compliance case management

Every retailer wants to scale both their technological infrastructure and geographical footprint. This journey toward expansion, however, comes with its own set of risks. Compliance case management should not be overlooked.

  • Your business becomes more vulnerable to cyber non-compliance
  • The regulatory complexity increases since every country or state comes with its own employment laws and customer protection regulations
  • An increase in the number of third parties, weakened information security and disrupted operations increase the risk of non-compliance
  • Maintaining  a culture of compliance becomes more difficult when authority is decentralized and middle management is responsible for upholding policies
  • The lack of a centralized data system makes managing risks almost impossible

With so many risks of noncompliance hovering over every retail business, how can retailers ensure safe and compliant operations? The answer in three words: Compliance Case Management

Why Should Retail Businesses Focus on Compliance Case Management?

Compliance Case Management

At its core, a compliance case management system provides a foundation for retailers to stay compliant with applicable regulations, laws, and standards surrounding their industry. Compliance case management can be powerful and beneficial to retailers in ways including:

  • Being proactive with compliance. Case management helps retailers identify, investigate, and resolve risk areas to proactively adhere to laws and regulations surrounding their industry. Regulatory agencies want to see this if they ever pay a visit.
  • Show a brand is committed to compliance. Customers and investors alike choose to associate with companies that have a great image of compliance. Case management opens a window of clear visibility to threats, risks, and hotspots for management, ensures accountability and transparency, and demonstrates the brand’s commitment to compliance. 
  • Avoid losses. Compliance case management helps retail businesses spot and take potential steps to mend every potential risk before it translates into a major financial, reputational, and legal disaster. 
  • Improve the efficiency of compliance. Case management helps automate compliance-related tasks and streamline workflows associated with handling compliance areas (like reporting, investigation, and resolution) to ensure maintaining compliance is easy and efficient. 
  • Streamline operations across different locations. The system also ensures all risks and incidents are handled effectively, quickly, and consistently across multiple stores regardless of geographical variations and departments involved. 

Regulatory Compliance and Retail Compliance

compliance case management

Retail businesses face a mountain of challenges. These include handling different types of retail operations, hiring and onboarding employees, managing supply chain issues, loss prevention, and more. 

Surprisingly, many of these issues can be managed by simply adhering to legal and policy requirements that both retailers and vendors are already required to comply with. The two types of compliance requirements surrounding the retail industry include retail compliance and regulatory compliance. 

Retail Compliance 

Retail compliance – also known as vendor compliance – is about adhering to a set of requirements a retailer sets for vendor partners. Based on their inventory cycle and specific industry needs, different retailers have different requirements in place. For instance, a stationery supplies retailer might want a larger shipment before the start of a school year, whereas a home goods retailer’s biggest shipment order would fall in December to prepare for the holiday season. Crafting a distribution infrastructure can come with a variety of complexities. This is why retail compliance requires businesses to follow:

  • Rules for fulfilling warehouse handling
  • Specific guidelines for shipping and packaging 
  • Customer support processes 
  • Guidelines to handle supply chain in other retail settings including dropshipping and e-commerce 

Regulatory Compliance 

Vendors and retailers are required to adhere to legislation that is built to provide safe working conditions and protect workers. These regulations are referred to as regulatory compliance. Retail compliance legislation often varies based on the state or country where the retailer runs their business. 

In the event of non-compliance with these laws, every business (regardless of its size) can end up facing federal fines and other legal repercussions. Complying with these regulations not only helps retailers protect their workers and maintain compliance but they also demonstrate the brand’s commitment to compliance. The latter can be an important factor when it comes to attracting customers and stakeholders. 

A solid compliance case management system helps retailers become aware and comply with both retail and regulatory compliance. This helps them improve the way they run their businesses, scale efficiently, and avoid reputational, financial, and legal damages. 

Onboarding and Ongoing Training

As with businesses of all kinds, compliance in retail starts with hiring and onboarding. When hiring employees, retailers must emphasize their business’s focus on compliance and hire candidates that understand and value ethics. 

Aside from hiring a compliant workforce, it is critical to reinforce the importance of compliance by ensuring compliance training is an ongoing process. Laws surrounding retail compliance evolve constantly. When your team is not aware of the changes in laws, they could trigger compliance issues unknowingly. By ensuring compliance training is an effective and ongoing process, compliance case management software ensures everyone in the business remains on the same page as far as regulatory details are concerned. 

Ongoing training and case management can also reinforce three critical areas when it comes to compliance in retail: awareness, sanctions, and attitude. These three elements form a part of the theory of employees’ intent to comply. Employees cannot comply with policies if they are not aware of them in the first place. Sanctions help employees understand the repercussions of noncompliance. Finally, an employee’s attitude – whether positive or otherwise – towards compliance policies determines their willingness to stay in compliance. 

Root Cause Analysis

In many cases, a seemingly harmless incident gets neglected and continues to grow in the background. This incident then transforms into a full-blown loss that drains a company of its financial resources and damages its reputation.

Root Cause Analysis forms an integral analytical area of case management. It helps study and extract valuable conclusions on the root cause of a specific incident. During a root cause analysis process, retail businesses can deep dive into a specific incident and extract statistical oddities or patterns that would help uncover the root cause of the incident.  This, in turn, helps retail businesses predict and prevent future losses. 

Over to You! 

The risk of noncompliance is often very high. On the other hand, technology makes it endlessly easier to handle every noncompliance risk and ensure a retail business scales smoothly. A compliance case management system creates a centralized database to help retailers manage every compliance-related task with ease and efficiency. Managing regulations, ethical standards, and policies across all platforms and geographies can take a lot of work. The powerful automation of case management ensures your business not only saves a ton of time but also puts its best ethical foot forward at all times. 

Thank you for visiting RetailWire and make sure to check out one of our important retail topics about RFID Inventory Management.


Author Bio:  

Giovanni Gallo is the Co-CEO of Ethico, where his team strives to make the world a better workplace with compliance hotline services, sanction and license monitoring, and workforce eLearning software and services.

Growing up as the son of a Cuban refugee in an entrepreneurial family taught Gio how servanthood and deep care for employees can make a thriving business a platform for positive change in the world. He built on that through experience with startups and multinational organizations so ComplianceLine’s solutions can empower caring leaders to build strong cultures for the betterment of every employee and their community.

When he’s not working, Gio’s wrangling his four young kids, riding his motorcycle, and supporting education, families, and the homeless in the Charlotte community.

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