By Matt Pillar, editor in chief
When he’s not on duty as a multi-district LP Manager at Genuine Parts Company (which operates more than 6,000 NAPA stores nationwide), Christopher McGourty is pouring his energy into the NAORCA (National Anti-Organized Retail Crime Association), a new professional organization he founded this year with the help of the LP professional community.
“NAORCA sprung up from a discussion group I started on LinkedIn last year,” explains McGourty. The quick growth of the group – week-over-week membership growth of 70% has brought the total to nearly 2,000 current members – only validated McGourty’s assessment that the industry needs a dedicated anti-ORC voice. More specifically, he saw power in the collaboration an anti-ORC association could facilitate at the field level. “There are plenty of executive-level associations for LP professionals, but what sets us apart is our field-level focus on ORC,” he says. In the greater context of retail LP, ORC is still a relatively new phenomenon that we’re still learning how to identify and counter. “We know that to successfully combat this type of crime, the industry needs tools and skills that are a bit different from those we’ve used to combat traditional sources of internal and external shrink,” McGourty explains. “These are often financial crimes, they involve fraud and counterfeiting, and they’re much more forensics-intensive than typical shoplifting cases. As such, they require new tools, skills, and increased collaboration among private enterprises and law enforcement groups.”
McGourty’s own experience as an ORC investigator with TJX underscores the point. In his tenure there, he forged relationships with the Secret Service, postal service investigators, and state and federal financial crimes task forces, in addition to local law enforcement agencies. In developing NAORCA, McGourty recognized the value of law enforcement expertise and decided to extend the benefit of association membership to law enforcement professionals and retirees at no charge. “NAORCA benefits private retail enterprise, so it will be a privately-funded association,” he explains.
The need for an organization like NAORCA is lost on no one. Last year, the NRF reported in its eighth annual ORC study that an all-time high 96% of retailers were the victims of ORC in 2011-2012.
NAORCA board members are currently developing educational programming that’s laser-focused on training retail LP professionals to become ORC specialists, as well as Web-based software tools and applications designed to help LP executives manage ORC cases and share ORC data. McGourty says he also envisions the association as an advocate for ORC specialization among LP professionals and a lobbying voice for anti-ORC legislation at the state and federal levels.
Membership applications are available at the interim NAORCA site (www.naorca.org), and McGourty expects the new, official NAORCA Web site to launch November 1st. Congratulations and good luck to McGourty and his colleagues. Their initiative against ORC – which the FBI pegs at a $30 billion per year problem – deserves your support.