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Strategy for Loss Prevention at Walmart

Info: 1378 words (6 pages) Essay
Published: 17th Mar 2021 in Business Strategy

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Introduction

Big Box stores address losses in their stores every day. Through the deployment of security cameras and loss prevention officers, they have attempted to address and prevent theft. However, these thefts continue to occur and the cost of the items that have been stolen is passed onto the paying customers so that they can recoup their losses. The present way of preventing theft is not working, but changed can be implemented that would increase the likelihood of theft prevention, as well as, increasing the profits, reduce turnover, and fuel the desire of customers to return. The following plan in multifaceted and innovative.

The current nature of the organization and why creative measures can enhance its activities:

For the purpose of this paper Walmart will be discussed, as a specific Big Box store. The current nature of the organization is to utilize security cameras and loss prevention officers to dissuade theft. Recently, they have begun installing automatic gates at the entrances to prevent customers from exiting without having gone through a checkout lane. Many Walmart’s have reinstalled the self-checkout lanes, after removing them due to an increase in theft.

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The gates have led to confusion, many having been damaged within weeks of their installation due to customers forcing their way through. The self-checkout lanes are no different than they were years ago, with one employee to watch over four or more registers. In addition, there are never enough lanes open for those who do not want to utilize the self-checkouts. Creative solutions are needed because customers are not satisfied with the current practices being put into place and theft is still occurring.

The strategic plan for altering the organization, infusing theory and concepts, as well as, explaining the tactical mechanics of change:

Strategy and tactics go hand in hand. The strategy is to reduce theft, increase profit, reduce turnover, and increase customer satisfaction. The tactics are how this will be accomplished. However, in order to do this the company will need to invest the funds in order to reap the financial benefits from it later. The first wave of change be the application of Peter Drucker’s theory of management. Drucker’s theory stated that all employees should feel valued and empowered and that those in leadership positions within a company/organization should have good character so that they can act as role models for subordinates (Turriago-Hoyos, Thoene, & Arjoon, 2016). This means that an increase in cashiers at registers needs to occur, on a daily basis. In addition, when there are not enough cashiers, managers should be seen working at the registers so that the cashiers feel valued and that their work is important.

Secondly, Walmart must learn from experience in order to grow in a positive manner (Stouten, Rousseau, & De Cremer, 2018). Implementing an idea that has already been used in the past, and failed, is not learning from experience. Self-checkouts create the perfect opportunity for thefts to occur, especially when the cashier that is supposed to be watching them is helping a customer, and their attention is not on their monitor. Removing the self-checkouts and reinvesting that money in hiring more cashiers would help reduce theft.

Thirdly, RFID technology is now cost-effective. By placing a small RFID chip on every product, and combining that with the RFID detectors (at the checkout) would help alert loss prevention to thefts occurring, at distances farther from the exits of the store. This may mean that the register areas need to be redesigned in order for it to be implemented. RFID chips would allow the cashier to see if any product they scan does not have one, in addition, they can be deactivated once they are scanned. Any that are not will set off the alarm once the customer goes through.

Fourthly, the carts can be modified so that if the RFID alarm is set off, the wheels are disabled so that they cannot be pushed until they are reactivated by management. These changes will require a sizable investment to be made by Walmart. However, the money the changes save will offset the financial investment it takes to create and deploy all the technology needed to bring these ideas to fruition. Each of these steps are considered the tactics of the overall strategy.

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One should also keep in mind that all businesses will need to examine possible changes that need to be made due to the needs of the consumer. For example, Millennials are now in their thirties, the oldest of them are now forty. They desire a different shopping experience than the one their parents wanted. One desire that this new generation of consumers wants is for companies/organizations to treat their employees well (Cognizant, 2017).

The expected results and timeline in making a difference:

The expected results are that theft will decrease substantially and employees will have a lower turnover rate. Each of these steps will save Walmart money in the long run, in addition, it would help with their public relations. Many have a negative view of Walmart, for a myriad of reasons. Some of those reasons include poor treatment of their employees and longer lines as the result of not having enough registers open.

There are nearly 5,000 Walmart stores just in the United States alone. In order to implement these changes, one could expect a reasonable deployment timeline of eighteen to twenty-four months. The length is takes to implement these changes is dependent on the desire of the company. If Walmart so desired they could shorten the timeframe for implementation by encouraging regional managers to fast track the changes. The utilization of the regional managers would also be utilizing Drucker’s theory, because he encouraged the idea that all employees should work together towards a common goal (Turriago-Hoyos, Thoene, & Arjoon, 2016).

In addition to the physical changes that must occur at brick and mortar stores, it would be wise for Walmart to engage in a public relations campaign, in print, commercials and digitally. This PR campaign should highlight the fact that changes are being made to help Walmart better serve the communities they are located within. This will encourage shoppers to bring their business to them, but it will also encourage those seeking employment to apply for open positions.

Conclusion

Walmart is a household name, but it is also one that inspires anger and frustration to many. If Walmart implemented these changes they would not only help themselves by reducing theft, but they would also begin to build much needed trust with their customers and their employees. There are voids in communities that Big Box stores have created by causing smaller stores to close because they could not compete, but, they should not take advantage of their employees or their customers, because there are other buying options, more show up every day, especially thanks to the internet. Change must start from the top down. However, if the employees on the lowest rung feel valued and important, it will help every other employee all the way back up the ladder to the CEO themselves.

References

  • Bayraktar, A., Yilmaz, E., & Erdem, S. (2011). Using RFID Technology for Simplification of Retail Processes. In C. Turcu, Designing and Deploying RFID Applications (pp. https://www.intechopen.com/books/designing-and-deploying-rfid-applications/using-rfid-technology-for-simplification-of-retail-processes).
  • Cognizant. (2017). The Ropad to 2025: Retail Reimagined. Cognizant, cognizant.com/whitepages/the-road-to-2025-retail-reimagined-codex2540.pdf.
  • Stouten, J., Rousseau, D. M., & De Cremer, D. (2018). Successful Organizational Change: Integrating the Management Practice and Scholarly Literatures. The Academy of Management Annals, 12(2).
  • Turriago-Hoyos, A., Thoene, U., & Arjoon, S. (2016). Knowledge Workers and Virtues in Peter Drucker's Management Theory. SAGE Open, https://doi.org/10.117/2158244016639631.

 

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