Sectors and industries with high proportions of cash transactions are increasingly shifting from manual cash drawers to automated cash handling and POS systems. The traditional cash office with labour-intensive cash handling is increasingly being replaced with so-called cash recycling systems, cash handling solutions that are precisely adapted to the user's processes and procedures and that offer more security while running in the background and significantly reducing the labour and time required. In recent years, S&N has developed its standard CETIS solution for use in conjunction with the wide range of hardware from Wincor Nixdorf to provide a solution that meets just about every wish for automated cash handling.
But users continue to push for further innovation. Some user groups, especially in retail, have been able to automate large parts of the back-office cash handling, but are still unable to automate cash handling in every aspect of their operations for technical, organisational and financial reasons. Retailers do not keep most of their cash in automated cash handling machines and manually move cash between locations. But retails users still want to keep track of this cash and its movements and have put forth the challenge of finding a way to automate this key part of their company's cash handling.
S&N has accepted the challenge and has added features to CETIS that meet these demanding requirements.
Tracking Cash-on-Hand and Cash Movements with CETIS
The requirements for this kind of advanced solution are quite demanding. First, an overview:
- Complete control of cash-on-hand at a single location
A business needs to be able to monitor and conduct operations with all of its cash-on-hand, especially including that outside of cash systems. This includes the cash in conventional systems, such as cash in a POS drawer, the existing stock of rolled coins, all cash taken in and cash floats in sales and slot machines, cash in access control systems (such as the Sanifair turnstiles at motorway service stations), safes for intermediate storage of money delivered by cash-in-transit companies (CIT or armoured trucks) or cash receipts taken from drawers before picked up by the CIT company.
- Complete control of cash flow at a single location
All movements of money between these storage locations or between one of these storage locations and the cash recycling systems integrated into the overall system must be fully documented and traceable. This begins with the delivery of the cash float, its distribution to individual drawers/POS and ends with monitoring the return flow of cash taken in and its removal by the CIT company. This allows one to know the total cash-on-hand at any moment, but also can be used for statistical analysis of cash flow to optimise delivery of cash floats or the delivery/pick-up frequency of the CIT company.
- Automation/semi-automation of back office cash processes
Integrating cash recycling systems with manually handled cash drawers can still result in some automated processes. This can include automated issuing of cash floats when opening a drawer, automated closing of a cash drawer with counting, testing for counterfeits and automatic synchronization with the ERP system, replenishing change, doing cash drops, and much more.
- Integration of CIT companies and banks into cash logistics
Organising the cooperation with these essential partners for a cash-based business has to be a part of the overall plan. CETIS will extrapolate historical data to determine when extra change will be required and automatically generate a suggested order or even order more cash itself. Cash taken in can be reported to a bank on a running basis, allowing the bank to credit the takings on the same day and making the cash available for business even before the CIT company picks it up.
Back office cash station: a complex operation
A variety of cash locations are supported with the following services:
At the back office cash station
Filling/emptying of automatic transport containers
The banknote transport containers for the self-checkouts are emptied/filled without manually handling the cash.
Doing cash drops and providing change for manual cash drawers and vending machines
Manual cash drawers and vending machines are emptied and filled with cash floats on a self-serve basis.
Filling and emptying safes
Dialogue functions are used to fill and empty money from conventional safes. In addition, cash can be transferred from back office to safe, even several safes in parallel.
Integration of specialised procedures and background systems
All cash handling processes performed in the back office are automatically rerouted to the relevant background process.
At an automated cash drawer
Automated cashier functions
The cashier has no access to the cash. Customers themselves insert cash and remove their change.
The current quantity of banknotes is reduced to the predetermined cash float with an automated transport container removing surplus notes to the back office cash station.
Filling with change
Change (banknotes and coins) is added automatically to the self-checkout drawer and sorted without any cashier handling.
The automated checkout can be completely emptied as required. The notes are removed by the automatic transport container, while the coins are removed manually.
At the conventional POS
Manual cashier functions
Conventional cashier operations remain unchanged.
Banknotes are manually removed and taken to the back-office cash station. They are counted and assigned to the corresponding drawer.
Filling with change
Change (banknotes and coins) is issued by the back office cash station and manually sorted, both when the drawer is started at the beginning of the shift and any refills during the shift.
Complete emptying/closing out the cash drawer
The holdings in the cash drawer are counted and stored in the back office cash station. Money that cannot be counted by machine (coin rolls) is also handled here.
For safes and vending machines
Filling and removing cash
In addition to filling and removing cash from safes at the back office cash station, safes are also equipped with web-based dialogue functions at administrative workstations. These allow changes to cash reserves to be made without the involvement of the cash station.
Cash reserves in safes consist not only of banknotes and coins, but also coin rolls, bundles of banknotes and cash bags with varying content.
Cash drops for vending machines
For vending machines that do not or cannot store cash at the cash station, the web-based interface provides dialogue functions for storing the cash drop in a safe.
Cash movement functions
Cash can be shifted between safes. This function can be used, for example, to provide a different branch of the same company with change.
By counting all cash on hand making sure no movement of cash goes undocumented, the goal of getting cash handling under control is largely achieved, as evidenced by the implementation of this new solution by our customers who worked on elaborating and developing this concept with us. Once again, day-to-day use of technology in the real world results in new ideas that complement and expand the overall concept and refine it to meet everyday needs, large and small. This is why regular conversations with our users are so important to the continued development of the Backoffice Cash Station.