Darren Knipp, SVP of Brink's Enterprise Solutions and President of Balance Innovations
“Cash” is an important measure when it comes to the health of any business. Perhaps no other industry is impacted by cash more than retail. However, managing the cash flow proves to be a herculean task for retailers. They have to work with point of sale and self-checkout vendors, hardware device manufacturers for cash storage, protection, and calculation, and cash in transit carriers for complete cycle of money movement from enterprise to bank and back, in effect—manage multiple relationships. The multiple touchpoints from device, entity, and process standpoints have resulted in a siloed approach for cash management. Working with one entity for holistic cash management has not been the case so far in retail. Enter Balance Innovations.
“Disrupters of the cash ecosystem” is what best defines Balance Innovations—a pioneer in providing state-of-the-art cloud-based enterprise platform, VeriBalance, that provides retailers with a single source of truth for their entire cash operations—both inside and outside the store.
How does Balance Innovations enable this holistic and comprehensive visibility? Through an IoT device it connects to various on-premise systems such as the myriad of POS systems, safes, devices for counting and storing money, and self-checkouts regardless of the vendor. Alongside, the complete integration is enabled by a robust set of APIs and agents installed on devices depending on the technology to capture the information, which gets streamed in real-time into Balance Innovations’ microservices architecture in the cloud. Balance Innovation’s magic rubs off in the resulting analytics that provides retailers with insights to streamline cash management.
Retailers not only gain from granular insights and visibility but benefit from a slew of different services rendered by the company as they connect with banks as well. For instance, instead of retailers having to wait for the money to get delivered to the bank to get credit, the bank can deliver credit for those funds still in the store. For very well credited retailers, the banks also extend working capital, termed as ‘bank owned cash’, so that they do not have to fund that off their balance sheet.
“We can also help them predict the cash needed inside the store and allocate the cash across the store in terms of what should go in the lane and self-checkout, versus the amount to be held back for deposit based on real demand,” says Darren Knipp, President and CEO of Balance Innovations. Due to the integration all the way from ‘register to the bank and back to the store, Balance Innovations can help retailers forecast the frequency of picking up and delivering the funds physically to their bank.
Retailers are also empowered to know the position of the cash at any time across any device inside the store.
We are the single point of contact for the entire solution, irrespective of the point of sale, device, bank, or carrier used, answering any question and solving any issue proactively for all cash related operations
Balance Innovations’ machine learning algorithms can analyze historical data and inform retailers that instead of putting $40,000 in a pod of self-checkouts, they may need only $14,000 on a particular day. Retailers gain a dramatic reduction in the amount of cash assets they need to deploy in addition to reducing banking fees by ordering less cash. The predictions can also help retailers determine the self-checkout lanes and regions that will require more cash. The real-time visibility helps in automating reconciliation of cash in real time across stores and enables centralization of reconciliation at the corporate level saving a lot on operational costs.
The advantages continue on the security front as well. Akin to systems that protect individuals from identify theft, the company provides retailers with a capability called CashLock™. For example, the store staff can visit the recycler to take a loan and replenish the self-checkout. The solution can prevent withdrawing cash and alert management if they are trying to take more, as the solution has the visibility into what the self-checkout can hold based on current capacity.
“All these dramatically drive down the cost of dealing with cash for retailers,” extols Knipp. He informs that retailers are unknowingly spending upwards of 15 percent for every cash transaction just by managing, handling, counting, reporting, tracking, securing, and shipping cash. This is incredibly high when compared to the cost of a credit transaction. As opposed to the clarity that retailers have of their credit transactions, the siloed nature of cash results in a lack of visibility. Balance Innovations is bringing forth that visibility with their end-to-end solution. “We are the single point of contact for the entire solution, irrespective of the point of sale, device, bank, or carrier used, answering any question and solving any issue proactively for all cash related operations,” states Knipp.
It comes as no surprise that Balance Innovations serves over 10,000 retail locations primarily in the U.S. The company has visibility into over half a trillion dollars worth of transactions occurring in retail at a particular time across these customers. One of its customers with around 700 stores was able to reduce their cash on hand by 30 percent, which was almost $10 million. In fact, customers can release the money held hostage inside their stores for other capital intensive purposes. In yet another implementation highlight, a customer with over a hundred stores was able to dramatically reduce the time for reconciliation processes from three hours a day to 30 minutes, cutting down significantly on the operational cost.
In the wake of the acquisition of the company by The Brink’s Company, the combined entity with their synergistic solution portfolio is all set to chart a new roadmap with the only truly end-to-end Cash Process Automation solution. Knipp draws attention to the fact that there are many regions and geographies that still accept a lot of cash. “Our vision is to offer a solution that is as easy to use as a credit card system while being less expensive than accepting that form of payment.”