Dr. Joachim P. Walser, CEO & Co-Founder
Contrary to popular belief, despite the rise of electronic payment methods such as contactless debit/credit cards as well as mobile payments, cash still plays a dominant role in the global marketplace, with cash circulation still growing globally and with over 75 percent of retail transactions and over 50 percent of retail value paid in cash within the Eurozone. It is, therefore, imperative for the financial and retail sectors to efficiently manage the cash f low between different cash points (central banks, cash centres, bank ATMs, recyclers, and retail stores). However, despite cash logisitics costs for transportation, counting and reconciliation being expensive processes, many participants in the cash cycle still use relatively simple tools for planning their complex daily cash management (CM) operations, leaving significant savings potential untapped. The consequences of an inefficient and heavily manual approach include excessive cash replenishments, expensive emergency trips, cash stockouts, high cash centre processing costs. Additionally, in countries where interest rates are valued above one percent, balancing costs of cash holdings and logistics becomes even more complex. In all settings, optimising costs in the cash cycle carries tangible savings plus increased efficiencies, for larger networks in the millions of Euros or Dollars per year.
Notably, professional software-based cash cycle optimisation and forecasting solutions can offer tangible savings between 15-25 percent of external costs (CIT costs, capital holding/interests, and processing costs). Planfocus is the company that has developed advanced Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research technologies for unparalleled cash cycle optimisation and forecasting solutions. Since its inception in 2004, it has become the European market leader in the space of cash cycle optimisation and is operating extensively with a global footprint and rapid growth. Through strategic partnerships, most prominently with Diebold Nixdorf, the global market leader of self-service transaction systems, software and services, planfocus provides its solutions to customers globally, covering the entire lifecycle from sales, through implementation, to the local support channel. “We empower banking, retail, and service industries worldwide to drive optimisation and cost reduction in their cash cycles,” states Dr. Joachim P. Walser, the co-founder and CEO of planfocus.
With in-depth expertise in the realm of supply chain management and advanced cash handling systems, the dynamic team of planfocus has developed a premium solution suite— Cash Cycle Optimizer (CCO®), with unparalleled and continuous technology investments. The solution suite effectively manages the entire cash supply chain by planning and controlling all cash movements.
We empower banking, retail, and service industries worldwide to drive optimisation and cost reduction in their cash cycle and generate short-term return on investment
receives daily inventory reports about the local cash holdings and accurately predicts the demand/deposits for cash at different touchpoints and uses advanced planning technologies to schedule just-in-time deliveries, considering operational rules and constraints of the cash cycle realities globally. “We leverage best-in-class automation and AI in CCO®
to ensure availability of cash in ATMs, branches and cash centres at all times. We enable service providers for ATM and retail cash outsourcing through a ‘planfocus-inside’ approach, delivering key technologies to enable optimal service delivery,” says Walser.
He elaborates that shortening the cash cycle and avoiding cross shipping of cash up and down the chain are key to optimising the cash cycle. To this end, the CCO® solution consolidates the ordering process, while controlling the upstream cash centre inventory planning to prevent outages and have the right amount of cash at the right place. “Our mission is to let people use the payment options they prefer without having to overpay for it, keeping the cost of cash competitive in the marketplace,” highlights Walser. Besides, planfocus is one of the pioneering companies worldwide to provide enhanced collaboration between commercial banks by leveraging GS1-standardised XML communication in the process of ordering and provisioning. This improves the delivered service-levels while simultaneously cutting down on risks related to stockouts and reducing costs for CIT and cash returns.
Markedly, the capability of CCO® has attracted many leading banking institutes to incorporate the solution in their business processes. Recently, ING Belgium (a fully-owned subsidiary of ING Group) implemented CCO® software across their multi-stage supply chain, from ATMs and recyclers to bank branches and cash centre, even connecting online retail clients. The end-to-end CCO system helped ING achieve the desired intelligent forecasting of cash demand, planning of cash logistics, order handling, and pushes the envelope further to integrate even foreign currencies and gold orders, in addition to tracking and tracing all shipments executed with ING’s in-house service agency.
With such unique best-in-class offerings in the area of cash cycle management, delivered at a cost-effective pricing structure, planfocus operates with a 75 percent share in the German market today and worldwide in 20 countries (as of 2020). In addition, planfocus enjoys a high business growth rate—almost 25 percent—annually. “Our uniqueness lies in the fact that we ensure the availability of the right cash products across cash points at the right time, and in doing so, we are providing value to our customers that gives them an ROI that can often be measured in months rather than years,” adds Walser. Having already established themselves as a competent cash cycle optimisation partner, planfocus is now focusing on its geographic expansion across North America, Eastern Europe, MEA, Latin America, and Asia through its alliance with global and regional distribution partners.