Dozens of logistics technologies are under development. Different vendors offer their own variants, so there are hundreds of different opportunities on offer today. Media hypes AI, robotics and blockchain technologies for implementation, but none are yet in widespread use. The question that affects cash supply chain managers is simple: Which technology will take off to gain return on investment in future? Finding answers could be difficult, because no one wants to buy technologies that becomes obsolete after acquisition. For example, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags promised to provide a real-time perspective on each delivery item from production to customer, revolutionizing also track and trace, and consequently security of the cash supply chain process. In practice, higher costs for safe bags and missing interoperability along the supply chain have limited the use of technology to niche areas. As in the past, the feasibility and potential benefit of new innovations has to be checked for the users.
Technologies to watch
Technology implementation should address the specific problems of the user, avoid pain and achieving rapid impact. These factors minimizes risks and pushes „go-decisions“ of a new technology approach. Therefore, we watch out for accessible technologies - with high rate of implementation by suppliers and high level of acceptance by end users - which can be transferred from other industrial sectors to the cash industry. Following technologies set trends for cash logistics:
1. Automation and logistics standards
Many cash handling processes can be standardized and therefore automated. Analyses throughout National Central Banks show that withdrawals and lodgments of local currency comprise mainly not more than 50 articles, and the transport units can circulate within the regional cash cycles. This allows to introduce standardized, returnable and tamper-proofed cash boxes, carrying an amount of 3’000 to 10’000 banknotes. Size and weight of such box types enable a manual and automated handling without limitations.
Todays’ automation and robotic systems are more capable and flexible than ever. We expect automated Cash Center vaults, typically used with an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) that moves the cash articles in boxes or on pallets in/out of the high security areas without human intervention. Cash Center Management Systems will keep track of inventory in real time, ensuring it matches to the ordering system. Automation will further improve the goods handling, e.g. receiving and shipping can be controlled by optical recognition where sensors scan items checking box integrity, box-ID and seal-ID. In this respect, RFID can complement track & trace by transmitting the shipment-ID of the load.