Builds "Common Goal" Culture to
Effectively Reduce Loss
Loss prevention team uses
by Vector Security
When Todd Zimmerman, National Asset Protection Manager
at h.h.gregg, joined the appliances and electronics
retailer in 2005, he was tasked to build a loss
prevention team from the ground up. Back then, the
company had 55 stores and its loss prevention challenges
centered mainly on internal loss. Most investigations
and audits were done manually.
Today, h.h.gregg has more than 220 stores nationally,
plus several distribution centers. Its loss prevention
department is 20 team members strong and its concerns
focus on more sophisticated criminal activity such as
credit card and check fraud, and organized retail crime.
The company relies heavily on exception-based reporting
and IP-based video solutions, with most of its stores
outfitted with video surveillance cameras that allow its
loss prevention team to view footage from laptops and
The results of h.h.gregg’s loss prevention strategies
are evidenced by the fact that regular write-offs for
missing products have been reduced by 50 percent. Loss
as a result of "return to vendor" and damaged items each
decreased by 10 percent. The company continues to focus
on the latter two areas, by having auditors research
touchpoints within the lifecycle of a product in order
to pinpoint where loss occurs.
With these landmark results, to what does h.h.gregg
attribute its loss prevention successes? "It’s all about
partnerships," Todd says.
How it Began
"Coming into the company seven years ago as the sole
loss prevention person, I knew I needed the help of
others to effect change," Todd explains. From the
get-go, he understood that building a successful loss
prevention function would require forming partnerships
with other internal team members around a common goal.
"My primary objectives were to create a safe work
environment for all our employees and to make the
company profitable," he says.
He also wanted to sell loss prevention as a win. "At the
time, the loss prevention profession as a whole was
viewed as police or guards. I wanted to change that
perception...so that we were looked at as professionals
who are a valued part of the business."
To that end, Todd reached out to h.h.gregg’s other
internal departments such as Human Resources,
Operations, Real Estate, Information Technology,
Marketing and Accounting. He wanted to understand their
goals in order to become a better business partner. "I
created the LP department to meet their needs, so we
could all be more successful," he says. "There’s no good
that comes from working against each other...it doesn’t
serve anyone well."
That’s not to say they always agree with each other.
There have been instances where the loss prevention team
has proposed a solution that another department may not
immediately agree with. "We once proposed clear plastic
boxes that some of our high-theft items could be housed
in on the sales floor," Todd cites. "Our buyers weren’t
so excited about this idea. Rather than force it on
them, we looked into other ideas, did some testing and
compromised on a solution we were all happy with."
The common goal approach at h.h.gregg has also
positioned the company to better utilize technological
advancements in LP.
"As we begin to rely more heavily on video and other
technologies, it helps that we have a long-standing
partnership with our IT department already in place,"
Cameras are used not only as an LP tool, but also as a
customer service tool and productivity tool.
In addition to video cameras and exception-based
reporting, h.h.gregg uses traditional burglar and fire
alarms to supplement their LP efforts, with Vector
Security as its preferred vendor for new locations. The
company is also piloting electronic article surveillance
products provided by Vector Security.
The Changing Landscape
Over the 14 years that Todd has been in the LP industry,
he has seen many changes. "LP is morphing into something
more than catching shoplifters," he explains. "It’s
becoming about taking a holistic approach and
understanding business challenges and objectives. It’s
about working together. At h.h.gregg our LP team is not
just the LP department and our immediate
interdepartmental partners. It includes all 7,000 people
who work here... who are all working toward a common
Vector Security Addresses
Changing LP Needs
As the provider of intelligent security solutions, our
goal at Vector Security is to help our customers be
successful. One way we do this is by advocating for, and
supporting them as new industry trends emerge.
One of these trends, as evidenced by h.h.gregg, is that
companies are taking a more holistic approach to loss
prevention. As new technologies become available, LP
departments are working closer than ever before with
their internal business partners to ensure success.
Vector Security recognizes the need to address this
change and we are poised to respond to the
landscape not only by offering the latest technologies
and analytics, but also by teaming with our customers to
form relationships at all levels within their respective