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Thought Challenge 3-15-13


What We Can Learn From The Dodo Bird

By Brandon Brown, CFI
Regional Loss Prevention Manager

The Dodo bird of the 17th century, was actually a winged creature that did not have the ability to fly. Some attribute its inability to fly to food source abundance. Over time, it was that inability that contributed to the animals scarce population levels and ultimately it’s extinction. An animal that got too comfortable and complacent. Sounds familiar.

The landscape of the Loss Prevention industry is changing quickly. So quickly, that if we are not currently preparing for the changes, we will become extinct as well. Today we face an economic climate that is responsible for swallowing music stores, book stores, and neighborhood businesses. It’s sights squarely upon more of the services and companies we have grown accustomed to. The US Postal Service recently announced an end to its Saturday delivery service and is feverishly treading water, with electronic mail delivery and private shipping entities favored by most. Change is inevitable, and we see it everyday across all industries. As loss prevention professionals, we work for public and private corporations, for franchisees, for family owned small businesses, for financial organizations, etc. Regardless of the type or size, these organizations must continue to adapt and evolve or they will otherwise eliminate themselves from the market. But this not only applies to the organizations themselves, but to us individually and collectively as loss prevention professionals. Preparedness ensures survival.

Gone are the days of solely relying on what you think you do best. Interviewing, investigating, auditing, training, etc. These are things that all loss prevention professionals should be proficient at, but in today’s climate, technology and ingenuity have paved the way to instant information access as well as outsourcing opportunities. Solution providers that offer more for less. Take the small business owner for example. He needs a solution to his loss prevention problems. But why should he hire you? Maybe he needs to create an audit, there’s now an “app” for that. Perhaps he needs an interviewer, he can hire one among the hoards that are available a la carte, or better yet, he can take a webinar for less than what he pays in dry cleaning per month and learn the craft himself. He may need a restitution or civil demand solution, in which case he can secure a vendor or read up on the laws in his state and do it himself. Perhaps he needs an investigation completed? There are hundreds of investigative consultants ready to answer his call and for a fraction of the price of what a full time loss prevention professional would cost. On-boarding, awareness training, coaching, inventory management, etc. The list goes on and on. We live in an information rich age. If problems exist, owners and company executives can learn the solution to that problem themselves, or outsource it at a reasonable cost. These options aren’t limited to small business. The same learning opportunities or outsourcing options are available for large corporations as well, lets not be naïve. The time is now, to integrate yourself into the wave of change, and to add value to not only your organization, but to yourself.

Now before all the independent consultants and vendors start to get comfortable, realize that the evolution of technology will affect you as well. With technological advances, comes a hunger for automation. Most business professionals value time as much as they do money. If you’re a consultant, why should they employ your services , often time consuming and cumbersome, when there’s a faster, cheaper way of getting the information they need through technology and networking? If you’re a technology solutions provider, how relevant will your product be in 3 years? If you think your business is sustainable for the long haul without constant evolution and adaptation, your mistaken. Pay homage to the VHS recorder on your way out.

I, as you, need to be concerned, stay focused, and evolve. I understand that more needs to be done to diversify my skill set. To add value to my organization and myself, above and beyond the task oriented fundamentals that we as loss prevention professionals are built upon. But since this is a thought challenge, then I challenge you to think. Are you learning a new skill? Training yourself in the latest technology? Investing in your continuing education? Learning other sides of the business? Are you exploring your own business ventures, or pursuing your own dreams? Stop putting it off until tomorrow. That day may never come. Somewhere, a 15 year old computer prodigy is creating the next big thing to replace what you provide for your company. I suggest diversifying your skill set before he or she secures a domain name. As the Dodo bird has shown us, becoming complacent, comfortable and naïve will certainly end in our extinction. Lets start a loss prevention evolution, shall we?

Think big.

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