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Banking ties, technology help cut float,
prep time for cash deposits
By Angel Abcede
hile credit-card fees prompt Fred Purches, senior vice president of gins get squeezed.
retailer cries of woe, the other strategic solutions and project man- Still, Purches says workplace safety
end of the game—cash man- agement for Brink’s Inc., Dallas.“It’s as and cash-management efficiencies often
agement—remains an unsung burden if you moved the bank to the store.” transcend cost, even for smaller com-
of reconciliation, prep time for Of course, cutting the time needed panies. “We have customers across the
deposits and the dreaded exposed walk to reconcile shift drawers and physi- spectrum,” Purches says, citing how
to the nearby bank. cally make deposits, as well as the some Brink’s customers own one store
Developing technologies and grow- potential reduction of float time, are and others have thousands.“The notion
ing ties between cash-management benefits any retailer would want. The of using an armored-car service ends
providers and banks appear to be ush- concern becomes cost because, at least up being a philosophical decision for
ering in the day of automated deposits, for Brink’s, what the company calls … store [management]. Something will
in which putting cash into the store safe’s “same-day credit” for cash is bundled happen; maybe someone gets robbed.
bill acceptor replaces that back-office into the larger package that includes There’s a financial exposure, cost and a
counting and that risky trip to the bank. armored-car service. psychological component.”
“We’ve partnered up with banks so Cost can be an even greater issue
that [retailers] can get credit for money for smaller chains or single-store own- Fast Food, Fast Money
in the safe, whether or not that money ers, who need to watch operational C-stores hold more than 50% of the
has been brought to the bank yet,” says costs, especially when gasoline mar- 6,000 safes currently installed with
some portion of Brink’s bundled offer.
MONEY MAN: The armored-car service has evolved Same-day credit has been an option for
into a cash-management solution for many retailers. about a year. While Purches could not
say how many c-store retailers have
moved to the same-day-credit func-
tionality, he says customers have defi-
nitely started to add the service and
others are considering it. One large
chain that has publicly announced its
use of the service is quick-serve ham-
burger chain Wendy’s, Dublin, Ohio.
For Wendy’s, the service is not quite
“same day,” with store safes getting
polled at 3 a.m. and then the availabil-
ity of funds coming hours later with
the next business day. Brink’s officials
say it’s an optional setup. Banks typi-
cally close out the day at 6 p.m., so for
retailers who prefer a faster turnaround,
M a r c h 2 0 0 8 CSP 113
B esides the key benefits of reducing float and increasing safety, retailers hoping to
thoroughly investigate the options of armored-car service and same-day credit for
cash deposited in store safes can evaluate savings on the cash-management end. and prepares the pile for deposit.
Ed McGunn, CEO of Corporate Safe Specialists, Posen, Ill., says playing with the “Sometimes there are discrepancies
numbers can give retailers a picture of how such an expense—which could range from and then arguments between the clerk
$500 to $600 per month per store—could balance out in the end. The subtotal is calculated and the manager, even if it’s just $20 is
by taking into account the counting, preparing and delivering of cash deposits with a missing,” Purches of Brink’s says. “It’s
supervisor at $11 per hour and a manager at $9 per hour. not a clean process.”
Balancing cash in the till: 1.75 hours The entire cycle takes a manager
Preparing bank deposit: +0.75 hours anywhere from two to four hours a day
Delivering deposit to bank: +0.75 hours and ends with the manager walking or
Subtotal: $65 driving the deposit to the bank.
Average cash loss per day per store: +$5 Over the years, safe manufacturers
Total average traditional cash-management $70 (which over a decade ago included
cost per store per day: Brink’s) have developed computerized
Monthly tabulation: $70 x 30 days = $2, 00
1 product lines that improved in terms
of software year after year. Hardware
also has evolved, with options includ-
a 5 p.m. poll could clear funds in the related activities, which included count- ing safes that accepted stacks of cash or
safe that very day. In any case, estimates ing the till up to three times a day.He says ones that had two bill acceptors built
are the service will save the fast-food managers who were better skilled at get- into them, Purches says.
chain $3 million annually. ting freshly made meals to customers The drive to automate safes sprang
Chris Manning, director of loss pre- cited counting and reconciling cash one from a desire among retailers to man-
vention and security for Wendy’s, says of the most difficult parts of their jobs. age their equipment remotely, says Ed
that on average, store employees previ- For Manning, the chain tested and McGunn, CEO of Corporate Safe Spe-
ously spent 27 hours a week doing cash- implemented the service for myriad cialists (CSS), Posen, Ill. Brink’s uses
reasons,“but mainly to save on fees and CSS hardware as part of its solution.
costs associated with banking,” he says. “For us, it started with customers want-
“Life safety and loss reduction were also ing to change the alarm codes
instrumental in our ROI model.” remotely,” McGunn says.“But once you
put a computer into the safe, you could
Getting There do things like tabulate deposits.”
For the c-store industry, Bill validation advanced as bill read-
which runs the gamut in ers became more functional and
terms of electronic sophisti- robust. “Instead of manual deposits,
cation, the traditional cash- with a bill validation [device], you
management process starts with a shift could see every single note go—in real
cashier clipping bills together and drop- time—into the safe,” McGunn says, cit-
ping them into a safe near the register. ing how the advancements really began
At the end of the day, a manager or around the year 2000. “So now, all of
supervisor opens the safe, takes the a sudden, store owners had this power.”
accumulated cash into the back office
Still, while technology advancements
SAFE EVOLUTION: Computerized systems
have made today’s safes capable of remote began to open the door to things such
applications, including same-day credit for as same-day credit for cash deposits, a
cash deposits made at store safes. vital piece was missing. For Brink’s, that
114 CSP M a r c h 2 0 0 8
Today, many banks allow Brink’s to Consolidates banking relation-
provide this service to retailers.“The bank ships. Retailers no longer have to pick
needs to agree to do this as well,” Purches a bank based on how close a branch is
says.“It’s the bank’s willingness to say,‘I’ll to a store.
give you the credit at the store [level].’ ” Saves store-manager time.
Though Brink’s cannot force a bank Counting cash at the store becomes a
to participate, retailers can request that thing of the past.
banks consider allowing the service or, Limits risk of internal theft. The
in a more extreme case, the retailer can service reduces the amount of cash
SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITIES: For
everyone from single-store operators to
change banks. The second alternative accessible to employees.
multistore retailers, corporate philosophy sometimes is a valid choice because Limits exposure and the time
dictates the use of armored-car services. one of the benefits of the same-day needed to go to the bank. The risk of
credit service is the ability to consoli- walking or even driving to a nearby
critical link was a strong relationship date bank accounts. bank is eliminated.
with banks. It’s something that began “If you think about it, in the old way As technology and trust between
to open up when financial institutions [retailers] were picking banks based on processors and banks develops, retail-
in larger and larger numbers began proximity to their stores,” Purches says. ers may begin to see float on cash
outsourcing cash-management needs. “With the armored service, you needed deposits evaporate entirely. McGunn
Because Brink’s was already provid- fewer and fewer banks.” of CSS says increased efficiency and
ing transportation services to banks, accuracy also will follow.
Purches says, processing money was a Key Benefits In the long term, the same platform
logical step. That part of cash routing While many retailers may still be at the could extend to different parts of the
entails a “cash vault,” or a secured loca- point where they’re considering the store, he says; for instance, customers
tion where people actually count and larger service of armored-car delivery, could pay for coffee right at the coffee
reconcile paper money and coins. the addition of same-day credit for cash maker—and have that cash collected and
Brink’s developed a relationship with deposits provides numerous benefits credited directly to a retailer’s account.
the top banks over time, which led to in and of itself, according to Purches of “What if the c-store did not have a
an in-house infrastructure designed for Brink’s. Here are a few: cashier?” McGunn asks. “I imagine
cash-vault services. That foundation Accelerates credit of funds. The increases in sale space and an employee
allowed the company to then move to service cuts the float time associated that’s there to help the customer vs. act-
providing retailers with same-day credit. with cash deposits to about 12 hours. ing busy or completing transactions.” I
116 CSP M a r c h 2 0 0 8