Within the context of the ongoing discussions about branch transformation, initial conversations most often revolve around strategies for improved CX, branch staffing, delivery processes, and physical facilities. Inevitably, decisions related to currently available technologies also come into the picture at some point with the goal of supporting the various decisions made about CX staffing, processes and facilities. One of those technologies often being considered is the Teller Cash Recycler or TCR.
The challenge now becomes, how should a financial institution proceed with the technology review and selection process? Assuming the goal is generally about selecting the appropriate TCR technology that supports the organization’s overall strategy, provides a high-quality customer experience, and delivers a sound business case, this is an incredibly tall order!
Too often, any decision process involving in-branch tech takes a wrong turn during the evaluation and selection process. Institutions, as part of their due diligence, scour the Internet to review and make preliminary decisions about potential suppliers. During this process, critical judgments are often made based on what the potential supplier says about itself and its product performance features. Even RFPs and RFIs often follow this path. While there is no doubt that a supplier’s product features should be included as part of the decision process, experience has shown that they are usually only marginally important in a technology decision ‘big picture’.
With years of experience and engagements in hundreds of FI technology decision processes, when those processes focus on the highly measurable “speeds and feeds” performance features of a given product, along with its initial price, such decisions often miss the mark. This track can be viewed as majoring in the minors.
So, let’s examine a better, more comprehensive, approach to the decision process that involves three areas of focus for technology consideration.
Solutions Over Products
There is a perplexing array of TCRs available today. For some, the message is generally something about being faster, having larger capacity or a lower price. There is no doubt that all these things should be part of the conversation. However, they should not comprise the entire conversation! Any technology evaluation that focuses solely on product features is misguided in the sense that it may be placing major emphasis on factors that only have minor impact on the success of the implementation.
It should be more about needs than “speeds and feeds.” How fast it feeds and how much it holds are only important factors in the context of what is needed by a given FI for its branches, at a specific moment in time. (Note: This will change as transaction volume/staffing/consumer expectations/cash flow etc. adjust to inside and outside pressures.) A ‘features focus’ often means that the metrics that are easily measurable take the forefront, masking those that are less measurable, but potentially very impactful to the overarching strategic goals. Some examples include fundamental, underlying characteristics such as product reliability, ease of use, space requirements, ergonomics, and operating noise levels. All these elements can dramatically enhance or significantly impede the success of a TCR automation implementation.
All technology decisions should focus more on the overall solution without being limited to product and price considerations. A sound solution should ideally address the defined needs and objectives of the individual FI, and the supplier should be able to specifically articulate the process it employs to uncover those needs to design and deliver the correct solution.
In a broader sense, the solution also includes infrastructure and support mechanisms that deliver the intended results initially, and over the useful life of the solution. High-quality ongoing service is critical to this goal. Beware of any supplier who uses a third-party organization to service hardware as well as resource limitations of any local reseller. These risks must be assessed as part of a well-conceived decision process.
A complete solution also includes the availability and delivery of cash automation expertise. Included are advisory services (both business and technology), project management, and training. Collectively, these types of services are normally available under the umbrella of professional services. Check with your potential suppliers to see what they offer in these areas. Often, suppliers say they offer these types of services, but after further review, their offerings are quite limited and delivered by the sales and service staff. In contrast, other organizations deliver Professional Services through a fully staffed team of qualified, and in some cases certified, specialists.
It’s Also About the Supplier
The supplier is an integral part of the solution and should be evaluated as such. There are new players in the market still trying to establish their market position. Many of those who are importing and selling TCR devices that are engineered and manufactured by an independent entity based in Europe or Asia, are struggling to establish themselves. .
It becomes the responsibility of the buyer to determine the stability and capability of the local reseller, looking at the potential useful life of the product or products offered. If the supplier of the TCR solution is not the product’s manufacturer, it is fair to ask whether the supplier has any control over the future roadmap for product enhancements or new products. Has there been, or is there likely to be, turnover in the products the local seller offers and supports? Beyond that, does the off-shore manufacturer have a case for stability and referenceable past success, plus staying power in the market. We have seen many examples in the past where suppliers, even otherwise large and viable companies, have either vacated the teller cash automation market space altogether or abandoned one TCR product for one from a different manufacturer.
Without proven supplier and manufacturer viability in these critical areas, the performance characteristics of a given product fade in significance. Despite the product being judged excellent from a specifications standpoint, a supplier’s or manufacturer’s inability to deliver the intended results over the long-haul puts an otherwise promising automation decision at serious risk.
A Proven, Repeatable Process is Key
Bankers Equipment utilizes a consistent, understandable, and proven 4-step partnering process: Discover, Design, Deploy, and Deliver. Our process ensures that the solution we recommend will meet and exceed our customer’s expectations for business impact and ROI. Each functional aspect that supports the 4-step process involves a person or persons specifically trained, experienced, and focused in their assigned role.
The success of our process is dependent on a team of industry specialists, working in concert on your behalf, rather than one or a few individuals trying to perform efficiently in multiple roles and doing so ineffectively. In Bankers Equipment’s model, an Account Manager heads-up the process with the support of these functional specialists. Often, other suppliers ask their sales or field service representatives to do double-duty as a trainer or perform some other function. We do not consider this to be the best approach. It’s analogous to calling your plumber to fix a drain problem and then asking, “While you are here can you also see if you can fix this problem I’m having with an electrical fixture?”
The initial Discover step involves fact-finding about strategic initiatives, current cash-handling processes and cash flow challenges, as well as other organizational and branch initiatives. The Design step follows. In this step, Bankers Equipment develops a complete best-fit solution for your unique environment utilizing our vast portfolio of products and services accompanied by a business case including ROI and process improvement expectations and recommendations. Once the solution is designed, a complete plan is crafted to properly Deploy the solution including agreed process improvements and industry best practices. Along with this is an emphasis on facilitating change management while also minimizing disruption to branch operations.
Finally, in Bankers Equipment’s process, we use the term Deliver. The word Deliver as we intend it is not an event that happens when a product arrives at your location. Our Deliver step is our commitment to your long-term success. It is our commitment to delivering the ROI and outcomes anticipated along with outstanding service and support for the long-haul. Staying engaged, monitoring and adjusting ROI/products and services, to continually deliver best practices and ensuring our roadmap aligns with our customers’ is our ongoing priority.
To avoid the “majoring on the minors” pitfall and continue the conversation about the value of a teller cash recycling solution, please contact your Bankers Equipment Account Manager or Bankers Equipment Service directly at 888-890-6661 and firstname.lastname@example.org. You can be confident that our team will review and thoroughly access your needs, provide the correct solution from both a hardware and software standpoint, properly support that solution, and deliver an outcome that can be deemed a major success for your organization!