By : Cleopatra Mavredis
Agility is a popular buzzword for modern businesses. All firms want to be dynamic and responsive enough to reflect new trends and meet changing customer demands, but it's not always easy.
Financial institutions (FIs), big or small, could greatly benefit by introducing solutions which have the potential to facilitate critical operational processes such as cash supply management. There are many situations in which it can be extremely valuable for banks to have room to maneuver as far as cash supply is concerned.
Responding to factors that are beyond your control
FIs, like all businesses, will sometimes find themselves at the mercy of macroeconomic and external factors over which they have no – or very little – control. In these situations, it's crucial that you have maximum oversight and adaptability in areas that you can control, such as the movement of cash throughout your self-service network.
Weather is one example of the types of factors that can be practically impossible to predict in the long term, but can have a strong influence on demand for cash. When particularly bad weather is on the way, concerns about the possible impact on infrastructure and accessibility of cash may cause a mass withdrawal of large sums.
Similarly, in the case of a natural disaster or some other unforeseen event, your ATMs might see a sudden spike in withdrawals if people need cash to travel or buy emergency supplies. Advanced cash management and complete visibility over your network could prove crucial.
The same concept could become an issue during periods of good weather. If there is a sudden spell of warm weather, people are more likely to be buying new clothes, having garden parties and enjoying days out. That means more spending and higher demand for cash.
Then there are more significant incidents and economic developments that can influence how people think about their financial affairs. Last year's Brexit vote in the UK and the eurozone debt crisis are examples of major events that have ramifications for every element of the financial system, including the use of ATMs.
Solutions to a serious challenge
Achieving the adaptability required to respond to these sorts of unpredictable factors is a big challenge, particularly for large FIs with extensive self-service networks. On the positive side, there are many strategies and solutions available to modern banks looking to optimize their cash management.
Processes such as cash recycling, for example, can help to reduce the risk of your self-service network running out of cash, by giving ATMs the ability to accept, sort and store banknotes. This cash is then made available for withdrawal, enhancing service availability and reducing replenishment costs.
Another concept that is likely to become increasingly important is big data analytics. Your self-service network is an invaluable source of insight into customer trends and habits. Harnessing and using this data in the right way could lead to substantial improvements in cash management and, consequently, customer satisfaction.
It's often in extreme circumstances that banks are required to step up and deliver a certain standard of service to customers, despite external factors that could make 'business as usual' an impossibility. Having the right solutions and dedicated processes in place can help your organization prepare for adversity, ensuring that customers can access key services when they need them most.