"It has been a mind-blowing journey!" says Ian Jeffrey, managing director of The Lodge Group.
Established in the USA in 1919, Lodge expanded rapidly throughout the world and operations were started in countries such as the United Kingdom, where the international head office is today, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Holland. In 1964 current chairman of Lodge international, John Lodge, travelled to South Africa as a 25 year old, setting about to persuade the cream of SA retailing that Lodge Service could save them money and add to their profits. Lodge succeeded in doing this and by mid 1964 clients such as OK, CNA, Stuttafords, Ansteys and Garlicks were on board.
"In the first year of operation, Lodge Service saved OK over R900 000, which at that stage, represented 35% of the retail groups' profit," says Jeffrey. Shortly thereafter the Cape Town office opened and in 1971 Errol Ashman, local chief executive officer of the group, took over the reigns of Lodge South Africa.
"Today we are celebrating 40 years of unwavering success, with exciting plans for the future. We have also secured an excellent track record in the event security sector, including the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Children's Christmas function and many more," continues Jeffrey.
Being the leader in the local retail industry, Lodge boasts an impressive client base including Pick 'n Pay, Clicks, Woolworths and Shoprite.
Also in 1971, Lodge introduced a new service - EMPS (employers' mutual protection service), which supplies workforce integrity solutions to small and big businesses, especially focusing on the retail sector. EMPS provides workable options to identify dishonest employees, prevent malpractice in the workplace and much more. "A demand for EMPS grew rapidly and today they operate as an independent brand within the group," says Jeffrey.
REACT Surveys, the third company brand, was established in 1994 and is celebrating its tenth birthday this year. The brand mainly concentrates on implementing specialist marketing research including mystery shopping, standard audits, reward and recognition programmes, fieldwork and capture services and much more. REACT has been providing excellent research services to clients such as YUM (KFC), McDonalds, Cinemark, Clicks, Pick 'n Pay and others over the past decade.
Last year, Lodge once again showcased its leadership by empowering the security industry through Lodge Sibumbene Empowa Solutions - an empowerment partner focusing on manpower related security functions. Headed by Bernard Khoza, the company not only provides clients with a complete security assessment, but also aims to implement a solution that is sustainable in terms of loss reduction.
"Looking ahead, 2004 is filled with exciting new initiatives such as our national birthday roadshow in March, during which we will re-introduce our service offering to the local market. We have also embarked on a vigorous marketing and public relations campaign that will complement and implement our company vision and mission over the next few months," continues Jeffrey.
Lodge has become known for its innovation and product leadership in the security industry and continues to provide products and services that are ahead of their time. "Our vision is to be the first choice partner in loss reduction solutions," says Jeffrey, "and we do this by being the first company people call when they have a security problem."
An exciting initiative in this regard is the introduction of Hot Product Controllers, the aim of which is to reduce losses and increase sales, by ensuring that one person controls the movement of high risk stock from receiving to shelf replenishment. The Hot Product Controller teams have handheld PDAs with GPRS capability, so that stock counts can be immediately up-loaded to a website, providing immediate, realtime access to stock count information, resulting in early problem identification and action.
"Since the pilot was launched earlier this year, there have been significant reductions in losses relating to high risk stock, and increases in sales. This is a win-win for retailers and suppliers alike. This new offering also forms part of our becoming a trusted partner in loss reduction," says Jeffrey.
"We have come a long way, and I am extremely proud about the fact that after introducing the local market to loss reduction methods in the '60s, Lodge continues to set trends through ongoing initiatives," concludes Jeffrey.
For more information contact The Lodge Group, 011 475 1300.
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