5 Shifts Driving Cash Automation

The U.S. economy is struggling to recover after more than two years of upheaval. As the pandemic recedes, the nation faces several social and economic shifts. These changes will steer the direction of commerce and shape our new normal. Hospitality, fast food, gaming, grocery, cannabis, and retail banking outlets must pivot to accommodate new customer and worker behaviors. Here are five shifts driving cash automation:

Labor Shortages

In the latter half of 2021, the “Great Resignation” rippled across many sectors. The phenomenon decimated lower-paying hospitality and retail jobs. By the time the dust settled, over 1 million hospitality workers and nearly 5% of retail workers had quit. Retailers report that it is now almost impossible to hire enough staff to keep up with business.

The cash automation solution:

Retailers can deploy cash automation machines quickly and fill many of these menial jobs. Front-of-house transactions and backroom counting activities are more reliable, accurate, and faster when done by machines. Cash handling devices such as recyclers, smart safes, and kiosks remove the unpredictability of human labor and reduce employment costs. Businesses can offer better wages to a much smaller workforce while improving the bottom line.

Increases in Crime

From coast to coast, criminal activity is increasing at an alarming rate. Businesses are reporting a surge in crimes from armed robbery to cash shrink from employees. Even counterfeit operations are in high gear, churning out near-perfect reproductions of U.S. banknotes.

The cash automation solution:

Cash automation machines act as deterrents to criminal activity in many ways. Armed robbers don’t want to risk the time needed to break into smart safes, cash recyclers, or kiosks. These machines accurately track money flow inside the business, allowing managers to see which employee used the machine, total transactions, and total cash deposited or withdrawn. Shrink from theft or human error is immediately visible. Built-in scanners also detect counterfeit notes and separate them for removal.

Inflation

Although financial experts proclaimed that inflation would be transitory, it has surged to historic levels with little relief in sight. Everything from materials to labor is more expensive than ever before.

The cash automation solution:

Cash recycling hardware is a fixed investment that will last for many years. A self-service kiosk will not ask for a raise or drive up health insurance premiums. Automating all cash handling activities is a wise investment that will quickly pay for itself.

Increased Tech Acceptance

The pandemic sped up the acceptance of automation, self-service, and technology in retail spaces. Customers and workers are less resistant to using machines to complete transactions. Even older Americans have become accustomed to using technology to make purchases. Retail outlets that do not recognize this shift in consumer attitudes may get left behind.

The cash automation solution:

By now, most consumers are familiar with the process of using a point of sale kiosk. Many people prefer the self-service option. These customer-facing kiosks require fewer tellers to oversee transactions, saving money without diminishing service. Workers can spend more time on high-value activities such as interacting with customers or upselling merchandise.

Touch-Free Transactions

Many nations worldwide are beginning to look at Covid as endemic instead of pandemic and are adjusting their regulations accordingly. However, many of the lessons and habits from the pandemic may take time to recede. Regular cleaning of surfaces, aversion to contact, and a preference for “touch-free” options will likely remain for some time.

The cash automation solution:

Certain customers may continue to avoid excessive touchpoints, particularly during the annual cold and flu season. Customer-facing kiosks and self-service checkout stations give customers and workers a touch-free option to complete their transactions.

Avivatech Partnership

CIMA Announces New Strategic Partnership with Avivatech

Houston, TX, January 2021 – Avivatech, LLC and CIMA Cash Handling America, Inc. are pleased to announce a strategic partnership in the US retail cash management marketplace. This partnership is the result of CIMA’s long-lasting relationship with Benchmark Technology Group, which was acquired by Digital Check Corp., in February 2021.  Shortly thereafter Avivatech was announced as a cash automation solution provider.

This relationship enables Avivatech to provide its clients with CIMA’s innovative back-office recycling products such as its self-sealing stacking bag technology across its cash recycling and smart safe portfolio.

“CIMA and AvivaTech represent two of the industry’s foremost innovators. Combining Avivatech’s software solutions with CIMAs innovative cash management products will offer retail environments with a seamless back-office cash management solution,” states Vik Devjee, Vice President of CIMA Cash Handling America.

”I am pleased to have a company like CIMA embrace our retail cash automation strategy and be willing to partner with us on bringing state-of-the-art hardware and software technologies to the marketplace”, according to Jeff Hempker, President at Avivatech.  “Together, our products help retailers automate and track their cash wherever they count.”

About Avivatech

Avivatech delivers a comprehensive solution of the best products, training resources, and dedicated support technicians for cash automation and check automation management for banking and retail environments. We help our clients advance and achieve their goals through our adaptive custom solutions and services. avivatech.com

 

 

CIMA Last Mile CASH MANAGEMENT Website

The Last Mile of Cash Management

What Does “Last Mile” Mean?

The Last Mile typically refers to the final stage in a commercial, industrial, or delivery process. The term was first used in the telecommunications industry to describe the final stretch of wiring that delivers services to customers. Telecom companies realized that the last mile was the least efficient and expensive part of the installation and delivery process. Other industries soon identified most of their own “last mile” problems. For retail, manufacturing, transportation, and supply chain, the last mile refers to the challenges that arise when a product goes from the final distribution center to the customer. This final part of the delivery tends to be the most complicated, inefficient, and expensive part of the entire operation.

Did you know cash management also has a last mile problem?

Cash management solutions have been around for a long time. Businesses can choose from various smart safes, cash recyclers, and other machines that validate, count, sort, deposit, and dispense banknotes. The technology and process are familiar to almost anyone who has worked in retail, hospitality, gaming, or other industries that accept and process cash. Let’s follow the path of cash management through an establishment:

  • At the start and end of each shift, check the tills in and out (dispensed/deposited)
  • Count, validate, and sort the cash in the back office
  • Place the cash in a smart safe or recycler
  • The CIT crew removes the cash cassette from the machine
  • Cash must be bundled, bagged, and sealed before being transported
  • Cash is transported by the CIT and processed at the depot
  • At first glance, this may seem like a reasonably efficient and straightforward cycle of events.

However, a closer inspection shows that the store’s final steps of cash management are fraught with inefficiencies and expenses.

A typical cash recycler or smart safe utilizes bulky cash cassettes that require significant manual effort. The CIT crew, with store management supervision, removes the cassettes from the machines. Next, they must bundle and bag the notes. Not only is this process time-consuming, but it requires additional staff to supervise. It also exposes the business to human error or theft.

In some cases, actual store staff removes and bundles the cash. Once the cash arrives at the CIT depot, the bundles of cash or loose notes must be processed, adding time and labor costs. We call this manual end process “The Last Mile of Cash Handling.”

CIMA Innovation Streamlines the Last Mile

CIMA smart safes and cash recyclers use an entirely different technology. CIMA machines deposit notes and tightly stack them into a heat-sealed bag inside the safe. The result looks like a shrink-wrapped block of notes. No more bulky, breakable cassettes! Do away with the cassette system and realize greater efficiencies:

  • Less risk of theft or human error
  • More transparency and accountability for cash transactions
  • Minimize third-party fees, such as CIT fees and banking fees
  • Reduce cash-room/back-office activities and related costs
  • Eliminate manual bag processing for CIT collection
  • Cut depot processing time significantly. No need to deal with bundles of notes.

CIMA’s self-sealing stacking bag technology addresses many of the issues that arise in the last mile of cash management. This innovative technology is available across all product categories, including teller cash recyclers, smart safes, recyclers, and customer-facing recycling solutions.

 

Experienced Cash Handling for Dispensaries

Experienced Cash Automation for Dispensaries

The future of pot looks very green

On New Year’s Day 2014, Colorado opened the first regulated recreational marijuana market. In the years since, recreational cannabis has been legalized in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia and the territory of Guam. Recent surveys show that nearly 22% of U.S. adults have used some form of cannabis in the previous 12 months. Seniors citizens are the fastest-growing population of marijuana users. There is an exponential growth of retail dispensaries opening their doors to serve the growing number of consumers. According to industry research, the U.S. cannabis industry will reach $30 billion annually by 2025.
 

Jumping on the bud bandwagon

The cannabis market is attracting a flood of peripheral businesses claiming to address the unique needs and solve the specific problems of retail dispensaries. From technology to shop fitting to security and cash automation, vendors are jockeying for their own market share. Some of these support businesses are legitimate. Others see dollar signs and are jumping onto a lucrative bandwagon. The market is becoming crowded with startups, fly-by-night businesses, and enthusiastic entrepreneurs clamoring to offer a solution to any number of dispensary challenges.
 

Buyer beware

While startups and entrepreneurs are undoubtedly the lifeblood of technology and innovation, cannabis businesses must be careful with cash automation.  Take time to research and evaluate if a particular company is genuinely solving a problem that no other vendor in the space has already addressed. Or, is this a money grab to take advantage of the huge demand?  If a business offers an inferior solution to gain market share, dispensary operators can create long-term problems. It is up to dispensary owners and managers to conduct thorough due diligence. 
 

Cash automation and cannabis

Dispensaries in the current market can only accept payment in cash due to federal restrictions.  As a result, dispensaries have invested in a range of solutions to collect, manage, account for, and secure the considerable volume of cash that passes through the business each day. Providers of everything from simple safes and currency counting machines to more sophisticated full-blown cash automation solutions are racing to the market to convince dispensary owners that their product is better than the next. The demand is increasing, and owners need immediate answers. Companies with little experience in cash management are making grand promises yet falling short of expectations. 
 

The right partner can make or break your business

Dispensary owners, take note – do your homework before you decide on a cash automation solution. Do you want to put your cash – your lifeblood –  in the hands of an inexperienced startup? It falls on you to find providers with a confirmed track record of delivering solutions and solving complex cash handling problems. At the very least, you should look for the following qualities:
 
  • Proven track record
  • Excellent customer service and support
  • Comprehensive line of products 
  • Integrated hardware and software solutions
Cash automation management in retail is not new. Cannabis dispensaries are fundamentally retail businesses with a more significant cash management headache. The cash automation industry is a mature market of providers. Many have been around for decades. They know how to deliver and support sophisticated cash management machines. Leverage that experience and solve your cash management problems with a trusted partner, not an inexperienced opportunist. 
 
“If you’re like me, I was going crazy dealing with the cash in my retail locations. My life changed after I put the CIMA cash machines in. Cash is secure, my staff is on the floor with customers, not dealing with cash issues in the back office. I would never open a store without these!”
Tim Denha, CFO, JARS

Cash Management – What You Need to Know

Managing Cash for Businesses

Cash handling in retail stores is essential, but some business owners don’t realize that poor cash management could be costing them a lot of money. Costs can be in the form of increased labor, mistakes, and theft. Cash automation addresses these and other associated costs of handling cash. By incorporating machines, retail outlets can prepare floats, provide change and perform end-of-shift balancing without manual handling and do this far more accurately.

What Is Cash Automation?

Automation involves implementing at least one of several different kinds of cash handling machines to take over the work of humans. The cash automation hardware has program software that works with a company’s processes and financial institutions to improve accuracy. There are several kinds of cash management machines available:

Smart Safes

A smart safe is an excellent solution for businesses that store any amount of cash on site. The machine accepts, validates, records, and stores cash securely. Unlike traditional safes, smart safes connect to the internet or cash management technology. The smart safes reconcile the cash automatically, so employees don’t spend time on reconciliation at the close of each day. An intelligent safe can record many data points:

  • Who deposited the cash, and at what time
  • How much cash is stored by denomination
  • Who removed the cash

 

Back-Office Recyclers

In a high cash volume retail establishment, staff members spend valuable time in the back-office cash room. Under management supervision, employees prepare floats, conduct drawer swaps, count, reconcile, and facilitate collection by the CIT company. There are many opportunities for mistakes, miscalculations, and theft. A back-office cash recycler streamlines the entire process and transmits accurate records directly to the CIT or financial institution.

Point of Sale Recyclers

Placing a POS recycling machine at the checkout line allows the use of the device by cashiers or directly by customers. The point of sale cash recycler accepts money and returns change for each transaction. It also stores excess bills, checks for counterfeit notes, and records all transactions. As self-service becomes commonplace, customer-facing recyclers can reduce the amount of labor needed to handle customer payment transactions.

Why Automate Cash Handling?

Cash automation streamlines procedures and offers many benefits:

Labor – The more time employees spend handling, sorting, and counting cash, the more it costs the business. Cash automation means that fewer people spend less time handling transactions.

Security – On a busy day, cashiers might handle large amounts of cash, posing a security risk from external and internal theft. By automating cash procedures and securing surplus banknotes, businesses can add a layer of protection from criminal activity.

Accuracy – Cash automation reduces the number of human errors. Cash handling machines will count, sort, and tally banknotes to prepare the deposit faster and more accurately than an employee could.

Accountability – Cash management technology keeps better records and makes it easier to track how much cash runs through the business. Automation also improves oversight.

Ultimately, any business that manages cash can take advantage of automating manual cash handling processes. Reducing the costs and risks associated with managing cash can deliver significant bottom-line benefits.

Secure Cash & Transport Assoc. Member Spotlight – Vik Devjee

We are pleased to feature SCTA member, CIMA Cash Handling America Inc., and its Vice President, Vik Devjee, in this month’s member spotlight.

Q: How does your company work within the cash industry? 

A: CIMA Cash Handling America Inc. is the wholly-owned US subsidiary of CIMA S.p.A. (Italy). CIMA is a global manufacturer of cash handling solutions that help businesses significantly reduce the cost of managing cash. We supply a broad range of smart safes, back office/front of store recycling systems, and software to businesses across banking/financial institutions, retail, hospitality, and gaming.

Q: What is the one thing you want other SCTA member organizations to know about your company? 

A: We manufacture a broad range of cash automation, fit-for-purpose solutions that align with any specified requirements. We do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s why we have the industry’s most diverse range of cash handling solutions.

Q: What drew your organization to become a member of the SCTA? 

A: The networking opportunity to become better connected to key industry players in the cash industry. Last year’s conference was my first SCTA conference, and it certainly validated the diversity of the audience from end-users, to vendors, to industry alliances.

Q: What are the biggest changes you expect in the future of the cash industry? Why? 

A: At a high level, I see much greater investment across all segments in the automation of cash and across all technology categories (TCRs, smart safes, back-office recyclers, consumer-facing recyclers). The cost of technology has come down, greater competition, and increased labor costs are all drivers towards a faster ROI and greater adoption of solutions.

Q: What is an exciting development in the industry you’ve recently seen? What excites you about it? 

A: I truly believe there will be a significant shift towards consumer-facing cash handling applications with automating the cash payment process at the point-of-sale (traditional lane or self-service kiosk). Traditional methods of automating the cash handling process and the transportation of cash will be challenged due to COVID-19 and the increased costs of managing cash. Staff/customer safety and automation will be top of mind for businesses.

Q: What are the biggest challenges the cash industry will face in the next 1-3 years? Why? 

A: I think the ongoing battle of cash vs. cashless will continue. I strongly believe more states will impose restrictions on retail businesses that refuse to accept cash. However, cash as a payment instrument will continue to face more pressure as other platforms enter the market, and existing digital ones mature. As a result, reducing the cost of managing cash for businesses will be more important over the next 3 years and so we will certainly see increased spend.