How NoteMachine’s Cash Management Service Really Works, an interview with Ben Pickford

We caught up with Ben Pickford, NoteMachine’s Head of Cash Management Services, to find out more about his role in the business.

Hi Ben, how do you come to NoteMachine? 

I have been with NoteMachine since 2004, when it was originally Scott Todd, then NoteMachine acquired Scott Todd in 2006. Despite NoteMachine’s growth over the years, it has still retained a close-knit, family culture and is a great place to work. The number of staff who have been with the company for over 20 years is testament to that!

I started in the Cash-in-Transit department, working initially in the vaults, then progressed through the business, until we established a dedicated Cash Management department in 2014. 

In the early days, NoteMachine only had 500 ATMs, so there was a lot of multi-tasking and different elements to the department. As the ATM network grew, a dedicated Cash Management department was formed, responsible for co-ordinating all of our cash centres and working together to deliver a dedicated service.

Tell us about the Cash Management team.

There are four other people in the team, and the department is open seven days a week. We work on a shift basis, comprising a Sunday to Thursday team, and a Tuesday to Saturday team, operational from 5am to 5pm.

The Cash Management department works with all areas of the business. NoteMachine’s Sales and Customer Relationship teams liaise with us on a daily basis, as does Tech Support (the Engineering team) and Finance. Essentially, we are the central hub for the business: a lot of people interact with Cash Management and there isn’t a department we don’t touch. 

NoteMachine’s evolution means that everyone in the Cash Management team has worked in other areas of the business first, and we all have experience and a deep understanding of how the business operates. 

What is involved in the day-to-day function of Cash Management? 

Our systems forecast when an ATM needs replenishing, giving us plenty of time to dispatch a member of our Cash-in-Transit team to perform a cassette exchange. We have five cash centres in the UK, providing nationwide coverage, so we can handle bulk cash deliveries and collections to keep ATMs fully stocked. We are responsible for dictating the daily loads of the cash centres, telling them which ATMs to fill, which vans to put them on, and even the delivery routes. 

We also assist with data recording at the cash centres and are responsible for building the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all the cash centres. Our team was seconded to support each of the cash centres when they opened, including recruitment and vault training. Other departments therefore turn to us for help and guidance, as we really know the ‘nuts and bolts’ of cash management – and we built the rules that the cash centres work by.

The entire business uses a fully integrated CRM platform called ‘Studio’, which is a completely bespoke, self-developed platform, built by NoteMachine. With responsibility for the Cash Management element, we work closely with the IT team to develop and enhance the cash forecasting tools. It’s going through a transition at the moment, away from a Just in Time (JIT) model and into scheduled billing. We are therefore in the process of teaching Studio how to react to trend analysis and how machines perform at certain times of the month or year. 

We’d all like to know some interesting facts and figures around cash replenishment – tell me more.

Our Cash Management services cover 8,500+ fully-managed ATMs and we carry out 15,000+ replenishments each month. The ‘quietest’ ATMs are on a 28-day cash replenishment cycle, and in contrast, the busiest ATMs will be replenished twice a week. The average time is 15-16 days between replenishments. 

Our Cash-in-Transit fleet consists of about 75 vehicles, but there are on average 40 vehicles in daily operation, all fitted with state-of-the-art access control and CCTV systems.

We base the fill amount entirely on how busy the ATM is and it’s varying physical capacity, depending on the model. There’s no denying that the overall use of cash is on the decline, but we still dispense a billion pounds of cash each month!

With regard to the type of notes we use, we work on the ‘AFIT’ (or ATM-fit) model, which are new or nearly new notes. NoteMachine’s service is fully managed, so the notes are high quality, all supplied by the Bank of England. It’s essential that our ATMs work properly, with no jams or part-notes dispensed. 

In terms of the cash dispensed, we have internal KPIs and have to report internally on a daily basis with regard to the amount of cash dispensed from our ATMs. Another key metric is cash utilisation, in other words, the percentage of cash that comes back to our cash centres. Most businesses now prefer a clean operation of cassette exchange because ‘clean’ cash is much easier to track from a financial perspective. The figure should be less than 10% and NoteMachine strives to achieve this.

Finally, can you highlight some of NoteMachine’s cash management service benefits?

  • We are BSIA accredited – our cash management team meets the British Security Industry Association standard for shared surveillance.
  • We are SaferCash members – reciprocal intelligence sharing with police forces nationwide reduces the number of attacks on our Cash-in-Transit couriers.
  • Our couriers are all SIA accredited – all of our frontline Cash-in-Transit staff hold a Security Industry Authority licence.
  • We have 20+ years cash management experience – this enables us to reduce running costs and efficiently streamline our cash services.

Thank you for your time, Ben.

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