Magazine Article | May 17, 2007

Reduce Theft, Save Time With Cash Handling System

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

An electronic cash management system eliminates a c-store chainĂ¢â‚¬™s cash handling errors and improves manager productivity.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, June 2007

Shift managers at G&J Acquisitions gas stations and convenience stores used to spend hours each day counting cash from each day's sales and reconciling shift reports with POS figures. It was a tedious, mind-numbing, time-consuming task that managers gladly gave up last year when Kyle Takaki, G&J's general manager, told them that all 24 of their San Francisco-area stores would be switching to a more convenient, efficient, and accurate electronic cash management system.

Takaki had lost thousands of dollars to employee theft, cash handling errors, and fake currency. He was frustrated with paying his shift managers to count money for 3 to 4 hours each day and was worried about the liability that came with it. He determined that he needed to invest in a new cash management system that would reduce the financial liability of his managers and his business.

Guard Against Accepting Counterfeit Currency
To provide a comprehensive integrated solution to its problem, G&J chose FireKing Security Group, which partnered with Loomis, Fargo & Co. FireKing manufactures a broad array of security products including fireproof safes and files, cash handling safes, and closed-circuit television systems. G&J chose the FireKing NKL Autobank V1 cash handling safe, which is supported by NKL Edge cash management software.

This system has removed much of the cash handling at G&J's stores, because now the cash is placed into the safe, counted by the safe, and is extracted by a security professional. "This new system has eliminated our cash handling errors," Takaki says.

In addition, G&J realized almost immediately that it could significantly reduce management overhead. Since the managers had more time, they could handle more sites. That allowed G&J to reduce its staff, resulting in a payroll savings of $100,000, which paid for the system in the first year. In addition, the acceptance of counterfeit bills has all but disappeared, since the safes can detect 99% of all fake bills. "We have trained everyone at the point of purchase to automatically insert all bills larger than $50 into the safe's cash acceptor," Takaki explains. "If a bill is not accepted, the cashier immediately alerts the customer. In most cases, the customer can see the safe reject the bill and therefore has no issues with us not accepting the bill. Prior to these new safes, we used to get at least one counterfeit bill a month."

Promise Of Time Savings Key To User Adoption
This bill-validating safe, called a bulk-feed autobank, can handle a stack of up to 25 bills at a time and reads, validates, and securely stores currency. The safe has a 2,000-note capacity with a front-load-style locking cassette that protects the bills in a secure compartment. Rejected bills are sent to a separate reject tray. The safe also offers security features, including a burglary duress alarm and time delay. The low-profile safes can be used anywhere cash is handled.

The safe can accept bills of all denominations up to $100 and can be easily upgraded to support new currency. In addition, it allows managers to quickly access features (e.g. reports, programming users, configuring parameters) from its easy-to-use external display and AuditLok XLV keypad.

Cashiers at G&J's shops were 'leery' of the new cash management system, Takaki recalls. They were worried that if they put in a $100 bill the machine might not 'get it right.' But Takaki assured them that the machine is reliable, accurate, and can be counted on. "That was difficult," he says. "But I told my managers they were going to have 3 or 4 more hours a day to get stuff done instead of counting money."

Adjusting to the new equipment went very well both in G&J's stores and at its corporate location in Sunnyvale, CA. "Approximately 150 people [cashiers and managers] throughout our 24 stores had to be trained," Takaki explains. "They learned how to run reports, how to log in, how to insert cash into the automatic bill acceptor, and how to balance the shift report versus the POS. Each person has their own log-in ID and password, so we can identify when someone was inputting bills into the safe, how many times they logged in, and what the result of their log-in was."

No More Trips To The Bank
Before this new electronic system, Takaki's managers could have thousands of dollars on-site at any given time before making a deposit at the bank or before the armored truck would arrive. Acquiring this new system took the liability out of the managers' hands.

Currently, G&J pays about $10,000 a month to lease the cash management system, which includes the safes, software, and armored truck service. The new system eliminated the managers having to go to the bank for change orders. Now the money they need is delivered to them. The system has removed much of the cash handling because now the cash is placed into the safe, is counted by the safe, and is extracted by a security professional.

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