Dispelling Oz

by Johnny Custer, CFI, LPC, LPQ – COO Freeing Returns

Posted on August 11, 2023 at 9:00 AM

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It’s the end of the year… or the end of the period, or inventory cycle, or whatever period of time that may arise, providing time for self-reflection and adjustment of programs / initiatives.

The “Oz Complex” exists throughout the retail industry. While unintentional in its adoption, it is absolutely an ongoing and actively enabled phenomenon.

Years of generational training, SOP adjustments and amendments – without full updates and proper training/development/follow up have created gaps.

These gaps exist from retailer to retailer;

From internal region to region

Store to store

Different field leaders and managers

Even from peer to peer in a single location.

Rather than base our belief in how well a company is performing on the distance between these gaps, we look to just a few performance indicators. We focus on sales, net profit and shrinkage, to name a few.

When these measurables look good, we assume that the gaps in understanding and execution are minimal, and typically reward everyone for a job well done.

That is, until next year when the bounce-back effect happens. Then we go back to the drawing board.

This is the Oz Complex. So long as everything looks good on the surface, no need to check behind the curtain, right? After all, everyone thinks, “I have a team of hard working, highly intelligent, motivated leaders.” And you do. Make no mistake about that.

They have legitimately great ideas and develop legitimately great programs and initiatives. Unfortunately, the actual execution, realization, and success management of these programs and initiatives are all predicated on the ability, willingness, and follow-through of the people in the field.

This fact brings us back to the curtain. It’s still there, and so are all the realities that live behind it.

In a good year, you may never have the urge to peek back there. However, in a bad one, you want all the answers now, but because everyone forgot about it, nobody knows how to get to those answers. So, you end up in the same reverse engineering meetings trying to figure out what went wrong last year rather than, again, looking at the cultural issues hiding with the wizard.

Freeing Returns goes behind that curtain. Because our program is based on identification of patterns and trends, and their correlation to profits, we have no need to call out or embarrass people. We are simply going to help you find these embedded issues and eliminate them.

Our analytics tackle the data, platform issues, training breakdowns, and executional shortcomings that exist behind that curtain-- all leading to measurable savings to your bottom line.

Freeing Returns: Returning Half-a-TRILLION Dollars Back into the Hands of Retailers!

About the Author
Johnny brings a retail pedigree and cutting-edge solution development experience to the team. His data-driven approach to retail loss prevention has seen tremendous success in helping executives across multiple verticals add more than $1B back to their bottom line.