Eye Tracking for Business Success Demo

first_imgIf you’re interested in learning about eye tracking and are in the downtown Detroit area next Tuesday, January 14 between 9:00am and 10:30am, drop by the Compuware Building for a demo and chance to try out an eye tracker.Jon West, director of marketing and opportunities for LC Technologies, will be available to demo their eye tracking equipment and answer your questions. This is a great opportunity to observe as well as use the equipment. I’m not sure what equipment Jon will be using to demo eye tracking next week, but here’s a demo of LC Technologies NYAN 2.0 product: If you’re not familiar with eye tracking, it’s the process of of measuring where someone is looking, including the point of gaze (where someone is looking) and the motion of the eye. From the event announcement:Eye trackers have come of age and have grown to be an extremely usable, reliable, and popular complement in the data collection and analysis of market research, usability testing, and other activities that test and predict consumer and customer behavior, and that facilitate the design of products that range from software to websites to mobile apps to automobile controls and displays to assistance for people with disabilities.The demo will be held at the Airea Studio, located next to the waterfall and Texas de Brazil restaurant on the ground floor of the Compuware Building. Additional info can be found on the event page.Thanks to my friend Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus for organizing this drop-in event. If you want to learn more about the future of eye tracking, be sure to register for Jon’s presentation the evening of January 14, Beyond the Heat Map: The Future of Eye Tracking, hosted by the Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association/Michigan Computer Human Interaction groups at Cengage Learning. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedTakeaways from Demystifying Eye Tracking for UX ResearchAt today’s User Experience Professionals Association webinar, Laura Rivera shared her lessons learned from eye tracking research. Rivera is a user experience (UX) researcher at Facebook and has been instrumental in getting their eye tracking capabilities fine-tuned for mobile. Here are my takeaways from her presentation. Why You Should Use…In “User experience”January 2014 Web Professional and User Experience EventsLast September I started publishing a monthly user experience and web professionals events calendar for southeastern Michigan. I admit I didn’t keep up with posting the calendar each month. So, it’s a new year. With plans to do better in 2014, here’s the January calendar of events in southeastern Michigan:…In “Calendar”January 10, 2014: Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development ResourcesThankfully, the snowstorm and deep freeze in southeastern Michigan is finally over. We had so much snow in our area I had to change from a ruler to a yardstick to measure it. Hope you made it through the first full week of the New Year without any issues. In…In “Web design & development links”last_img read more

Continue reading

Ethiopia beckons intrepid travellers

first_imgThe view from Imet Gogo near Geech camp, Semien Mountains near Ras Dashan. Bet Giyorgis, one of the mysterious cross-shaped churches hewn out of rock at Lalibela. A view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, from the Sheraton hotel. Crowds gather at the Fasiladas’ bath in Gondar, Ethiopia, to celebrate Timket – the Epiphany for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. (Images: Wikipedia)Samson Mulugeta Still stuck on the image of Ethiopia as a land of war and famine? Think again.These are the little-known facts about this Horn of Africa nation: it is the third most populous country in Africa at 74 million, is twice the size of France, and the climate in the highland capital of Addis Ababa is more akin to Johannesburg than nearby sweltering Khartoum, Sudan.After the ousting of a military dictator nearly two decades ago, Ethiopia has been one of the most stable countries in an African region home to such failed states as Somalia or rogue states such as Sudan, with its crisis in Darfur.But the current Ethiopian government is functional and thriving only in comparison to others in its neighborhood. Its human rights record has been criticised by the US State Department and the nation’s last election, in 2005, was marred by violence and irregularities.Despite these setbacks, Ethiopia has shown steady economic improvement in the last decade, including in the tourism sector, and is one of the world’s least-explored gems.To travellers and students of history, Ethiopia is a magical and enchanting land because of its vivid, uninterrupted connection to antiquity and the larger canvas of recorded human history.  Archeological finds have pointed to Ethiopia as the birth place of the oldest Homo sapiens. Pre-Christian Ethiopia was a major player during antiquity – the Old Testament mentions Ethiopia dozens of times.  Ethiopia’s ancient empire extended on both sides of the Red Sea – Ethiopian kings frequently ruled over south Arabia. Around the time of the birth of Christ, Ethiopia was a centre of commerce and learning along with Egypt, Persia and Greece.“Ethiopia always had a special place in my imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined,” Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. “I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.”With Axum at its capital, in what is now Tigray Province, Ethiopia’s recorded history dates back to 1 000 years before the birth of Christ.Its founding mythology is still steadfastly held by many modern Ethiopians, that a union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba begat a royal line that extended from Menelik I to Haile Selassie, whose reign was overthrown in 1974.Ethiopians believe that the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets of the 10 commandments, are kept at Mount Zion church in the ancient capital of Axum, guarded by a priest sworn never to leave the premises.Ethiopians have a unique alphabet dating back 2 000 years, rooted in the Gee’ez language which remains the language of the church while Amharic evolved into the people’s language, with a linguistic kinship akin to Latin and English.  Ethiopians keep time in a unique manner, counting the start of the day with one at daybreak (or what would be 7am in Western timekeeping) and ending it with 12 at sundown and then starting with one again. The Coptic calendar is also different. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar and is marked its second millennium this last year, seven-and-a-half years after the Western calendar.The only African nation to avoid colonisation, Ethiopia was an inspiration to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, and the Rastafarians who idolized Ras Teferi, who was later crowned as Haile Selassie.  Other intriguing aspects of Ethiopia’s heritage include it’s Jewish population (now almost entirely transplanted to Israel), its early acceptance of Christianity in 400 AD (before England, for example, became Christian) and  its veneration by the Prophet Mohammad, who exempted it from jihad, leaving Ethiopia an island of Christianity in a sea of Islam.Ethiopia is even the birthplace of that morning picker-upper the world cannot do without, coffee, whose name derives from Kefa, the region where it was first discovered, according to legend, by a goatherd named Kaldi.The ancient capital Axum, with its towering obelisks and royal tombs anchors one of the three legs of Ethiopia’s northern “historic route.” After invading and occupying Ethiopia from 1935 to 1941, fascist leader Benito Mussolini broke one of the obelisks into three pieces and shipped it to Italy. It was returned to Ethiopia recently after decades of lobbying by the Ethiopian government.The castles of Gonder are the second stop of the historic tour. Gonder was Ethiopia’s capital from 1635 to 1855 and is home to castles built by Emperor Fasilidas, a network of stone structures featuring sauna baths and lion cages.The final and arguably most stunning example of Ethiopia’s former glory is Lalibela, a mountain village in the highlands of Wello Province that pays homage to a sophisticated civilisation that saw itself as the embodiment of a new holy land.  King Lalibela, who had supposedly visited the holy land before he embarked on his building project, wanted to create a new Jerusalem. The stream flowing between the churches is named the River Jordan and the adjoining hill is known locally as Mount of Olives.Heading north from Addis Ababa, the capital, the first thing visitors see from the air as they approach the historic village is Lalibela’s most famous icon, the House of St George, the cross-shaped church.On a towering plateau formed by molten volcanic rock, St. George squats, carved into the rock as if by a giant hand wielding a laser-like surgical tool. It is in the shape of a cross, cut into the rock in a 12-by-12-metre trench, and is formed out of a single seamless rock.  The engineering marvel of churches’ design remains a mystery to this day. The precision, sophistication and astounding scale of the building have defied easy explanation by archeologists and historians. Ethiopian legend has it they were built in 24 years with the help of angels. Modern historians believe the churches took about 100 years to build.Lalibela has remained a living monument, to this day used as a place of worship by thousands of pilgrims who arrive from near and far.The Lalibela churches are among the World Heritage List, a selection of manmade and natural attractions judged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to be of such universal value that they ”should be preserved for all time.”The Lalibela churches are, according to Unesco “a remarkable coupling of engineering and architecture and a unique artistic achievement.”It has astounded every visitor who came upon them, including Portuguese priest Francisco Alvares, the first European to visit Lalibela, in 1512.“I weary of writing more about these buildings,” he wrote. “Because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more.”Several airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, fly to Addis Ababa regularly from destinations around the world. There are daily flights from Addis Ababa to Lalibela. Flights on a fleet of turboprops from Addis Ababa-Gonder-Lalibela-Axum “historic route” costs US$400.Trips to Lalibela are best during the colorful festivals of Timkat (Epiphany, January 19) or Meskel Finding of the True Cross, September 27). However, flights and accommodation tend to be fully booked so planning ahead is essential during for visits during those events.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comRelated articlesMount Mabu yields hidden bounty A holiday – in Zimbabwe? The treasures of Afrika House Saving priceless African history Biggest nature park in the world Useful linksEthiopian Airlines Lonely Planet – Ethiopia Ethiopian Tourism MediaEthiopia CyberEthiopialast_img read more

Continue reading

Free trade talks point to new African era

first_img7 December 2011An important process that started three years ago will begin to move forward this week as the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade area covering 27 countries in east and southern Africa kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.It is envisaged that negotiations for the proposed free trade area (FTA), which promises to be an important instrument for the future of trade and industrialisation in Africa, will be completed in about 36 months.The three trade blocs involved – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – decided in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 to move towards a free trade agreement.Boosting intra-regional trade, industrialisationThe intention is to boost intra-regional trade. Because the market will be much bigger, there will be more investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure.At the same time, the FTA will act as a spur to industrialisation, as countries move from selling primary products to making goods to sell.Competition with older, established and also bigger emerging economies might be a stumbling block initially, but the huge new market may make it possible for locally manufactured goods to compete with those imported from outside the FTA.With close to 600-million people live within the FTA, and a combined gross domestic product of $1-trillion, the region could find itself competing in the same league as the likes of China, India, Russia, Brazil, the US and the EU.The next economic frontierAnd it is becoming easier to make the world believe this, because the continent is already being touted as the next economic frontier.A glance at some figures confirms this view:Africa’s combined consumer spending was US$860-billion in 2008, and will be an estimated $1.4-trillion in 2020. With 43% of Africans currently under the age of 15, by 2040 there will be 1.1-billion Africans of working age.  Urbanisation enhances growth – Africa already has 52 cities with more than a million inhabitants, more than Europe. By 2030, around fifty percent of Africa’s populationi will be living in cities.  Africa’s returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are the highest in the world. South Africa well placed to benefitSouth Africa, with its advanced and sophisticated economy, is best suited to exploit the advantages offered by such an expanded market.Already, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has rated South Africa first in the world for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards and for the regulation of its securities exchanges. The soundness of the country’s banks – rated second in the world – is an important asset these days when banks everywhere else are shaky.Add the certainty offered by the government’s recently announced National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s path until 2030, and it is clear that South Africa’s competitiveness will only be enhanced by the establishment of an African FTA.South Africa’s fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all started their upward economic trend based on huge domestic markets. With the establishment of an FTA, South Africa will have access a market 12 times bigger than the 50-million domestic customers it now has.Tough negotiations expectedHowever, the road to setting up the FTA could be a rocky one. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that negotiations over industrial policy could be tough. South Africa has just set out to implement its Industrial Policy Action Plan, and talks around the trade in manufactured goods will be of particular concern.But South Africa does have an advantage. As Davies points out, unlike exports to the rest of the world, a high percentage of exports into Africa are already made up of value-added products.Other problems would be the levels of protectionism between African countries, restrictive trade permit needs, and very obvious economic disparities.Additionally, the fact that three existing trade blocs aim to merge into one is a stumbling block as they are at different levels of integration, with different rules and regulations.All of this will be part of the negotiations that start this week.The fact remains that economic growth in all participating countries will be boosted by increased intra-regional trade. For Africa as a whole, intra-regional trade currently stands at only 12% of all cross-border trade, whereas in Asia the figure is rising toward 50%, and in the European Union towards 80%.The FTA would also be an important building block towards achieving the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 – a continent-wide African Economic Union.The December talks may be the first concrete sign of Africa rising to take its rightful place in the world.Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

Continue reading

Reconciliation Day: Time to join hands in the spirit of Ubuntu

first_imgJeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and EvaluationReconciling and uniting people who lived as adversaries for many years was always going to be a painful and difficult task. Reconciliation affects every aspect of our life as a country. It is not a once-off event, but a process. It demands that we work together and look beyond our differences. This is the legacy our founding father and former president Nelson Mandela left us with.On 16 December this year we observed National Reconciliation Day without Madiba for the second time, but his legacy of a united and prosperous country lives on in each and every one of us. Tata was laid to rest on 15 December 2013 and we honoured his memory a day later with the unveiling of a nine-metre statue at the Union Buildings. He, along with other leaders, made enormous sacrifices for our country. Some paid with their lives so that we may be free and celebrate this day.Together they achieved the impossible by convincing those who did not see eye to eye prior to 1994 to find each other and work towards building a country based on the values of our Constitution. Our Constitution lays the foundation for an open society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights and is regarded around the world as very progressive.December 16 is used to foster reconciliation and national unity in the true spirit of our late icon as he had envisaged at the start of our democracy. It also serves as a reminder of how far we have come in uniting the country and of the challenges that still lie ahead. This year’s commemoration under the theme: “Social Cohesion, Reconciliation and National Unity in the 20 years of Democracy” coincides with South Africa celebrating 20 Years of Freedom.As a nation, we have come a long way in healing the wounds of the past and in building an inclusive society. The government has over the last 20 years provided leadership in creating an enabling environment for achieving this. It successfully laid the foundation for the removal of obstacles that divided our people on the basis of race, culture, religion or language.As part of our reconciliation we began to ensure the equal spread of national resources. The government started to provide basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity, houses, health and education for those who were deprived prior to 1994.Reconciliation also required government to tackle the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. We have taken decisive steps to promote the economic growth through the implementation of the National Development Plan, the National Infrastructure Plan, the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.But the task of reconciling a nation is not merely the duty of government alone but a societal responsibility. Through our collective effort and perseverance that we can achieve the social harmony former President Nelson Mandela spoke about and are able to advance national reconciliation. As citizens we need to reach out to each other and break down the barriers that still define us 20 years into our democracy.We need to ask ourselves whether we have done enough to confront and overcome the stereotypes and myths that were entrenched over years under colonisation and apartheid. We remain concerned over the racism-related incidents across the country. They are unacceptable and go against our goal of building a society based on the ethos of Ubuntu where everyone feels valued, respected and safe.Reconciliation requires of us to confront our past and educate fellow South Africans of the past wrongs committed against black people. A major step towards reconciliation is to acknowledge that apartheid was a crime against humanity.Addressing the National Council of Provinces in 1998, former President Nelson Mandela said: “What has been revealed in the TRC shows not only what human beings can do to other human beings, but has actually confirmed the condemnation by the international community that apartheid was a crime against humanity. To kill people without bringing them before a court of law; to bury them secretly, this is an illustration of how apartheid is an evil against humanity.”It is disheartening that the 2014 South African Reconciliation Barometer published by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, shows that 25% of South Africans believe apartheid was not a crime against humanity. We should take this survey as a call to action to do more in educating and raising awareness about the injustices and violence that were perpetrated by the apartheid regime against the majority of people. The youth, in particular, should know our history to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.last_img read more

Continue reading

The Human Factor

first_imgIn a merger completed just over a year ago joining two of the largest office supply product companies, Boise Office Solutions and OfficeMax, a lot of things changed, but one thing remained constant for the new organization’s loss prevention program—teamwork.According to John Voytilla, vice president of global loss prevention and chief security officer at the new OfficeMax, the most important component of the loss prevention department is its people.“Technology, auditing, and investigations, those are all very important mechanisms that support the work of loss prevention, but it’s our team that truly makes our LP program so successful,” Voytilla says.- Sponsor – Beginning with its hiring practices, the OfficeMax loss prevention team seeks out the best people and then works to keep them through employee development. By placing a premium on employee retention, the OfficeMax LP team has enjoyed a level of continuity that many other retailers don’t often experience.“Our team’s stability is a product of the program’s quality and comprehensiveness,” he says.Voytilla attributes the OfficeMax LP team’s success to five key areas: training and development, business integration, integrity, communication, and technologyTraining and Development—Building LP LeadersSince September 11 and the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, competition to find qualified LP staff has increased as more companies have ramped up security efforts. Although finding qualified individuals is difficult, Voytilla does not budge on his hiring standards.“Team is the most important component of our loss prevention program. In fact, it is our differentiator. So we look for and develop people who can take ownership and lead the way in loss prevention. We want people who can ultimately help evolve our program,” says Voytilla.One of the reasons associates stay according to Voytilla is the LP program’s dedication to training and improving the team dynamic to achieve success.Their strategy includes setting up “think tank” meetings twice a year. The think tank groups discuss and debate organizational challenges, such as inventory shrink analysis and action, business assessment and visit planning, and improvement of store operational execution. The groups then develop a strategy based on their discussions. Loss prevention directors are on hand solely as facilitators.This type of brainstorming creates a sense of ownership says Voytilla. Follow-up through regular conference calls ensures that ideas won’t die before they are implemented and keeps teams focused on their core business objectives.Tracking Performance. Performance reviews and succession planning are other key elements of the OfficeMax LP training and development strategy. Twice a year, loss prevention management meets to discuss each team member’s performance. They debate strengths, opportunities, and growth potential, while discussing the needs of the individual and the organization.To assist in this process, OfficeMax’s LP program provides members with formal training and guidance regarding how to move up within the LP structure. The formal program includes a description of core technical and leadership skills required at each level of professional development.Team members, with the approval of their direct supervisors, complete an individual development plan (IDP). Supervisors evaluate the associates on an ongoing basis, providing feedback and suggesting changes to the individual’s IDP. Once a team member achieves the required core skills, they are evaluated for promotion.Directors find special opportunities to challenge top performers and encourage growth says Voytilla. Take Shannon Hunter, territory loss prevention manager in the Midwest, who was recently asked to temporarily fill the role of loss prevention director in the western territory—a role he has been in for more than ninety days.“You can’t simulate being a director,” says Hunter. “The challenge of running a territory loss prevention program plus communicating at a high level with our vice president has broadened my capabilities. It’s the best way to learn and grow.”Often, these opportunities cross over LP territory lines into other departments. Associates might be asked to write corporate policies or manuals, create reports for field use, develop new loss prevention programs, or test new equipment. “Every assignment builds and hones our team members’ experience,” says Voytilla.The OfficeMax LP team also supports a learn-by-doing approach. Senior team members are encouraged to mentor newer associates, and team members help train new district loss prevention managers (DLPMs).Building New Leaders. Voytilla points out that the OfficeMax LP team is not only interested in developing team members, but also leaders. OfficeMax LP management receives specialized training each year at an annual weeklong leadership summit designed to develop and harness their skills. Seminars include situational and results-based leadership, improving communication, and the Gallup StrengthsFinder® program, which focuses on personal development and honing leadership skills, interviewing and advanced phone interviewing, which LP field personnel used to close several cases in remote store locations without the expense of traveling.Training and development also is in full force on the frontlines at the store level. Using OfficeMax’s intranet web site, the LP team reaches employees by posting LP awareness materials, internal and external theft alert signals, and tools to assist with store training. DLPMs use the same material from the site to train personnel during store visits.Business Integration—Merchandising and Operations Welcome LPOfficeMax’s LP team has become an important partner with operations and merchandising. “Many companies’ LP teams can only dream of having a symbiotic relationship with their merchandising departments. We took a simple approach to the traditional battle; our answer was to become united,” says Voytilla. “We get involved with merchandising on the front end to devise plans and strategies around design and placement rather than on the back end after vital decisions have already been made.”Solving Sales Issues. Over the last two years, a main objective for OfficeMax merchandising was to place more ink cartridges and high-value electronics items, such as PDAs, digital cameras, and computer memory upgrades out on the floor. Previously, OfficeMax stored these items in a secure lock-upOther annual meetings offer technical and professional training, such as interviewing and interrogating skills, exception reports, and computer skills and planning led by WicklanderZulawski & Associates. Two important training seminars recently completed by the OfficeMax LP team covered behavioralWhile that helped prevent external theft, it also negatively impacted sales because products could not be easily viewed or accessed by customers.To come up with a solution, the LP team partnered with merchandising and operations to develop a win-win strategy that safely brought these items to the sales floor to grow sales while reducing theft.The first part of the strategy involved installing a new electronic article surveillance (EAS) system in certain stores to protect ink cartridges. The test ran several months while cycle counts of the ink were compiled monthly. When inventory counts were completed, shrink had decreased.The data from the EAS-enabled stores was then compared to the data in the non-EAS stores, and the results were indisputable. With EAS, stores could sell ink on their sales floors, and the extra revenue from the ink’s improved product placement could pay for more EAS equipment. In addition, the positive results from the test allowed the LP team to secure a capital appropriation to install EAS in the remaining OfficeMax stores during the first half of 2004.By putting a new EAS infrastructure in place, the LP team achieved several key objectives. First, the Office Max merchandising department contacted its electronics vendors, challenging them to begin source tagging. The request netted stunning results—all but a handful of OfficeMax’s electronics vendors’ SKUs are now source tagged, including ink cartridges.Second, the LP team purchased Spyder wraps from Alpha Security. All Office Max stores with a new EAS system received 200 Spyder wraps, which allowed merchandising to place more live product on sales floors.As a result of this success, the LP team now regularly reviews SKU profitability reports to assess vulnerability and shrinkage to determine whether LP programs need to be expanded to other SKUs.“The LP team’s successes with merchandising illustrates that it’s not about saying we can’t do something, it’s about finding a way we can do it, and do it profitably,” says Voytilla. “This approach has been successful because our corporate team gives us the resources we need, and they challenge us to continually improve our operations.” In the summer of 2004, the LP team conducted another test, placing digital memory upgrades into merchandise display boxes also known as Alpha keeper boxes. The new display boxes, made of polycarbonate material, are used to display high-theft electronics items on the sales floor. Each box houses a coil that triggers the EAS alarm system if the item is stolen.Similar to the ink test, the results demonstrated to OfficeMax’s merchandising department that it could safely place high-theft electronics on the sales floor, thereby increasing sales and decreasing shrink. Feeling confident with the EAS infrastructure in place, OfficeMax merchandising used the LP team’s findings and rolled out floor displays for the digital memory upgrades in fall 2004.LP Part of OfficeMax Fabric. Loss prevention at OfficeMax is woven into the fabric of the company’s business at all levels. LP team members are involved in hiring and promotion decisions for district and store managers as well as offering performance review feedback for retail associates.The high degree of LP integration at OfficeMax means that key initiatives, such as training, merchandise display standards, EAS, and awareness programs, share the spotlight in store business plans. During store visits, LP team members partner with district managers to review these important areas.“When district managers or operations deliver the same message as the LP department, it becomes that much clearer,” says Voytilla. Ultimately, he’d like to see stores become “LP self-sufficient, so that the LP team becomes a problem-solver and a developer of people instead of an auditor.”Cross-Training the LP Team. Part of the OfficeMax LP team’s success comes from its emphasis on cross-training its members to gain stability and flexibility by testing their skills in new environments.Recently, long-time LP director, Ulysses Williams, was offered a director position in human resources. Williams took the job, saying it strengthens his overall development as a retail professional.“My loss prevention experience has served as the foundation for my success,” says Williams. “For example, in loss prevention, team members are constantly faced with the questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how. Learning to find answers to these questions first and foremost helps to provide permanent solutions rather than quick or easy fixes. I still use that approach in my current job.”“Seeing one of our team members that is well-rounded enough to make that kind of transition makes us proud,” says Voytilla. “It also gives the OfficeMax human resources department a loss prevention perspective.”In another example of cross-functional talent, the OfficeMax LP team gained the services of Gerald Smith, formerly a district manager in the San Francisco Bay area, who now serves as director of LP for the western territory.“I sought to broaden my experience in retail loss prevention by integrating my operational expertise,” explains Smith. “During my short tenure in this new role, I have enjoyed the intense training, various challenges, and continual support from other LP team members. It’s also rewarding to be able to interject new ideas from my operational background into processes and plans that make our team more effective in the field.”Voytilla never passes up an opportunity to bolster his team’s experience by promoting from within his ranks. At the end of 2004, Perry Resnick, previously the LP director of the southwest territory, moved into the role of vice president, field loss prevention, retail. In his new capacity, Resnick drives loss prevention strategies and execution in the field.In addition, Nancy Erickson was promoted to senior director, logistics loss prevention, where she oversees loss prevention activities throughout OfficeMax’s entire supply chain.“People like Gerald, Perry, and Nancy are what we look for—talented individuals who possess great leadership skills. Experience is one thing, but finding people with a knack for leadership takes our department from good to great,” says Voytilla.Open Communication and IntegrityVoytilla says the OfficeMax LP team maintains direct and honest communication lines between field and corporate levels, district manager partners, territory partners, and corporate partners. The team schedules regular business meetings to discuss objectives and exchange feedback. Continual two-way communication helps the team make sound business decisions.“The organization won’t improve if we just tell people what they want to hear. Executives are looking for real feedback to improve the business,” says Voytilla.One of OfficeMax’s core values is integrity, and that is reflected in the LP department.“We empower team members to say what they believe in,” says Voytilla. “We are expected to deliver brutal loss prevention facts to our partners, peers, supervisors, and subordinates in a professional manner with the ultimate goal of benefiting the company.”High-Tech Loss PreventionTechnology gives OfficeMax loss prevention faster and more complete reporting options, and helps the department keep up with, or even stay ahead of, new theft tactics.Exception Reporting. A DLPM can run a report for an entire district to immediately determine what stores are completing the most inventory adjustments, or known theft. Thanks to a partnership with OfficeMax’s IT department, exception reporting created in the SAP system is specifically designed for the LP field team to analyze. Now, when LP identifies problem stores, team members can drill down to when adjustments were made and what SKUs caused the majority of the loss. This information allows the LP team to start investigations. After stores take inventory, the LP team generates category and article shrink reports that zero in on the exact causes of the shrink. These reports are used at the store, district, and territory levels to create future shrink action plans.Field members are equipped with state-of-the-art laptops and use Aspect Loss Prevention’s point-of-sale investigation software program that reviews sales and refund data to identify unusual transactions or trends. LP members use the program to run exception reports, and initiate and resolve cases. These reports are then analyzed on a weekly and monthly basis.“Thirty-seven percent of OfficeMax’s shrink cases in 2004 were identified using the Aspect program,” says Voytilla.Public View and Digital CCTV. Technology is not limited to providing better reporting. It also helps the LP team become more efficient at the store level. “Public view is used to deter shoplifting by having visible TV monitors in the live ink cartridge aisle and near store’s front entrances,” says Voytilla. “Our stores used VCR and multiplexer technology for their CCTV systems. Now we’ve implemented digital CCTV in several stores and we’re conducting further testing in additional markets.” The biggest reason for the switch to digital? “We can now monitor our stores remotely and link the digital CCTV feed with point-of-sale and exception reporting.”Radio Headsets. Store-level technology also benefits from OfficeMax’s “boundless service” culture. Every store associate uses a radio headset. Then, each store’s sales leader communicates with associates on a regular basis, directing them to customers who need help, suggesting add-ons to purchase, offering selling tips, and observing the store overall.Loss prevention uses the radio headsets to help deter shoplifting and reduce the chance of losing a customer who may need assistance. The headsets also are used to communicate monthly shrink topics, track suspicious customers, and assist with front-end procedures.The LP team’s success with these types of technological advancements creates opportunities to conduct more tests and broaden their expertise. Currently, they are looking at special software that links to the EAS system to remotely monitor program execution, review exceptions, high alarm activity, and assess training issues.One Step AheadIn 2005 and beyond, OfficeMax will continue to place a high priority on loss prevention. An emphasis on hiring, training, development, and retention continues to give the OfficeMax LP program an edge over its competition. It also helps OfficeMax stay one step ahead of internal and external theft. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Continue reading

Breaking News in the Industry: January 8, 2019

first_imgID theft victim helps PD bust theft ring; 4 arrestedA Redwood City, California, resident who found out someone was using her credit card for a motel room in Belmont called police, leading to the arrest of four alleged identity thieves. On Thursday around 12:45 p.m., the woman called Belmont police after she received a fraud alert from her bank, saying her credit card was being used at a Motel 6. Officers went to the motel and found five people, hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, several credit cards and a gun in the room that had been rented with the woman’s credit card, Halleran said. Four of the five were arrested, while the fifth person, a 35-year-old from Bay Point, was interviewed and released.   [Source: Daily Post]Prolific outlet shoplift duo bustedDelaware State Police have arrested two suspects in connection with multiple shopliftings in Rehoboth Beach. On Friday, troopers were dispatched to the Nike outlet in Bayside Outlet for a shoplifting complaint in which the suspects had fled the scene. A silver Oldsmobile Alero, which matched the description of a vehicle involved in the incident, was observed traveling northbound on Coastal Highway and a traffic stop was conducted. The driver, 32-year-old Donald L. Dailey Jr., of Milford, and his passenger, 27-year-old Ashley N. Cannon, of Milford, both had active warrants for shoplifting.Dailey and Cannon were taken into custody without incident. Cannon was found in possession of drug paraphernalia and search of the vehicle revealed stolen merchandise. According to police, the suspects had also shoplifted from multiple other businesses since December, including Tommy Hilfiger, Marshalls, Nike, and Adidas.   [Source: Dover Post]- Sponsor – US retail industry saw nearly $369B in returns in 2018Appriss Retail, a retail performance improvement solutions provider, has released an analysis of the cost and ramifications of U. S. consumer merchandise returns on retailers, jobs, and state economies. The “2018 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry” report, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Organized Retail Crime survey, states that overall value of returned merchandise in the United States during the past year was almost $369 billion. This cost does not include the overhead a retailer incurs when receiving, sorting, and repackaging useable goods for resale. In addition, $18 billion to $24 billion of that sum were fraudulent returns.

Return rates vary greatly by retail vertical; for example, drug stores/pharmacies showed a 2.14 percent blended return rate while auto parts retailers had a rate of 22.58 percent. Most verticals are within two or three percentage points of the National Retail Federation’s published median of a 10 percent return rate. The report contains the blended return rate for 10 retail verticals.Other highlights from the report include:38 percent of retailers report an increase in online purchases returned to brick-and-mortar stores.In 2018, return fraud and abuse cost American workers between 607,400 and 789,600 jobs. In addition, return fraud and abuse cost states between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion in lost sales tax. (A state-by-state breakdown is included in the report.)For every $100.00 in returns, retailers lost $5.00 to return fraud throughout the year. At the holidays, that amount was estimated to increase to $6.50.[Source: Global News Wire]Employee wore stolen clothes out of storeA Belk worker in Louisiana is facing a theft charge after he allegedly wore over $1,000 in clothing out of the store.  According to an arrest report for Xavient Blakely, age 21, of Monroe, officers were dispatched to Belk at Pecanland Mall on an employee theft shortly after noon on Thursday.A loss prevention associate told officers that Blakely committed theft over a short period of time. The estimated value of the items stolen is $1,176. Per the report, Blakely admitted to theft and said he wore the items out of the store without paying for them. He also wrote an admission of guilt, the affidavit states. Blakely was transported to MPD headquarters and then Ouachita Correctional Center on one theft charge.   [Source: News Star] Cashier accused of stealing customers’ credit card numbersA Kohl’s employee in northeast Indiana is under arrest for allegedly using credit card number she stole from customers in the store. Niakia Lashawn Baker is facing charges of credit card fraud and theft. According to WPTA-TV, several transactions at the Kohl’s store at the Northcrest Shopping Center in Fort Wayne were flagged late last month. All of the suspicious transactions traced back to Baker’s register. When the corporate officers contacted customers and were told they had not authorized the purchase in question, they knew something was up. Surveillance video captured the alleged crime taking place.According to court documents, after customers would use their Kohl’s credit card in Baker’s line, the cashier could be seen texting. Not long after that, an unknown male, occasionally accompanied by an unknown female, would go to Baker’s register and purchase gift cards, using the credit card numbers of previous customers. After the transactions, Baker would receive Kohl’s Cash via the store’s rewards program and spend it. At this time, Kohl’s has reportedly lost nearly $1,100 to the alleged crime.   [Source: WTHR13 News]Another successful holiday task forceTwo arrests in a counterfeiting case out of Long Tree, Colorado. Three collars on an elaborate nationwide iPhone identity theft case that hit locally. A crackdown on a credit card cloning and skimming case out of Highlands Ranch. These are just some of the on-the-ground results already tallied by a retail fraud strike force formed fewer than three months ago in Douglas County. Dubbed the Financial Investigative Regional Strike Team — or FIRST — the group is made up of investigators from five different law enforcement agencies, including the US Secret Service.FIRST, which launched in mid-October and operates out of the Douglas County sheriff’s headquarters in Castle Rock, has the singular focus of chasing down the fraudsters and organized retail theft rings that cause misery for victims and cost stores millions of dollars a year. It is a unique example in Colorado of collaboration and information-sharing across jurisdictional boundaries and even state lines. “Retail theft and fraud is the No. 1 crime we deal with in Lone Tree, and frankly, in the state,” said Lone Tree Police Chief Kirk Wilson. “This isn’t a new problem — it’s just becoming more prolific every year.”The internet has only made the job of tracking and catching retail wretches that much more difficult, as criminals use encrypted chat programs to communicate with one another and tap the dark web to obtain sensitive personal and financial data from identity theft victims. In 2018, Colorado was ranked as the second-riskiest state for identity theft, according to a report from ASecureLife. The security firm calculated that 385 victims in the state lost more than $1.7 million to identity theft in 2017.  [Source: Security InfoWatch]  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Continue reading

TNT, Ginebra out to break semis tie

first_imgArgentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Aussies banner Powerman bets ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups LATEST STORIES Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel planscenter_img “No idea,” said Nash. “I know coach Tim (Cone) will do something. I’ll ask Olsen about it.”PBA legend Olsen is Cone’s assistant with the Kings. But he doesn’t have to spill any major secrets for TNT to figure out how it can gain control of the best-of-five affair.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe Texters have been consistently holding their own against Barangay Ginebra’s imposing frontline and will again have to cut down the Gin Kings to size anew if they want to score a crucial Game 3 victory Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.“We always believe that we’re capable of beating Ginebra. But it takes a lot of focus and a lot of effort to do that,” said Nash. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Sealing all possible gaps in the lane, the KaTropa leveled the semifinal showdown by humbling the Gin Kings, 103-96, on a road trip in Batangas City last Wednesday.Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, Ginebra’s twin wrecking balls in the paint, couldn’t split the space down low efficiently, allowing TNT’s defenders to clamp down on them easily.Even Justin Brownlee, who finished with a game-high 25 points, was smothered by TNT’s choking internal defense in the closing minutes when the Kings attempted to cut down a double-digit advantage.“I think in every position, we are outsized by Ginebra. When they play with a big lineup, it’s really hard to play them,” said Racela.Tony Semarad did an exceptional job on limiting Brownlee’s mobility inside while Kelly Williams and Moala Tautuaa had seven-footer Slaughter and the 6-foot-9 Aguilar in check.ADVERTISEMENT While containing these giants plays a critical role in scoring a win, TNT must also let quintessential playmaker Jayson Castro provide the leadership and make sure Glen Rice Jr. stays out of early foul trouble this time.“We have to stick to our rebounding and defensive game plan,” said Castro in Filipino. “We don’t want to get outhustled just like in Game 1. We should again come out with a lot energy.”Slowed down by leg cramps late in the final period, Castro tallied 20 points and 10 assists in his crucial matchup with Ginebra’s LA Tenorio. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games PBA IMAGESAlmost lost in the intensity of the semifinal series and the rivalry of the team owners involved is the fact that Nash Racela and brother Olsen are squaring off from opposite benches on the hardcourt.Nash, the TNT KaTropa coach, threw a slight joke about it, when asked on what adjustments he is expecting from Barangay Ginebra in Game 3 of their series, which is now tied at 1-1. ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Continue reading

13 players show up as Gilas opens World Cup qualifiers buildup

first_imgMOST READ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Malditas save PH from shutout Herndon motivated to play alongside league’s top guards at Star The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay June Mar Fajardo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netThirteen players were present in the first day of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas’ training camp for the first leg of the 2017 Fiba World Cup qualifiers later this month.Four-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, and Calvin Abueva spearheaded the attendees at Meralco Gym on Friday night.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads Palace: Robredo back to ‘groping with a blind vision’ View comments Also present were longtime national team members Japeth Aguilar and Gabe Norwood, mainstays Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan, and Allein Maliksi, as well as cadets Roger Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, and Carl Bryan Cruz.Assistant coaches Jong Uichico, Jimmy Alapag, Josh Reyes, and Ryan Betia assisted Head Coach Chot Reyes in the session.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe Philippines is preparing for its game against Japan in Tokyo on November 24, before going back home where it will take on Chinese Taipei at Smart Araneta Coliseum on November 27. MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more

Continue reading

New coach wants to see better speed, power, accuracy from Lady Maroons

first_imgBeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Koreas to form their first joint Olympic team for Winter Games SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais MOST READ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim “I’m not trying to change the way they play, what I’m here to do is improve the way they play,” said Okumu Wednesday at UP College of Human Kinetics.“They should be faster, if they spike they should spike stronger, if they can pass they should pass better. Every thing, I’m trying to improve the speed, power, accuracy.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingLast year, Okumu took over a UP team that ended up with a 7-7 record in Season 79 under head coach Jerry Yee.The Kenyan national believes that with UP’s intact core last season, it was already ripe to become a legitimate title contender. Season 78 Rookie of the Year Isa Molde, Diana Carlos, Justine Dorog, and Ayel Estrañero make up the team’s center but has yet to prove that their 2016 Final Four appearance wasn’t a fluke.“Three years is a long time for a team to play together, and I think is they should’ve won,” said Okumu. “Three years with the same team, it’s quite a long time.”“I hope that changing the speed, the way they pass or spike, and improving their power and I think we will get somewhere.”ADVERTISEMENT Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH University of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu.University of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu isn’t asking much from his Lady Maroons, he just wants them to be better.Okumu said he wants the Lady Maroons to take every aspect of the game of volleyball and push it to another level.ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Dutertelast_img read more

Continue reading

Kamal Nath unnerves BJP leaders through probes

first_imgBHOPAL: There is no end to the cold war between the Congress and the BJP. Kailash Vijayvargiya, general secretary of BJP and a powerful leader of Madhya Pradesh said that his party would soon initiate mission Madhya Pradesh but the mission will be launched only after the party wins the confidence vote in Karnataka Vidhan Sabha and normalcy is restored there.After Karnataka his party will launch another mission targeting Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Talking to newsmen in Jaipur he had said, “It is not our wish to make a government fall. But the Congress MLAs have uncertainty in themselves.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’He had said that the Congress MLAs had no confidence in their leadership and were marred by division. Therefore, they felt that the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is far better. The BJP leader had further said that the Congress and its governments were falling due to their own works. But after reaching Bhopal, he changed his stance and tried to explain what he really meant when he talked about next mission- his target West Bengal. Observers feel that Vijayavargiya is feeling uncomfortable because the Kamal Nath government has decided to order an enquiry into the massive irregularities in the disbursement of old age pension which happened when he was mayor of Indore. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KA three member cabinet sub-committee has been constituted to decide what should be the terms of enquiry and other issue related to irregularities. The sub-committee is headed by Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot. Two other members of the committee are Kamleshwar Patel and Mahendra Sisodia. It may be mentioned here that former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan constituted a judicial commission with Justice NK Jain as its chief to enquire into the irregularities. But commission’s report was not placed on the table of the Vidhan Sabha and no follow up action was taken. The commission found several irregularities in the payment of pension. The Nath government has also decided to order a fresh enquiry in VYAPAM scam. Among others, this enquiry will affect Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The stare government has also decided to order enquiry in the scandal relating to what is known as e-tendering and the probe will mainly affect former BJP minister Narottam Mishra. Commenting on government’s decision to hold enquiry against him, Mishra said “I will quit politics if found guilty in e-tendering scam”.last_img read more

Continue reading