March 8, 2016

What I learned at NGA 2016



The Best Bagger has been crowned, the booth is packed up, and we’re back in Kansas City – NGA 2016 has come to a close.


Getting the scoop from attendees

NGA was a great opportunity for me to speak with many independents in one spot. I had conversations with all types of attendees from independent and regional grocery chains, including finance, operations, loss prevention and IT leaders. They had different concerns and priorities, of course, but I heard some common themes as I spoke with each of them.


  • Their bookkeepers are spending too much time producing manual reports.

  • Corporate doesn’t have a real-time view of their stores’ cash positions.

  • Shortages take weeks to identify and even longer to investigate and resolve.


At Balance Innovations, we’ve built our solutions to address these challenges and more. We’ve studied hundreds of retail cash offices, and along the way, we’ve identified areas in which we can improve individual store productivity, and, in turn, overall efficiency and profitability for retailers. We often also are able to make corporate executives and store owners aware of issues that are difficult to see when they’re not in stores every day. 


While the concerns I heard aren’t unique to independents, they can more easily solve these problems because they’re more agile than large chains. Less corporate red tape gives small and medium-sized grocers the opportunity to gain competitive advantage.


Looking at shrink in a new light

At the show, one presentation made me think about shrink beyond cash. The Direct Store Delivery Receiving and Auditing session, put on by the NGA Loss Prevention Share Group, did a great job of educating those in attendance about the many opportunities for merchandise to walk right out the back door and how to combat this fraud.


Of course, at Balance Innovations, we know about cash shrink. Just like that session shined light on a topic I was unfamiliar with, we show the retailers we work with all the ways they can tighten their currency management processes and ward off cash fraud. Often, independents don’t consider looking at improvements to their currency management because that’s an area of the store that doesn’t generate revenue, or they feel comfortable with the procedures they’ve developed over the years. We can help you look at your procedures with a fresh set of eyes and find ways to give you more control over your currency management.


Ready for 2017

I’m already looking forward to next year’s show. If we missed you there, be sure to check out our Grocery Retailing Payments Study, which offers benchmarks and best practices for independents in today’s ever-changing payments landscape.