Online benchmarking tool enables retailers to understand how their shrinkage strategy is performing

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The ECR Shrinkage Group, with the support of merchandise availability solutions supplier for the retail industry, Checkpoint Systems, is launching an online Benchmarking Tool, which for the first time, enables retailers to understand how well they are managing shrinkage versus others and the relative strengths and opportunities of their loss prevention programme.

Based on extensive global research, the tool provides global benchmarks on the strategic, organisational and operational standards that underpin an effective shrink management strategy.

To access the benchmarking tool, retailers simply complete an online questionnaire. Once the responses have been entered, the tool generates a colour-coded model which highlights the areas of the shrinkage framework where they have strengths and then in turn, the areas that need to be prioritised.

The framework, shaped as a pyramid, focuses on ensuring that organisational commitment, starting with senior management, is embedded within a business’ practices, policies, procedures and strategic thinking. The objective is to provide a framework which ensures the creation of high quality data and data management systems, prioritising operational excellence, internal collaboration and innovation, as well as keeping shrinkage on the agenda throughout the company. Finally, the pyramid highlights the importance of empowering store staff to take responsibility for dealing with shrinkage and recognising how operational failures are the root causes of many forms of retail loss.

Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester, who developed the Benchmarking Tool for the ECR Europe Shrinkage Group, said: “The Tool was developed after extensive research with some of the leading retailers in the world and is designed to help organisations better understand how their businesses not only view the problem of shrinkage, but also help them to identify the key areas on which to focus to improve their overall performance’.”

Tim Butler, senior director international asset protection at Wal-Mart, said: “We used the tool in a planning and strategy session and it was absolutely superb. I would certainly recommend that other loss prevention professionals within the industry take advantage of this free and easy-to-use resource.”

Steve Hewitt, head of retail loss prevention at M&S, said: “My team has been using the tool and I can certainly see it forming the basis of a longer term plan in the future. It’s very easy to use, the questions are very useful and the comparative data is excellent.”

The benchmarking tool is free-of-charge and available to all retailers from any sector of the industry. It can be accessed at http://ecr-shrink-group.com/benchmarking-tool.

The next ECR Shrinkage Group meeting will take place at the Bacardi offices in Hamburg, Germany, on 19-20 March 2014. To register to attend, visit ecr-shrink-group.com/pages/membership