CSP Exclusive Study: Hard to Handle

Effectively controlling cash top concern for retailers in study

By
Erik J. Martin, CSP Correspondent

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But Kayal is amazed that remote visibility/monitoring of safe activity wasn’t ranked higher than No. 5. “I think that will be ranked higher in future years because that’s what will help drive efficiencies and help you make day-to-day management decisions about forecasting,” he says.

Interestingly, there are four cash management devices/tools/processes that registered at least a 10-percentage-point change this year compared to last year for currently having that device/tool/process in place: separate coin/bill storage and access (58% in 2014, down from 72% in 2013); remote visibility/monitoring of safe activity (58% vs. 38%); remote visibility/ monitoring of cash positions (51% vs. 40%); and smart safes (30% vs. 42%).

Promise, Price of Better Tech

The marketplace continues to roll out new and improved technologies and innovations that can provide effective solutions for many of these cash concerns.

One of the biggest things that has happened over the past 12 months, Kayal says, is the deployment of dashboard technology, online tools and real-time reporting. “Stores now have better access to real-time information, helping them make better decisions,” says Kayal.

Ivey hopes to use these new tools soon. E-Z Mart is testing an audit service that tracks exceptions based off the POS video and special software that proactively alerts managers in real time via text of a suspicious transaction.

The latter is one of several high-tech cash-handling business intelligence capabilities that continue to interest survey respondents, including proactive alerting of out-of-compliance cash-handling behavior; trend analysis capabilities to prioritize business rule improvements; expanded leverage of centralized information across operations, finance, loss prevention and human resources; and cloud-based central repository of cash-handling information. Overall, 54% of those polled in the survey plan to create or enhance at least one of these capabilities in the next 12 months, with more multi-unit operators indicating they plan to do so for trend analysis (18% of multi-unit vs. 10% of single-store operators) and leverage of centralized information (13% vs. 6%).

Lindblom is particularly a big fan of proactive alerting, which he says can be more cost-effective than high-tech options such as smart safes. “Often, the products offered to retailers are bundled solutions that require selecting and committing to a smart safe, bank and an armored service that they’re locked into,” he says. “Smart safes cost as much as $10,000; then add in the cost of the armored service, and it can be very difficult to demonstrate the ROI.”

Many are not aware that there are lesser-cost technologies available nowadays, he says, such as “virtual retail management software solutions that interface with your existing devices, including video surveillance, and send you real-time alerts and warnings via email and text.”

Reading the Cabbage Leaves

Retailers can likely expect the same cash-handling and management concerns to reappear in future years, Rhoads says.

“Anytime you have a cash-intensive business, there’s always going to be an interest in stealing money, whether it’s robbery, internal theft or burglary,” says Rhoads. “The good news is that cash-management solutions providers are doing a better job of providing products and accessing key data and putting it out there in better ways that customers can use to run their operations.”

Kayal agrees. “Technology drives efficiencies in the cash supply chain, and smart safes, recyclers and cash-management systems will continue to play a larger role in the c-store’s and retailer’s footprint,” he says. “The economic benefits vs. cultural acceptance will always be part of the equation; however, the overall risk-mitigation factors these solutions provide should be the cornerstone for the decision criteria.”

Lastly, whether you’re a small operation or a larger chain, “you should also think about implementing or beefing up a loss-prevention department responsible for tracking and deterring internal and external theft,” says Ivey.

Cash-Handling Business Intelligence Improvements 
(Respondents who plan to focus on improvement in any of these areas in
the next 12 months, 1 store vs. 2 or more stores)
 
Proactive alerting of out-of-compliance cash handling behavior35% vs. 36%
Trend analysis capabilities to prioritize business rule improvements10% vs. 18%
Cloud-based central repository of cash-handling information7% vs. 9%
Expanded leverage of centralized information across operations, finance, LP and HR6% vs. 13%
Do not plan to focus on improvement in any of these areas51% vs. 42%

Source: CSP/Corporate Safe Specialists/FireKing Security Group 2014 cash management study

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