill?