Transforming Asset Protection Into A Supportive Unit
Ideally, the relationship between Asset Protection and franchisee stores should be a productive one, but more importantly one that helps build a business culture conducive to increasing sales and profits for franchisees and SEI. Currently, there seems to a checklist mentality at 7-Eleven, where Asset Protection looks for faults and punishes us with LONS and breaches and comes after us with charge-backs rather than help us improve our businesses. What we really need is a relationship with positive communication wherein franchisees can openly go to Asset Protection for help in monitoring our businesses so we can avoid losses and concentrate on growing sales. With input from your NCASEF and FOA leaders, Asset Protection is slowly but surely getting there.
We all experience internal theft in the store at one point or another. In the past, when franchisees have asked Asset Protection to analyze the transaction data with their advanced tools to figure out where the theft was coming from there was usually a hefty charge involved, which amounted to the lost gross profit on SEI’s side. Some stores were charged thousands of dollars as a result of an investigation into employee theft. Franchisees want to be able to get some help if they are having chronic shortages audit after audit without being billed for it. After several talks, Asset Protection has agreed not to charge a franchisee who requests a deep dive into their transaction data if the shortage is the result of purely employee theft.
Another change with Asset Protection involves access to data. Currently in our back room ISP we only have access to 45 days of data. This is disadvantageous if you have a markup or FIW that goes back longer than that and you need to verify the information. Moving forward, if you are in a situation where you get a markup or an FIW that goes back more than 45 days, you can request this data and it will be loaded into your system so you can look at your transaction data and other financial information in your store.
Along the same lines, access to the POS analytics report is closer to becoming a reality. We asked Asset Protection and SEI, rather than catching inconsistencies or errors and coming back to us up to a year later with a markup or FIW, why not give us support so we—at the store level—can fix the problem as we find it? They agreed and the POS analytics report is in the testing stage and should be rolled out soon. The POS analytics is based on exception reporting and it compares your store’s data on the 16 criteria with the market’s. This will be a great help to the stores because the report breaks the data down to your employee level so you can see which employee is flagging higher on those exceptions.
The Coupon Reconciliation Report is also being made available. There have been a number of charge-backs related to the difference between what the store was reporting on their cash reports and what NCH, the coupon clearinghouse company, was reporting. Normally, when NCH gets the coupons they reconcile them and then report to SEI what they received from each store. In many cases, what the store was reporting on the cash report and what NCH was reporting back to SEI was not matching up. The Coupon Reconciliation Report will allow us, on a monthly basis, to reconcile what is on our cash report to what was reported by NCH to SEI so any discrepancies could be resolved in a timely manner.
These reports and access to information are helping franchisees. They will help us control shortages, which will help our stores financially. They are also positive steps that will help foster a people culture rather than a numbers culture. At the end of the day, every franchisee would like to see Asset Protection serve less as an investigative unit and more as a supportive unit.