Press release, November 27, 2013; Image: Strategic Marine Strategic Marine announced today it is constructing two marine infrastructure fabrication projects in its Vietnam shipyard. Both projects are for Australian clients.The company will build three 60-metre pontoons and three 90-metre gangways for application in Gladstone Port Corporation’s new tug base and three Buoyant Actuators for Carnegie Wave Energy’s renewable wave energy and desalination project off the coast of Perth.“We have been developing our general fabrication capability over the last few years,” said Reece Newbold, Group Business Development Manager, “with the clear intention to show our mettle in the construction of modules for the Marine & Civil Infrastructure, Mining, and Oil & Gas markets.”Strategic Marine’s head office is in Western Australia, and with the Australian mining boom previously in full swing, the decision was made to mount a concerted effort to showcase the cost benefits of building in Vietnam coupled with the use of expert local and Australian project management teams.In the last two years, the company has secured and successfully completed several projects on both the Western and Eastern seaboards of Australia.
South Africans, on the whole, have a high level of social cohesion and good active citizenship. To boost levels further, young people and marginalised groups in particular need to be targeted, according to Brand South Africa’s Domestic Perceptions Survey. Matjididi Mokono (centre) is an example of active citizenship in motion. She opened up an orphan centre in 2002 to feed and educate children in the village of GaMagoa in Limpopo. Active citizenship in South Africa has risen in recent years. (Images: Shamin Chibba) Shamin ChibbaMore than 10 years ago, when Matjididi Mokono was a primary school teacher, she looked at her community in GaMagoa, Limpopo, and saw its children struggling to live. They were not being fed well enough, many lived with their grandparents, and they were trying to get by in an environment rife with crime, alcoholism and drug abuse.Mokono did something about it. She left her post as a teacher and started Mponogele Le Iterele Orphan Centre under a tree. The initiative was meant to feed and educate the local children. “I wanted to help the children and support their family members who feel overloaded too,” she said.So successful was the project, Mokono started receiving support from the likes of Eskom, Brand South Africa and even overseas funders. Today, the centre has moved from the tree to a property with a small hall, a kitchen and even a computer room.It is people like Mokono who are pushing up South Africa’s score on the active citizenship index, which currently sits at 68%.The index forms part of Brand South Africa’s Domestic Perceptions Survey, which measures both active citizenship and social cohesion. It also contributes to developing an understanding of how South Africans perceive the nation brand based on national pride, attitudes, values and beliefs. On the whole, the survey found South Africans to be positive and optimistic about the future of the country.“South Africans tend to speak badly about themselves,” said Brand South Africa’s research manager Judy Smith-Höhn. “There’s a general tendency to say things are terrible. But what we are able to do is tell the positive story. We’re not looking to cover up challenges.”Active citizenshipWhile the active citizenship score was considered good, Smith-Höhn said there was still a lot of work to be done to take it to a level that was considered strong.The score implies that more than half of South Africans participate actively in their respective communities. But the study sample showed that 29% were involved community members who were always willing to contribute to their communities. The bulk of the sample, 53%, would like to be involved members but did not always have the time or money to do so.Level of involvement by percentage. (Images: Brand South Africa) The above graph shows the extent of the respondents’ involvement in their communities. (Images: Brand South Africa)Social cohesionSouth Africans were starting to feel they belonged to the country and that they wanted to be here, said Smith-Höhn.The country’s social cohesion score was 73 out of 100, which was a healthy sign, she said. “We have a very high social cohesion index, which is surprising if you think of where we come from as a country.”Based on questions posed to all respondents, research findings revealed that almost half of South African citizens had a strong feeling of cohesion (45%) while 21% had a good sense of cohesion.A breakdown of the social cohesion index. (Images: Brand South Africa)Social cohesion in the Brand South Africa context refers to the degree to which people are integrated in society. Furthermore, it looks at how society’s solidarity finds expression among individuals and communities.In a country with diverse histories, cultures and religions, people feel their living environments are improving. There are fewer feelings of inequality, exclusion and disparity. More than half the respondents felt they were always part of the bigger South African community, and only 10% felt they were always excluded. The remaining 36% said they were sometimes excluded.The above graph indicates the respondents’ feeling of inclusion as a South African citizen. They had to pick one of the above three statements that best described their feelings as an individual living in South Africa. (Images: Brand South Africa)Despite the good vibes South Africans were emanating, the Domestic Perceptions Survey noted that lower income earners were showing some frustration. “The slight dissatisfaction among South Africans around the feelings of inclusion are, in fact, the reason why social cohesion is ‘good’ and not ‘strong.’”According to Brand South Africa, social cohesion improves a country’s economic performance because a more equal society and environment correlate with positive outcomes such as good health, child development and labour market adjustments.The above graph broke down the feelings of inclusion by income levels. A high level of respondents (57%) felt they were part of the bigger South African community. (Images: Brand South Africa)Social cohesion forms a large part of the social sustainability element in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Even Mo Ibrahim, the billionaire Sudanese-British mobile communications mogul, emphasised the importance of social cohesion at the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in 2013.The National Development Plan (NDP) has made social cohesion one of its priorities for the 2014-2019 electoral mandate. According to the NDP, its objectives are to reduce inequality of opportunity and enable the sharing of common space.Active citizenry linked to unityThe Domestic Perceptions Survey linked active citizenship and social cohesion. It found that an active citizenry was a key component of a more socially cohesive society. “Citizens need to help shape the development process and hold the government to account for the quality of services it delivers.”The report offered two recommendations: promote youth participation as a way to enhance active citizenship and promote inclusiveness among marginalised groups to enhance feelings of cohesiveness.
Air freight recorded its 11th consecutive month of year-on-year declines. Both Boeing and Airbus recorded massive orders for their respective product lineups on the second day of the Farnborough Air Show south-west of London on Tuesday. According to Farnborough International, there were deals for a further US$51.4 billion in deals.More than 530 aircraft have been ordered today, bringing the total value of aircraft ordered at the Airshow so far to US$95.5bn.The Boeing tally is:Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding signed a package of agreements that include a letter of intent to acquire 29 Boeing 777 Freighters, confirmation of an order for five Boeing 747-8 Freighters, the purchase of a crew pairing solution, and an agreement to work together on future freighter projects.Air Lease Corporation announced orders and commitments for up to 78 Boeing aircraft, including 75 737 MAX 8s and three 787-9.Aviation Capital Group (ACG) announced an order for 20 737 MAX 8 aircraft.GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) announced it has reached an agreement for 35 additional 737-800 Boeing Converted FreightersREAD: Boeing moving to launch 797 – an aircraft all passengers will loveThe Airbus tally is;Airbus has signed an agreement with an undisclosed customer for the purchase of eight A350-900s.A customer has penned a Memorandum of Understanding for 25 A321neo and 75 A320neo aircraft. The agreement for 100 additional A320neo Family aircraft adds to its existing orders for the type.International Airlines Group’s (IAG) low-cost long-haul airline, LEVEL, is expanding its fleet with two additional A330-200s, for delivery in 2019.New U.S. airline start-up announced a commitment for 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in 2021. The new airline is backed up by a group of experienced investors led by David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue, an investor in TAP in Portugal and controlling shareholder in Azul airlines in Brazil.
Interviewee BiosStacie Bearden Director of Asset Protection, Field The Home DepotBearden is responsible for the field organization’s theft and fraud including Home Depot’s organized retail crime program and all asset protection capital and technology programs. In her fifteen years with the company, she has held management roles in operations, distribution, delivery, and transportation. Prior to Home Depot, Bearden retired as a lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps, worked in logistics with Schneider National, and taught management in the University of Georgia system. She is currently a member of the RILA AP steering committee, the LPRC Future of LP working group, and the LP Foundation.Tim Belka Senior Director of Global Security Walgreens- Sponsor – Belka began his career as a US deputy marshal before joining the Central Intelligence Agency as a special agent. He has traveled extensively and has conducted sensitive investigations, performed threat assessments, and developed overseas site security strategy. In his role with Walgreens, Belka leads a team responsible for the company’s Security Operations Center, executive protection, corporate campus security, international travel monitoring, event security strategy, and emergency planning and response. In his spare time, he enjoys participating in various outdoor activities with his wife and three children.Art Lazo Director of Asset Protection 7-ElevenLazo currently leads 7-Eleven’s investigations function and the field asset protection team for the western half of the United States and Canada. He came to the company as director of LP solutions for AP associates. Prior to 7-Eleven, he was a director with Kmart, held several loss prevention management and training roles with Home Depot, and served as regional LP manager for Circuit City. Lazo started his loss prevention career over twenty years ago with Toys’R’Us as a loss prevention specialist.Brian Peacock Director of Asset Protection, US Operations Rent-A-CenterPeacock is currently responsible for corporate asset protection support for more than 4,500 locations, managing physical security, remote video, data analytics, merchandise security, supply chain, case management, and the profit protection program. He is an accomplished leader and forward-thinking innovator with over eighteen years of progressive experience in loss prevention, asset protection, and physical security. Prior to moving into the asset protection department, Peacock spent six years in operations as a store manager and area manager.EDITOR: As senior executives you have two jobs your specific responsibilities and supporting the agenda of your boss. What are the challenges of those two roles?BEARDEN: We typically avoid those challenges through alignment. Our department strategy was established as a leadership team, and our annual goals are jointly developed to support that. If an effort doesn’t support one of our three focuses (safety, accuracy, or profitability) or isn’t supported by our core values, it isn’t something we spend a lot of time on. In a business as dynamic as ours if things come up, we talk through the situation. Communicating often and openly helps avoid any conflict.BELKA: It’s easy to lose your bearings but important to remember the perspective of the person you are managing, whether up or down. Senior executives are engaged in day-to-day business, but the truth is that they are necessarily focused on the next period, next set of goals, next set of numbers. It is critical, to the extent possible, to understand the executives’ vision or at least the risk to the future model so that any request or proposal you initiate is relevant. I think the difference to managing down is that it is important to provide context so that the team executing buys into the program. In addition to buy-in, I think giving context fosters an open dialogue that allows the team to innovate and improve.LAZO: I am fortunate in that I am able to spend a lot of time near my boss, which allows me to calibrate often to make sure we have alignment. There are always some challenges in getting everything done that we had set out to do at the beginning of the year based on the changing needs of the business. Project work can be a challenge as we build solutions to continuously improve our ability to support the stores and our franchisees. Sometimes the scope of a project can change mid-stream based on some unforeseen obstacle in IT or a vendor issue for example. My boss makes commitments at a very high level, and unexpected issues can delay the timeline. Communication and clear expectations are key in ensuring that we avoid any big issues.EDITOR: How and why did you get a job in loss prevention?BEARDEN: I had been with Home Depot over fifteen years and served in a number of very different role supply chain, district manager, and operations. I was asked to move to AP and take over a role that had seen a lot of turnover and was full of opportunity. It was an intriguing challenge, so I jumped on it.LAZO: While working as a sales associate at Toys’R’Us, I was attending community college with the intent to become a police officer. In those days, there was a security booth where customers would come and pick up video games after they were purchased at the register. It was my job to give out the video games. One day, I was in the booth, and a man came in the back door. He had a key that gave him access to every door in the building. I didn’t know who he was, but it turned out that he was the loss prevention specialist. Once I learned a bit more about what his role was from my manager, I was interested in making a career out of it. Sometime later, I was able to witness an integrity interview, and that is when I was hooked. I felt that it was the perfect type of job because it combined problem solving, criminal justice, and business. I worked my way into a manager role in operations while still interested in loss prevention. I was able to get on a development plan to prepare me for the job and eventually was given the role of loss prevention specialist in the Portland area.PEACOCK: Unlike most traditional LP professionals, I started my career in operations as an assistant manager, store manager, and area manager. After six years in operations, I made a choice to join the asset protection team after being recruited by the regional asset protection manager. The department primarily focused on audits, but after taking the beginner WZ course, I started conducting investigations based on audit results and interviewing coworkers. I discovered that my operational background and my recent interview course provided me a level of confidence and a knack for mining data to identify cases. After six months, I was asked to join the newly created loss prevention department, and four of us covered the US. I quickly realized I had found a career and passion for loss prevention.EDITOR: What programs, educational opportunities, or other experiences would you have liked to have had as you came up in the industry?BEARDEN: I have only been in AP for two years. Because of that I haven’t grown up in the industry. While that’s also been an advantageI don’t have pre-conceived ideas of how things have to workit has made it like drinking from a fire hose. I didn’t learn about the LP Foundation or LPC/LPQ until this past year. It would have helped to know about that much sooner. Both RILA and NRF conferences have been invaluable as have the resources RILA provides and contacts they allow you to make. I would have engaged with both faster and sooner. All that said, I have found that there are so many things that do apply from the broader business and operations. Because of my experience in those areas, we’ve been able to address process, projects, capital and expense, and people challenges in a much different way.BELKA: Generally, I think the industry does a much better job of giving access to training through organizations such as ASIS and RILA and publications like LP Magazine. I think education and training has always been available. I would like to have taken more time to take advantage of these opportunities. Any time you have the opportunity to walk in the shoes of your business partners, you necessarily are better equipped to understand and become a more effective partner.LAZO: I think the training out there today when it comes to designations like the LPQ and the LPC are a great way to learn about our industry. I have pointed many people in that direction when asked how to obtain a career in asset protection. When I was coming up, I was only aware of Wicklander-Zulawski training as being specific to what we do. Today, there are several industry-specific designations as well as universities offering coursework in asset protection. I think the educational opportunities have come a long way and would have loved to have had these options when I was just learning the business.PEACOCK: Today I see a lot of great educational programs for someone starting out in a loss prevention career. I think it is critical to continue to push yourself to stay in tune with what is trending in your field and to be aware of the changing landscape of retail and the new skills sets needed to stay relevant. I have spent twenty years between two companies, and I feel very fortunate that, in both firms, I was able to be a part of building a lot of great programs, creating LP strategies, writing standard operating procedures for the department, and working with some fantastic vendors. The experiences I have gained throughout my career have given me a solid foundation for my future, from operations, investigations, and interviewing to managing a field team to managing the back of the house. I feel very blessed with the experiences and opportunities that have been given to me.EDITOR: What qualities set an LP professional apart as they climb the career ladder?BEARDEN: Broader business experience is extremely valuable within the organization. While there is a significant piece of what we impact that is theft and fraud related, there are other completely controllable operational factors. Business acumen is not only beneficial but also necessary as one seeks to change processes and vie for funding.BELKA: I’ve had the pleasure to work with a wide variety of people at all stages of my professional career. While there are many attributes that I admire, I think having a passion to understand and to adapt are the attributes for success. I have to remind myself to consider other solutions and ideas so that I don’t get caught by legacy strategy and thinking. This might be gratuitous but my current boss has consistently challenged our legacy thought processes. It is frustrating at times, but I know it has helped our department become an industry leader.LAZO: I find that the folks that take the time to truly understand the core business are the most successful whether they stay in LP or move over to operations. Many people in the industry today understand the value of breaking down barriers between LP and operations. I think the key is then making yourself and your team indispensable by continuing to show value and taking on challenges that may fall outside of your typical program. On an individual basis, the ability to be self-critical and willing to learn is a quality that sets people apart in my eyes. I think that if you surround yourself with people you trust to give you honest feedback and critique your work, you will be better prepared and rarely caught off guard.PEACOCK: I would say innovation, adapting to change, and being a strategic thinker. The main priorities in LP that made a department successful ten years ago are not what drive a successful department today. To progress as an LP professional, take the time to learn the business you support and understand where the business is headed. Then take a hard look at how your department can support where the business is headed. Whether you are in the field or the corporate office, a team has to share ideas and continue to change with the organization. It is easy to bury yourself in what you are doing now, but if you are not aware of your surroundings, you will find yourself and your department becoming less relevant in your organization. The LP professionals who are a part of a company’s continued evolution are the ones that will set themselves apart from the rest.EDITOR: If you could change one thing about the LP profession, what would that be?BEARDEN: I would have it be viewed differently within organizations. The recently publicized rounds of reorganizations and reductions continue to indicate that LP is a field that is much like insurance. It’s invaluable when needed and viewed as nothing but an expense when it is not.BELKA: I think our profession has progressed significantly in the development of diverse thought and background of the people who pursue loss prevention careers. Our industry is more progressive and challenging than ever before. However, in retrospect it would have benefited the industry to aggressively pursue diversity of thought and background to make us more effective and relevant.LAZO: I think the LP profession has seen a lot of positive change in the last 20years. More and more companies are seeking out professional LP advice whether they use a third-party contractor or build a program internally. The only thing I would consider changing is how we attract and educate people about what we do and the industry as a career. I believe there is still an opportunity to attract talent and show folks looking for a career that LP can be a great way to go.PEACOCK: I think it would be the perception. Loss prevention departments (in most companies) are still seen as a necessary component to deal with the “bad stuff.” I think this is why you see a lot of departments beginning to rebrand (Rent-A-Center recently did) to asset protection or profit protection. There is and always has been a strong desire to be seen as a strategic business partner. I almost relate the new role of LP support to be more like sales strategy. More and more LP departments are involved in providing analytics, information, and stats that help drive top-line growth while protecting the bottom line. In addition there is a strong appetite for new technology that can help mitigate losses while enhancing the customer experience. We cannot lose focus on our core responsibilities, but we have to also recognize and capture opportunities to leverage our skill sets in arenas outside traditional LP.EDITOR: Are there misconceptions about loss prevention that we can or need to overcome?BEARDEN: The one above is a big one. Another is that LP is just about shrink, safety, and catching shoplifters. For example, our team is heavily involved in disaster response, ensuring our people, property, and product are safe, and we’re also closely involved with first responders and others in the community in times of crisis such as hurricanes. At the end of the day in LP, we protect brand and gross margin in ways few other departments do. That’s a big mental shift for some.LAZO: There are always misconceptions about loss prevention that you deal with, both in your personal life and within your own company. If you are at a party and people hear that you work in loss prevention, they automatically assume that you walk around and catch shoplifters. Once you discuss the components of a basic LP program, they are extremely interested in all of the different things we get involved in on a daily basis. The misconception that I deal with at my own company and in companies that I have worked for in the past is a limited view on the work that we do. To the uninitiated, we are the company police. Once they spend some time actually working with us, their eyes are opened, and they see the value we can add. It is our job as leaders to get in front of as many of those people as possible and change that perception.EDITOR: What do you see as the most impactful retail crime trends emerging today?BEARDEN: As omni-channel dominates the merchandising and fulfillment minds of today’s retailers, criminals are adjusting. It’s a world where prosecution is complicated. There are no cameras, and the victims can look a lot like the criminal. It’s top of mind for all of us. Another is the socioeconomic impact of drug abuse that we’re seeing in communities. It makes for an increasingly dangerous environment for our store teams. The ease of obtaining technology is allowing the criminal to be extremely nimble. They’re running as fast as they can to stay ahead. Just as the Internet is providing them a new environment for theft, it is also an endless resource. The last one is the impact of already over-crowded jails and over-tasked police departments. They’re challenged to meet the violent crime demand, much less the often viewed as “victimless” crime of retail. This increases the recidivism rate and results in our teams catching the same offenders multiple times. It’s a challenge for both law enforcement and the retailer.LAZO: Organized retail crime continues to be a growing concern. In our environment, we deal with several issues including fuel theft, card skimming, and phone scams for money instruments.EDITOR: What are the most impactful changes in the retail industry that are impacting LP?BEARDEN: The ability to check out in the aisle, order from the comfort of our homes, and pay without carrying a wallet will challenge all of us as we seek to provide more flexibility to our customers. It’s a business imperative we have to support.LAZO: I think that economic challenges are always a concern with any LP program. The last several years have shown that companies continue to assess their LP programs and either trim their resources or change the definition of the role in a variety of ways. It is the role of LP leadership to continue to seek out opportunities to address challenges that may be outside of the normal LP channels. Retail is constantly changing, and we need to be able to adapt accordingly and show value in our roles.PEACOCK: It would have to be the rapidly increasing digital presence and shrinking brick and mortar. E-commerce and mobile transactions are growing rapidly, and this is having a major impact on the way loss prevention teams are structured. Unless you have a structured audit program in place, the field teams are starting to shrink, and the majority of investigations and interviews are being conducted remotely. With the store counts rising for field managers, the heavy lifting has to be moved into the corporate office. Like many departments, we recently created a central investigations team to focus on supporting the field with information and data to help prioritize investigations and store visits. This streamlines the process and allows a small group to become very efficient at putting a case together and providing data to the field. The field can spend more time addressing the issues and less time reviewing an overwhelming amount of data.EDITOR: What work or life experiences best molded you for your current job?BEARDEN: My time in the stores and operations were both invaluable from a business acumen perspective. In supporting my field team, the experiences from my time in the Marines have also served me well. Messaging on our mission and values help our front line leaders make the right decision in the heat of the moment. It also doesn’t hurt to have experience managing through a crisis or being able to make quick decisions and coordinate efforts across groups. With almost 2,000 stores, there is always something going on.BELKA: I am fortunate to have had a diverse set of experiences that have informed my current role15 years as a federal agent and multiple roles at Walgreens. From the start of my professional career, I have had the opportunity to work with and for professionals from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds as well as people with diverse life and professional experience. This has given me perspective and allowed me to look at business problems, team members, and strategy in a broader sense. I’ve learned and now better understand that any strategy or directive is executed on the ground by team members who may not have the same perspective or experiences.EDITOR: Tim, you have diverse responsibilities at Walgreens. What is the most difficult part of your job?BELKA: Focusing on our team’s strategic initiatives while dealing with the obstacles that often impede tactical execution. The Walgreens Asset Protection Solutions team goes through a deliberate and robust exercise to establish team and individual goals and initiatives; however, we are challenged on a regular basis to develop ad hoc solutions to problems that impact our enterprise. It is important to develop programmatic and ad hoc solutions in the framework of our strategy. If the circumstance is significant enough and does not fit within our existing framework, we must be flexible and adapt our strategy.EDITOR: Art, you have been a vital part of the transformation of asset protection at 7-Eleven. What have been the key initiatives that have proven most valuable?LAZO: Several years ago, a process was started with the goal of building an asset protection department that was considered best in class. Many people have contributed to making this a reality by building processes and providing tools to the team in the field and the franchisees in the stores. Some examples include a company-wide rollout of new DVR systems that allow the store operators to easily access recorded video. Point-of-sale analytics at the store level allow the franchisee or store manager to pin-point issues that can then be reviewed on the DVR and resolved quickly themselves or with assistance from their local asset protection specialist.We have also dedicated more resources to building relationships with local law enforcement. 7-Eleven has partnered with local law enforcement for years on programs like Operation Chill. Recently, we have been able to reach out and collaborate much more frequently with law enforcement in hundreds of different municipalities, offering partnership and support in resolving issues that affect the franchisees and store operators.EDITOR: Are there differences in how you handle company-owned and franchise stores?LAZO: Each franchisee is an independent operator. We are a resource for the franchisees as consultants, and we provide tools to help them address issues related to shortage and physical security. The asset protection managers take every opportunity to participate in franchisee meetings to help train them on the tools available to address shortage issues and accurately manage their inventory. We will provide advice to franchisees when asked, but it is their responsibility to operate their businesses within the constraints of the franchise agreement. Corporate stores can be managed in a more traditional manner, consistent with other retail programs where we can directly address issues and escalate lingering issues through the operational chain of command. We partner at all levels of the corporate store structure to provide support and control losses.EDITOR: Brian, you have a lot of stores and a small LP staff. Where do you spend your time to get the greatest impact?PEACOCK: In the last couple years, we have realized that sometimes you have to do less with less. We took a step back and looked at all the things our department was doing. This gave the senior leadership team the chance to reevaluate and eliminate the things that were no longer adding value or were not a priority for the organization. The second thing we did was focus on enterprise solutions and ways to leverage technology to help the organization. In 2014 our company started renting smartphones. We quickly realized that while this category would drive incremental business, new customers, and revenue growth, it was extremely high risk. Our department led the creation and implementation of a phone-locking software that helped mitigate the risk within this new segment of our business. We took a technology primarily used for data security and designed a new model that secures our assets when a customer contract expires, assists in collections, lowers losses, and creates a value-add by assisting in the recovery of a phone that was stolen from one of our customers. The results have been better than we expected. It has opened some eyes as to what our department can do for the organization outside of “catching bad coworkers.” We have two more exciting enterprise technology-based solutions we are driving in 2016 and hope to realize similar impacts for our organization.EDITOR: Specifically at Rent-A-Center, are you most driven by crime, shrink reduction, profit and loss, or something else?PEACOCK: In our business, loss is a very reactive stat. Our team focuses on past-due accounts. Unlike traditional retail, approximately 70 percent of our inventory resides in customers’ homes. When we rent merchandise to a consumer, we still own the merchandise until it is paid in full. This unique challenge does not allow us to focus on the traditional metrics. So past-dues are our first indicator that we have a potential loss. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
CCH Tax Day ReportCongress began its Independent Day recess and lawmakers are expected to return after the July 4 holiday for a short work period before recessing again from July 16 to September 15. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported that the IRS could improve the process through which it evaluates the accuracy of tax returns prepared through its Volunteer Program sites. The Service issued final regulations for country-by-country reporting. It also modified its procedures for the determination letter program for qualified plans.CongressHouse Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., and Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, R-La., sent Treasury Secretary Jack Lew a letter on June 28 expressing collective GOP concerns over proposed debt-equity regulations under Code Sec. 385 (NPRM REG-108060-15, I.R.B. 2016-17, 636) (TAXDAY, 2016/06/29, C.1). All Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee signed the letter. Further, Joint Committee on Taxation Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Vice Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., announced on June 29 that the committee will hold a bipartisan, bicameral meeting with Mark Mazur, assistant secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy, and Robert Stack, deputy assistant secretary for International Tax Affairs, on July 6 to discuss the Treasury’s proposed regulations.TreasurySemiannual Report. TIGTA has released its semiannual report to Congress (TAXDAY, 2016/06/29, T.1). The report includes information regarding TIGTA’s high-profile investigations, audits and inspection and evaluation reports, as well as information on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148).Quality Statistical Sample. TIGTA reported that the IRS’s Quality Statistical Sample review program to evaluate the accuracy of tax return preparation at Volunteer Program sites needs improvement (Ref. No. 2016-40-045; TAXDAY, 2016/06/30, T.2). Although TIGTA’s program review found that 95 percent of a statistically valid sample of 44 returns were accurately prepared by the volunteers, it also found that proper procedures to evaluate performance were not being followed.BSA Violation Penalty. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act adjusting the maximum amount or range of certain civil monetary penalties within its jurisdiction to account for inflation (RIN 1506-AB33; TAXDAY, 2016/06/30, T.1). In adjusting the maximum amount, FinCEN is implementing the requirements of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (FCPIA).IRSCountry-by-Country Reporting Regs. The IRS issued final regulations that require annual country-by-country reporting by certain United States persons that are the ultimate parent entity of a multinational enterprise group (T.D. 9773; TAXDAY, 2016/06/30, I.1). The final regulations affect multinational enterprise groups that have annual revenue for the preceding annual accounting period of $850 million or more.West Virginia Disaster Victims. Victims of severe storms and flooding that took place on June 22, 2016 in parts of West Virginia may qualify for tax relief from the IRS (WV-2016-02; TAXDAY, 2016/06/29, I.3). Individuals who reside or have a business in one of the listed counties will qualify for the relief.Qualified Plans. The IRS modified its procedures for the determination letter program for qualified plans to eliminate the five-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed plans (Rev. Proc. 2016-37, TAXDAY, 2016/06/30, I.3). As of January 1, 2017, a sponsor of an individually designed plan will be permitted to submit a determination letter application only for initial plan qualification, for qualification upon plan termination, and in certain other circumstances.REIT and RIC. The IRS has issued corrected final and temporary regulations that impose corporate level tax on certain transactions where property of a C corporation become the property of a REIT or RIC (T.D. 9770; TAXDAY, 2016/06/28, I.1). The correction is effective as of June 28, 2016.Security Summit. The IRS held its annual Security Summit on June 28 (IR-2016-94; FS-2016-21; TAXDAY, 2016/06/29, I.2). The summit reviewed the 2016 successes and finalized its 2017 initiatives with respect to combating identity theft refund fraud.Consistent Basis Regs. At a hearing held June 27, the IRS heard comments regarding the proposed regulations on consistent basis reporting between the estate and person acquiring property from a decedent (NPRM REG-127923-15, I.R.B. 2016-12, 473; TAXDAY, 2016/06/28, I.2). Commenters asked that the IRS address the “elaborate and burdensome” reporting requirements and consider an alternate method for reporting assets that were not acquired by a beneficiary by the due date for filing the information return.Art Advisory Panel. The IRS has announced that a report summarizing the closed meetings held by the Art Advisory Panel in 2016, has been filed with the Treasury (TAXDAY, 2016/06/30, I.2). Copies are made available on request.By Jessica Jeane and Jalisa Mathis, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Milan drop Suso and go with Samu Castillejo and Ismael Bennacer against SPAL in Serie A this evening. Suso’s performances have been heavily criticised this season, despite Stefano Pioli’s defence of the Spaniard. He makes way for countryman Castillejo on the left wing, with Krzysztof Piatek and Hakan Calhanoglu joining him in a three-pronged Milan attack. Elsewhere, Leo Duarte is given a rare start at right-back, replacing Andrea Conti as Davide Calabria is similarly overlooked. Bennacer replaces Lucas Biglia at the heart of the Rossoneri’s midfield, flanked by Lucas Paqueta and Franck Kessie. SPAL, meanwhile, change two from their 1-1 draw with Napoli as Thiago Cionek and 37-year-old striker Sergio Floccari come in for Igor and Alberto Paloschi. Milan: Donnarumma, Duarte, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez, Paqueta, Bennacer, Kessie, Castillejo, Piatek, Calhanoglu SPAL: Berisha; Tomovic, Vicari, Cionek; Espeto, Missiroli, Murgia, Kurtic, Reca; Petagna, Floccari Referee: Piccinini
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd staff member: Sad and gloomy before Solskjaerby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United staff say the change of atmosphere since manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointment has been obvious.Polly Johnson, who works in the club’s museum, spoke with VG about the change around the club.”I work here on every match day. I go up to my lodge and know the mood. This fall has been sad and gloomy. It’s not been uplifting,” says Johnson.”But when I went to the stadium on Wednesday (Solskjaer’s first home game), I started to cry. It was amazing! There is a huge difference. Everyone has a wonderful feeling because of Solskjaer.”
SEC men’s basketball has felt like a one-horse race for a few years now, but things became much more interesting in 2015-16. Kentucky is still among the league’s elite, of course, and John Calipari’s Wildcats appear to be hitting their stride at the right time heading into post-season play. They didn’t win the regular season, however. A consistent, well-rounded Texas A&M club took home that title, and head into the tournament on a six game winning streak, which includes a ‘W’ against UK. South Carolina, the three seed, has its best team in over a decade, and is set to make its first NCAA Tournament since 2004. LSU has a little forward named Ben Simmons, who you’ve probably heard a bit about. This should be a very fun conference tournament. SEC Tournament ticket information is available here.Here is the full bracket: SEC Tournament games will be aired on SEC Network and ESPN.Favorite: KentuckyTexas A&M may have the top seed in the tournament, but Kentucky enters the event as the favorite to win the whole thing. Bovada has the Wildcats at +120 to win the SEC Tournament, while A&M is listed at +375. Kentucky has the top backcourt in the conference, and maybe the entire country. Jamal Murray has proven to be an incredibly dynamic shooting guard, scoring an even 20 points a game from all over the court. The freshman out of Canada is shooting 45-percent from the floor, and 42-percent from three, and he’s incredibly difficult to keep out of the lane. He’s joined by SEC Player of the Year contender Tyler Ulis, one of basketball’s best lead guards. Ulis averages 16.6 points and 7.3 assists per game, and is a fantastic floor general for John Calipari’s ‘Cats. The X-factor for Kentucky is Skal Labissiere. The big man out of Haiti entered the year as a rival to fellow freshman Ben Simmons as the top newcomer to college basketball, but was largely a disappointment this season. However, he’s played two of his best games in the last week. Labissiere chipped in 11 points and eight boards in just 15 minutes in a win over Florida, and looked dominant against Simmons’ LSU Tigers, with 18 points, nine rebounds, and six blocks in 25 minutes in Kentucky’s 94-77 win. If Skal continues to improve, UK will be a difficult out in SEC play, and a menace in the Big Dance.Sleeper: Ole MissIf we look beyond the four teams that have byes into the quarterfinals, we’ll take Ole Miss as a potential sleeper. The Rebels can be a bit of a one-man show, but that one man can really fill up a box score. Stefan Moody, Ben Simmons’ choice for the SEC’s best point guard, leads the conference in scoring at 23.1 points per game. He’s a high-flyer, and he drops bombs from beyond the three-point arc. Ole Miss is far from a well-rounded team, but they have a game-breaking guard, and in one-off tournament basketball, a great point guard can absolutely take over, especially when he’s as skilled at scoring as Moody is.
QUEBEC — The governing Coalition Avenir Quebec has passed its first electoral test since winning the Oct. 1 provincial vote, easily capturing the riding of Roberval left vacant by former Liberal premier Philippe Couillard.With three-quarters of the votes counted in a byelection Monday, Coalition candidate Nancy Guillemette, director of a local mental-health organization, was well ahead with more than 50 per cent of the total.Premier Francois Legault joined Guillemette on stage to celebrate the win. On Twitter he wrote, “Thanks to this victory, we now have 75 elected members. Not bad for a new party!”Couillard had won the riding in Quebec’s Lac-Saint-Jean region by a wide margin Oct. 1, taking 42 per cent of the votes compared with 24 per cent for the second-place Coalition candidate, Denise Trudel.The seat has been empty since Couillard quit politics days after his party’s crushing loss.With the win, the Coalition Avenir Quebec, founded by Legault in 2011, has 75 seats in the 125-seat legislature. It is followed by the Liberals at 29 and the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire at 10 each. There is one Independent member.Parti Quebecois candidate Thomas Gaudreault was in second place Monday with about 18 per cent of the votes, and Liberal William Laroche had 15 per cent. Quebec solidaire candidate Luc-Antoine Cauchon was fourth with about 12 per cent, and three other candidates split the remainder.Just over a third of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to preliminary figures from Elections Quebec.The Canadian Press
Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press MONTREAL — The head of Bombardier Inc. is defending his move to lay off 5,000 workers — 3,000 of them in Canada — citing efficiency while leaving the door open to more job cuts down the line.“Yes, it is tough. And yes, many people do not like this. But the fact is we want to go and be a world-class organization, and we want to be at benchmark everywhere when it comes to revenue per employees,” chief executive Alain Bellemare told an investor conference in Toronto on Tuesday.“We are going to keep leaning out this business.”The comments were the first he’s spoken of the layoffs — or potential cuts ahead — since the airline announced major restructuring last Thursday.Bellemare did not specify where or when the positions would be cut, though Bombardier has said 2,500 workers in Quebec and 500 in Ontario will lose their jobs as part of his five-year plan to rein in costs, focus on rail and business jets and reduce the net long-term debt of US$9 billion.The restructuring, announced alongside Bombardier’s third-quarter earnings, is slated for completion within 18 months and for savings of $250 million annually.The announcement comes after mass layoffs over the past three years, with about 14,500 positions cut around the world in the aerospace and railway divisions.Union and opposition leaders decried the layoffs announced last week, with some demanding that executives renounce their salary bonuses.Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon called a special meeting of industry and union representatives in Montreal Monday to discuss the layoffs and find a path back to employment for affected workers. Bellemare did not attend, dispatching a pair of Bombardier executives in his stead.Despite agreeing to sell the Q-400 turboprops to Longview Aviation Capital for about US$300 million, Bellemare said he wants to keep making the airline’s CRJ regional jets to build up backlog, but will reassess later on.“The answer today is we want to keep this line going,” he said. “We might look at partnering, if it makes sense.”Bombardier shares fell to a new 52-week low, losing 20 cents or eight per cent at $2.30 in early afternoon trading.