tSCG’s Transaction Monitoring Program
Are you a retailer looking to implement what has traditionally been called an Exception Based Reporting (EBR) tool that takes in Point of Sale (POS) data for your Loss Prevention (Asset Protection) department? Are you maybe even wondering why you should consider doing so? Or possibly you are already past the vendor selection process and thinking you may need help with implementation. You could be a retailer looking for guidance on how to optimize the results of your implementation. Whatever place you are currently in, the Stores Consulting Group can help you and maybe, help you in ways you may not have known.
Our Transaction Monitoring (TM) program is a holistic solution encompassing very specific data analytics across many of a retailer’s data silos. We call it TM as we believe that retailers need to think about data analytics as much more than EBR and POS data but an endless opportunity to integrate many pieces of data across your enterprise into one solution. It involves the integration and execution of analytic processes, people support, and product capabilities to capture and sustain benefits year over year. Our program is multi-step in nature including a critical pre-installation diagnosis, complete product and process implementation, and comprehensive post installation activities such as change management and training.
It is no big reveal that data analytics has captivated the minds of many businesses these days including retailers and their respective loss prevention professionals. For years, retailers have implemented data analytic software applications that have helped them manage data from various sources across their organizations. The vendors that have been supporting retailers in the Transaction Monitoring space have been creating wonderful applications for quite a while (think Shrink Trax). So even today, while many of the vendors have changed, the need to have actionable data for a retailer is significant. And at the same time, the need to know what to do with it has become mission critical.
The Stores Consulting Group supports retailers in many different services. With regards to TM, we offer a life cycle of services from building a technology roadmap to vendor selection, from defining data needs to data validation, and from go-live training and rollout to success measurement. If you think of the software application as the car’s engine, then tSCG is the car, the driver, the road, and the navigation system.
Let’s revisit the start of our conversation and try to help answer some foundational but highly important questions surrounding Transaction Monitoring.
Why do I need or should I consider implementing a TM application? A TM tool is critical in several ways but in its basic form it will help you provide actionable data to your team surrounding inventory loss, sales decline, process deterioration, margin erosion, and profit recovery opportunities. In many regards, users can view the data that comes from the tools of the trade in running a store including our registers (POS) and handheld devices (such as Motorola) used for receiving goods at the back door from our warehouse or vendor, changing product disposition (marking down, damages, spoilage), or accounting for inventory on the shelf throughout the day (cycle counts and adjustments). The TM tool acts as a central repository for this data and the actionability is created through linking the data between the systems with common organizational and/or product hierarchies. In turn, weaving the data threads to store behaviors helps retailers close the loop on inefficient and broken processes and fraudulent activities.
What is the best TM tool in the market today? There are many tools available that will help a retailer achieve their goals for providing data analytics to their loss prevention/asset protection businesses. tSCG will help you match your current and future needs with a specific vendor through our vendor selection process. We are a neutral organization with no financial ties to a vendor. By fully understanding your requirements we can help you make the choice that is right for your organization. We know the players in the industry and have good working relationships with all of them.
Where should I start in terms of bringing data into a tool for analytics? We have a very specific order in which we believe a retailer should use to set themselves up for success immediately as well as setting a strong foundation for the future. The first data capture phase should be POS data. Point of Sale data is the foundation that all future data will build upon. Through POS, retailers will get foundational data such as sales dollars, transaction counts, and items sold. This data and aggregates of it will help retailers build key performance indicators (KPI) that will lead to actionable insights for your analyst and field teams. Just those three data points themselves will help you build simple sales KPI such as Dollars per Customer (DPC), Dollars per Item (DPI), and Items per Customer (IPC). Our team will help you build out very specific data models, actionable KPI, and scorecard and performance reporting that are unique to your retail business. As part of our program we will also lay out a technology roadmap that includes a 3 to 5 year vision for data inclusion from many of the critical data source points in a store and at corporate.
How do I maximize tool usage? Getting the most out of your tool requires a very specific blueprint that tSCG has developed. It involves the marriage of a strong people development infrastructure with sound process methodology. Determining the right product (tool) is only one third of the complete puzzle. There needs to be a strong leadership presence in place to achieve success. Someone with a vision for how things should be completed over the course of the next 3 – 5 years including their team of managers and analysts and their overall strategy and vision. tSCG will help define the organizational hierarchy that will be essential for short term success and long term growth. The third piece to the puzzle is designing a process methodology which encompasses a variety of attributes including:
- Creation of key performance indicators and data models
- Development of performance reporting, executive scorecard and reporting cadences
- Design of benefit scorecard and respective cadence
- Building correlation data models and implementing fundamental data outlier strategies
- Setting usage standards for corporate and field
- Construct investigative pathing for case sourcing, development, and completion
- Build analyst and field on-going training certification programs
- Consider modifying physical inventory take program
These are just a few important pieces that need to be considered when designing a process around a data analytics tool. Our team will help you create a unique and sustainable methodology for your team.
How do I measure success? When implementing an analytical tool, many retail professionals are challenged by their executives to isolate the value of their technology implementations. And many loss prevention/asset protection leaders will automatically go to case closures and admission values to create their value propositions. As this also may have been how the leaders received their budget funding at the outset, it wouldn’t seem incorrect.
When putting all the pieces together in a technology implementation as described above, the value proposition will be much greater than case values. Our team will help you build return on investment scorecards that will be key for your measurement standards. Retailers should see a myriad of tangible benefits including sales lift, profit enhancement, and improvement in inventory loss. Building a strong portfolio of financial success will go a long way for LP leadership to continue to move their technology vision to the next phase.