People working in retail know the term “shrink.” It refers to a store’s loss of inventory through accident or theft. Causes of retail shrink include shoplifting, employee theft, administrative mistakes, and return fraud. A loss prevention manager oversees all efforts to reduce shrink, from stronger security measures to training employees on best practices for loss prevention.

While catching shoplifters is what most associate with loss prevention management, the job focuses on potential ways to protect company assets and increase profitability. Loss prevention management is a unique job requiring a specific skill set. It’s also increasingly important in the world of retail.

Graduates of NMU’s Global Campus Loss Prevention Management program emerge with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this challenging business area.

Loss Prevention Managers Do More Than Prevent Theft

Preventing theft is a key component of a loss prevention manager’s job. But the career field includes many other facets that focus on reducing company losses. The field is growing as more companies see its value, according to The Balance.

A loss prevention manager oversees many aspects of security and safety. They include cash theft (often by employees), inventory control, security access violations, and damage to products, equipment, and facilities. On any given day on the job, a loss prevention manager may:

  • Investigate alleged and actual theft, violations of policy, and compliance issues
  • Coordinate and communicate with management about loss prevention issues
  • Perform audits to ensure employees properly process, handle, and monitor inventory
  • Develop loss prevention policies
  • Train staff in the best practices for reducing shrink
  • Minimize financial losses due to theft, vandalism, accident, and injury
  • Work as needed with local law enforcement, state attorneys, and other government officials

Loss prevention managers also need strong computer skills. Forbes reports that retailers increasingly use advanced software to detect loss prevention. It’s a necessary step as shrink losses totaled more than $61 billion in 2019. Data analysis, for example, helps retailers better determine when, where, and how specific items go missing.

An Example of Loss Prevention Management in a Large Retail Chain

As the retail industry evolves with innovative technology, so do the skills needed by loss prevention managers. A recent job posting from the Publix supermarket chain provides insight into how big loss prevention has become.

The posting lists the various loss prevention departments for Publix, which operates 1,284 stores in seven states and has $38.1 billion in annual sales. They include divisional teams with loss prevention managers and officers, regional specialists, regional auditors, and administrative staff working together to “manage shrink, monitor safety, develop leads, and collect evidence.” Support teams oversee facility traffic control and access.

At the corporate level, a loss prevention management team oversees employee training and coaching on loss prevention. They also develop and analyze metrics used to measure loss, lead strategic project management, play a key role in loss prevention policy development, and oversee corporate investigations and organized retail crime investigations.

Why such an investment in loss prevention? The Publix loss prevention department investigates more than 35,000 cases every year, ranging from vandalism to embezzlement. In addition to stores, the team also oversees inventory and shrink assessments at the chain’s 39 distribution and manufacturing facilities.

NMU Global Campus Loss Prevention Management Degree

NMU Global Campus offers an online Loss Prevention Management bachelor’s degree program designed for traditional and non-traditional students. NMU offers the degree online and provides students the flexibility to further their education while maintaining professional and personal obligations.

The program continually evolves to keep up with changes in loss prevention best practices. NMU accomplishes this through instructors who have experience in the industry, as well as through graduates who provide the latest information on the most current loss prevention threats and trends.

Students in the program learn management theory and how to apply it in real-world situations. They also develop skills in investigative techniques and learn best practices for applying data analytics to loss prevention.

Loss prevention is a fascinating career field that continues to grow. Those who aspire to excel in this unique career can take the first step toward their career goals by earning a bachelor’s degree in Loss Prevention Management.