If you’re an athletics fan you’ll know that the world relay championships took place recently in the Bahamas. As a spectator, these can be the most exciting, but also the most frustrating events to watch. You can take the four fastest runners in the world, but they won’t necessarily make a successful relay team. As well as sheer pace, a good relay team is one that gets the changeovers right. In other words, however fast you run it will come to nothing if you fail to hand over the baton (within the correct parameters) to the next runner. At Rio when the US 4X100 metre team that included Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay was disqualified it was the ninth time in 21 years that this had happened to the US team in major championships.
In many ways the retail cash chain is like a relay and there are a number of ‘interfaces’ where it can all go wrong. The challenge is to keep the cash moving in perpetual motion and to avoid slow and ineffectual changeovers. As in a relay, good changeovers can give you a competitive edge.
Put simply, in the retail environment the speed and security with which cash moves through the handling process will determine how much value is retained. Cash standing still loses money. The challenge, then, is to keep that cash in perpetual motion.
How can you speed up the passage of cash from customer payment to your bank account? In the traditional process there are a number of ‘staff touchpoints’ and security challenges that can slow down the movement of cash. Think of a runner slowing down and making the necessary adjustments before handing over the baton.
In a recent article our colleagues in Australia explained how ‘In the front office staff physically verify and count notes when they are presented for payment and provide customers with the correct change. They also handle cash in checking amounts in their tills at the beginning and end of each shift. When the cash is transferred to the back office it is again counted and verified prior to deposit in a safe and will again be verified upon withdrawal and before the cash is hand-delivered to a CIT operator. The CIT operator may recount and temporarily store the cash in their own premises. Upon delivery to the bank further checks will take place before money is credited to the retailer’s account.’
With the right technology you can keep the cash moving. You can make improvements at each stage, optimising the process from cashier and self-checkout counters, to the back office, to the bank. The key words are – Automate Authenticate, Secure and Accelerate. Improvements can be made at each stage, whether at the point of sale (using technology to verify and count cash), reducing the number of journeys to transport cash in-store (and ensuring cash is transferred securely), eliminating the need to count cash manually in the back office or enhancing the interface with the CIT provider.
In the relay the aim is to transfer the baton safely, seamlessly and as quickly as possible to the finish line. When it works well the rewards are great, when it doesn’t you’re an ‘also ran’. With the retail cash cycle, getting it right will result in cost savings, better use of resources, improved customer service and increased productivity, greater security that can eliminate shrinkage and accelerated time to value.