Technology moves fast. Think about the number of technologies converging on the business world at once: mobile, Big Data, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, the list goes on.
Now, real-time data is playing an increasingly important role in business. Why? Because real-time tools provide immediate insight into the health of a business and allow decisions to be made in a snap. Not tomorrow or next week, but now.
For this reason, real-time data is no longer a device used solely by the IT crowd, but is increasingly important to business as a whole. In fact, a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, entitled, Driving a data-centric culture, The Leadership Challenge, states that, “Embracing data as a corporate asset – and a source of competitive advantage – is not just a ‘good idea’ that companies should consider. Such adoption will help determine the winners and losers across multiple markets and industries in the future.”
But where can this data make the most impact or drive the most efficiencies? Of course, for many years retailers have been using data to track real-time stock levels to help improve their supply chain processes. Finance teams from retailers and restaurants alike benefit from a real-time view of their sales by plugging into their Point of Sale (POS) systems. Even HR departments are jumping aboard the real-time train. But the same can’t easily be said for loss prevention.
When it comes to real-time data, loss prevention teams are late to the party…
Loss prevention technology helps LP personnel minimize the amount of shrink a company experiences from employee theft, shoplifting or even administrative errors.
The last significant loss prevention technology revolution took place more than 50 years ago. This was when Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags were introduced to help businesses battle shoplifting. Since that time, thieves got smarter and learned to circumvent EAS tags; and manufacturers tried to outsmart the thieves and stay a step ahead.
More recently, LP teams have started using live facial recognition software, which provides automatic identification of a face in a crowd. Using a video-based recognition system, this facial recognition technology sends real-time alerts that allow you to take action quickly when a crook enters your store.
And then there’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which use electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to objects. Merchants use RFIDs to track items through the store – and toward the door. By thwarting would-be shoplifters from stealing, they’ve become proactive.
Although LP teams are increasingly using surveillance technology tools, such as those mentioned, many are woefully behind when it comes to capturing a holistic view of shrink. LP personnel aren’t always addressing cash loss and theft at the point of sale. They are proactive in one area and reactive in another.
In truth, most cash-loss investigations occur after the fact and are therefore reactive. But that is changing for the better as real-time data becomes more prevalent in loss prevention technology. More progressive LP teams are proactively taking an all-inclusive view of cash loss by implementing real-time data into the mix. By using a combination of real-time data tools, they are stopping theft before it happens.
Intelligent cash drawers – such as LiveDrawer – count and track the physical cash in a register (not just what the POS thinks should be in the drawer) in real-time.
The live, remote reporting it provides means that cashier mistakes can be flagged and corrected instantly. The temptation for employees to steal money from the till is reduced significantly; plus, the exception-based reporting and real-time data generated from LiveDrawer can be used to spot trends, investigate discrepancies and even improve and standardize cash management processes.
LiveDrawer automatically alerts managers when skims are needed or when change is running low. This intelligent cash drawer even allows them to create detailed reports; and pinpoints exactly when, where and what time an overage/shortage occurred – and by whom.
To sum it up, LiveDrawer can virtually eliminate cash loss at the source. Giving LP teams a proactive (rather than reactive) exception-based reporting solution to reducing cash loss across their business.
As loss prevention technology evolves and the importance of real-time data is recognized, businesses are adapting and even driving positive change. The benefits of real-time cash management data are innumerable: less shrink, a reduction in theft, less time handling cash and more time with customers. Real-time visibility of cash – from anywhere and accessed anytime – revolutionizes the way in which business is conducted.
IT, Loss Prevention, Operations and even Finance are working together to implement real-time cash management technology and in doing so, are helping increase the bottom line. They need this real-time data not only to survive, but to thrive.
For detailed information on the real-time cash management tools available, read our Cash Management Jungle Ebook. Download it today to find the right tool for your specific needs.
3 ways Loss Prevention teams can improve cash security