A newly developed approach to loss prevention is helping to also improve cost control in previously overlooked process areas, writes Glynn Davis of RetailInsider.com
Introducing Enterprise Business Assurance (EBA) software into the UK is an objective of WeDo Technologies, which broadens out loss prevention to encompass cost control across all parts of a retailer's business.
This is a new approach and one that has proved very valuable to Sonae Retail
in Portugal, which initially developed this new concept in-house. It is now working with WeDo to market it to other retailers around the globe to add the likes of duty free retailer Dufry
in Brazil to its user base.
Process control prevents losses
Speaking at the Retail Big Show 2014
, organised by the US National Retail Federation
(NRF) in New York this week, Maria Jose Goncalves, retail director at WeDo Technologies, told RetailTechnology.co.uk: "There are [software] companies that do loss prevention involving transactions in stores, whereas we try to control all processes -- including the store, returns and the supply chain. For this we've created the concept of EBA."
Built on a core RAID software framework, the WeDo system enables retailers to plug in alerts relating to different areas of their businesses where they are looking to introduce some control. "Retailers can add more and more controls onto the enterprise tool. So for returns, they can add detection of fraud in customer returns, and detection of fraud from cashiers."
But, for WeDo, the control of costs is the real focus and loss prevention is an inevitable component of this. For Sonae, Goncalves revealed that huge returns were achieved by focusing on the costs involved with things like its mobile phone contracts, its fleet of cars and the travel costs of its employees.
It also sought to control the costs relating to its loyalty card and the contracts it had in place with its many suppliers. "It's all about lots of small processes and the costs and revenues involved with them. Our technology gives retailers the opportunity to look at where the vulnerabilities might be. Using the platform makes it easy to develop new controls," she explained.
Although each of the controls and associated alerts require code to be specifically written for each new client, the same methodologies apply as those created for Sonae, Dufry and other WeDo clients.
Prioritising process improvement
Goncalves added that investments in software associated with loss prevention can often be overlooked as IT departments typically look for more "sexy" places to put their budgets such as social media, multichannel integration and big data. But she also argued that this should be addressed as there is a strong argument for retailers to "focus on the basics".
In addition, she highlighted that the EBA concept arguably utilises big data as its controls rely on myriad data inputs from retailers' businesses.
As well as the UK, WeDo Technologies is also targeting the markets of the US, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.