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Filling the Labor Gap: Why Cash Recyclers, Not Smart Safes, Could Save Your Business 16 Hours a Week

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

If you’ve been out around town lately, you’ve probably seen the Help Wanted signs that have popped up in the windows of just about every store, restaurant, bank, theater, and any other kind of business you can think of. The tough reality for retailers in 2021 is that it’s gotten really difficult to hire people as fast as you need them – and one way they’re trying to pick up the slack is by using various forms of automation.

The word “automation” itself does not always mean the same thing. Sometimes it actually means utilizing machines to do the work that an employee would do; for example, consider ATMs at banks, or the robotic burgers flipper and fry cooks being tested in fast food. In other instances, such as the self-checkout lane, “automation” is simply a clever way of shifting the bulk of the labor to the customer, who does it for free. Of course, there are also all sorts of ways that machine assistance can make a certain task faster or easier, and this is where the concept of cash automation can help make up for a shortfall in hours or manpower.

Cash automation may be one way to make up for missing hours during the labor shortage.
Retailers of all sizes are feeling the effects of the 2021 labor crunch. In many instances, as demonstrated by the situation of these three establishments that are located right next to each other in the same shopping center, retailers are in stiff competition for the same workers!

The Efficiencies Cash Automation Brings to Retail

What exactly is cash automation, and how does it work in a retail setting? The centerpiece of cash automation is the cash recycler, a machine that’s a sort of Swiss Army knife for handling currency. If you’re familiar with smart safes, you’ve got half the picture; a cash recycler works like a smart safe, a bill counter, a currency dispenser, and a miniature vault all in one. There are several ways this solution helps reduce the amount of labor involved in a retail setting, most of them related to the administrative time spent on cash handling.

The Value of Cash Recyclers

The most obvious way that a cash recycler speeds things up is with managing cash on hand – that is, when there’s too much money in a cash register, or not enough, evening it out so the cashier has the right amount. Normally, that involves having a manager go into the back and get money out of the safe, then having two or more people count it and sign off for accuracy.

In a bank, this process is called a vault buy or a vault sell, depending on whether cash is going into the vault or coming out. As you can imagine, that usually happens several times per day at the teller windows in each branch, and takes several minutes each time.

This is actually not much different at all from what goes on in a retail store, except that the “buys” and “sells” might involve hundreds of dollars at a time instead of thousands. But, the frequency of the process, and the time it takes to carry it out, are remarkably similar. If a cash recycler is employed, these transactions can be carried out in seconds, without the need for multiple employees to be involved, since the machine acts as the second “control.” If the recycler is located up front near the point of sale, it's possible to eliminate the buy/sell process entirely by using the machine to keep the registers’ cash inventory correct continuously.

Retail cash recycler at Stinky Leaf in Palm Springs, CA
The process of handling and accounting for cash is not that much different in a retail store than in a bank, just on a different scale. This cash recycler helps bud tenders at Stinky Leaf, a cannabis store in California, make fewer transactions back and forth with the main vault.

The other big way that cash recyclers help you out is by making the closing process much easier at the end of the day. Since it keeps a running total of cash in and cash out from each source, it’s easy to pinpoint any discrepancies; and even better, mistakes made in manual counting are detected on the spot, before they throw off your balance. If your cashiers are making use of the recycler on a transaction-by-transaction basis, you can expect your counting and balancing to be error free and have a daily audit trail showing balance to cash receipts in your Point of Sale system.

Lastly, having the mechanical counting as a backstop makes it difficult for “mistakes” of the less-than-accidental kind to creep into your business. Insider graft is one of the top sources of theft in most businesses that deal in cash, often surpassing losses from shoplifting.

Discover the Power of Cash Automation

Cash automation speeds up the administrative part of your day so you can use your workforce on things that help make you money – not on counting the money you already earned. If cash is a significant part of your daily payment mix, contact Avivatech for a free consultation to see if cash automation is right for you.

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