Weis deploys data mining solution for asset protection

Weis Markets (NYSE: WMK) is taking an atypical approach to predictive analytics by deploying a cloud-based solution from Profitect initially for asset protection, with later use of its data-mining capabilities for other departments such as marketing.

The POS front-end module was the first to be deployed of the Profitect profit amplification solution to track transactions and operations. An inventory management module was then added to address profitability and loss. The marketing module was the third to roll out, and may be followed by delivery and receiving.

Weis' approach to predictive analytics stands out because most companies look to it for marketing applications first, and some don't even think of it for processes or logistics. The retailers have amassed huge customer databases, and see more immediate benefit from deploying analytics for shopper incentive and product predictions. Weis anticipates using it for all aspects of the company's operations.

"We are using loss prevention technology not only to reduce shrink and loss, but also to help improve sales," said Mike Limauro, VP, asset protection, at Weis. "From an asset protection standpoint, it's awesome to be able to insert ourselves into the enterprise, and also use it for things like shelf-space allocation, sales, production—areas that are outside the typical asset protection uses. We refer to it as our 'Profit Hub.'"

For example, the system was able to track down a shipment of frozen pizza at a store that had been waylaid in the back-room freezer. A call to the store confirmed this had happened and in the future the system will automatically send alerts to store management.

After searching for a vendor with a philosophy in tune with Weis' vision and strategy, Weis chose Profitect solution because it could be customized to the retailer's needs, without requiring end-users to learn and follow the rules of the product format.

"With this system, there are very few present rules that need to be followed," said Christopher Harris, Weis' director of asset protection. "The solution customizes its technology down to the specific language of our stores, and speaks in terms that all levels of the organization will understand." For example, entering "sales" will bring up sales data, and "refund" will yield refund information.

The system also addresses traditional loss prevention issues, such as coupon fraud by cashiers, Limauro said.

The Profitect solution uses patterning technology to gather and analyze data to identify problem areas, then prescribes corrective actions and resolutions, which become automatic once the patterns are created. When a report is created, the tool automatically sends it to the right person, Harris said.

"The solution has enabled us to increase sales, reduce loss and improve profitability. It's powerful when an asset protection department can impact so many facets of the business," he said.

For more:
-See this RIS News story
-See this Progressive Grocer article

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