End Users '20 under 40' 2017—Dave Harben

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dave Harben, 35

Enterprise leader of asset protection, Ascena Retail Group

Pataskala, Ohio

As the enterprise leader of asset protection for Ascena Retail Group, Dave Harben works with a team to oversee a total of 4,800 stores.

“My responsibility is leading a team of territory AP leaders as we basically develop and execute programs that build awareness, safety and integrity across our company. These roles are fairly new—they started back in January,” Harben said.

Ascena has eight different brands: dressbarn, maurices, Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lou & Grey. “Each brand had their own asset protection and loss prevention security department,” Harben said, and in January 2017 Ascena decided to streamline the process. “Now, we cover all of the brands. … Most of our time has been [spent] pulling data together on what each brand was doing specifically and rebuilding a new AP program for a $7 billion company.”

Harben and his team members focus on giving the right education and information to store leaders, “so that even when we are not around, they know how to operate properly,” he said.

Harben added, “That leaves us time to focus on more of the bigger issues, whether they are stores that have high shrink, large internal or external theft investigations that we need to handle, large safety investigations that we need to have—it’s just another way to be a little strategic with the assets that we have.”

Harben highlighted analytics—more specifically prescriptive analytics—as an up and coming technology, one that will help people to be more efficient. “You can get a lot of data from very different data pools, and you get a lot of information, and it gives you the ability to react very quickly,” he said.