July 28, 2016

Corporate policies: You set them, but are they being followed?

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Your store leaders have the daily responsibility of ensuring operations run smoothly, your cash is safe and your customers are happy, and so you set corporate policies around currency management to assist them – like how much cash to keep on hand, when to deposit, and how to handle shortages. But do these policies work for all your stores – and are they even being followed in the first place?

Having been in retail environments for more than 35 years, I’ve seen it all when it comes to currency management, including store employees:

  • Rigidly following every outdated policy in the book, even when it doesn’t benefit the store or the customer (like unnecessarily sorting, copying, stapling, paper clipping, taping, folding and scanning redundant spreadsheets).
  • Operating without much direction at all from corporate, sometimes simply following the procedures of a predecessor who had his or her own methods – the good old “way we’ve always done it.
  • Following a policy designed to fit the needs of most stores, but doesn’t work for their store – like a heavy cash store being forced to hold too much cash to comply with the organization’s established armored car agreement.
  • Unintentionally letting policy slide because they’re focused on customer service instead.

 

Sound familiar? Here’s how to address these policy challenges:

  • Set clear currency management policies that allow your employees to make decisions with minimal effort and without negative impact on front-end performance. Your store leaders need to have clear, reasonable direction on issues like how much cash on hand is needed to prevent emergency change orders or how long to spend looking for the source of a $1 shortage. (Hint: No time at all. Let it go.)
  • Identify possible “outlier” stores and adjust policies for those stores only. Maybe you have stores that don’t have access to armored car services or stores that should keep more cash on hand than others. Examine your policies and ensure that you’re setting these locations up for success with reasonable policies that suit their circumstances.
  • Establish consistent oversight into how well the policies are being followed. True oversight can’t be accomplished via occasional audit – there’s too much time between them and too much temptation to “just make it look right.”

The most comprehensive answer to corporate currency management policy woes is a streamlined platform for the entire organization. When you employ a solution that standardizes and automates routine tasks like reconciliation and deposit management at the store level, your policies become part of a simple process across all stores, reducing the risk of error and fraud and freeing your teams to focus on the customer experience.

At the corporate level, a currency management platform lets you stay on top of all your stores with alerts and analytics that help you spot issues before they become a problem. When you can quickly see where the trouble is happening, you can evaluate your policies to see if they are truly guiding your business practices at every location.

Image: iStock

 

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