Five Key Benefits of Incident Management Software for the Retail Market
- By Brian McIlravey
- May 26, 2015
Retailers invest a tremendous amount of time and budget into their businesses, with the goal of generating as much revenue as possible. Unfortunately, their efforts are often hindered by losses related to theft, damage, or other factors. To address these challenges, many retailers and mall management companies have turned to incident management software to help bolster security.The following key benefits of incident management software help explain why.
- End-to-End Solution – Retailers face a barrage of security issues that range from shoplifting to employee theft to slip and fall claims, and each incident must be recorded and investigated. Use of incident management software enables security personnel to more effectively do their job of addressing these incident activities by providing the means for responding to, reporting on, and analyzing security events. These solutions can tie-in inventory and other safety and security systems such as access control, mass notification, and video management to provide the necessary tracking for mitigating and preventing losses.
- Ease of Use – From set up to use to maintenance, incident management software is designed for ease of use. Intuitive interfaces and simple navigation shorten the learning curve while pre-configured queries or custom reports offer on-the-spot answers. Streamlined tracking and reporting functions make investigations much more efficient and effective and allow retailers, even large grocery store chains, to pinpoint their highest frequency thefts and other losses per category, location, and time.
Reporting from the field is another equally convenient function enabled by incident management software. Security guards responding to an incident such as a slip-and-fall at a mall location can easily and immediately prepare and submit statements using a mobile device—including images captured from the scene. This capability saves the user from having to bring an individual back to the office to be interviewed or to file a hand-written report after the fact. The reports are archived and can be updated in real-time as new information becomes available and supervisors can access it at any point to follow the investigation.
- Investigative Tools – Accurate and timely information is a cornerstone for investigating and solving retail theft; state of the art incident management software provides a broad range of investigative tools for this. For example, in the event of a theft, management can remotely access and search archived video surveillance footage to view the suspects entering the store, see what aisles they browsed, what products they selected, how they concealed the goods, and how they exited the store. With incident management software, a storyboard can be created to determine how much inventory was stolen and how much, if any, was recovered.
- Actionable Information – The most robust solutions allow retailers to track incident types, timeframes in which incidents occur, locations (at a fine-detail level), and generate reports based on this data. This highly specific intelligence allows organizations to determine the security countermeasures they must implement related to specific items, locations, and other factors to reduce incident frequency and loss. Accumulated data from the incident management software can provide the ammunition to justify a request for further capital expenditures such as additional video surveillance cameras in the receiving area of a grocery store. Analyzing the data helps the user identify factors such as the top ten items that are stolen, the time of day or week that are most vulnerable, and how the incidents are spread out over time can all be clearly identified.
- Improved Operations – The collection of the various kinds of information to a single work group structure gives management a more complete overview and allows identification of problems such as security vulnerabilities or other operational issues. After this information is collated into the incident management solution—the security department can look at stores where there have been cash shortages and high shrink to determine patterns or trends related to stores, specific items, and more.
The data provided by the software serves as a highly valuable business tool to provide risk assessment via the analysis of incidents that affect daily operations and sales. With this knowledge retailers can develop and implement loss prevention and risk management programs or use as training tools to teach employees how to avert theft by recognizing certain behavioral traits.
Finally, follow up investigation or escalating the incident to case management has the capability to help reduce the consequences of any incidents and provide a single comprehensive case file that can be used for prosecution purposes. Generating reports that quantify incident prevention and item recovery helps security directors demonstrate the ROI of the technology itself.
Brian McIlravey is executive vice-president of PPM.