Handling cash exposes petrol stations to security risks as well as added costs. A closed cash management system can help address these and other challenges.
Fuel and Food: The Modern Convenience Store
Petrol stations can no longer rely on selling fuel alone. According to bizfluent, filling stations in the US make little money on the petrol itself and need to provide additional services just to turn a profit.
“Shrinking profit margins and increasing competition means service stations can’t survive just by pumping gas.”
This has led to the increase in filling stations running on-site mini-marts to bolster earnings. The USA's National Association of Convenience Stores, for example, reports that four in five petrol stations in the country have some kind of store.
Managing the Cost of Handling Cash
The proportion of customers who spend money on food and drink in addition to refuelling has increased dramatically over the years. And although payment options are changing, cash is still a dominant force.
A traditional cash register can be relatively inexpensive to purchase but costly in use and entails unnecessary security risks. A closed cash management system, however, ensures that cash is never exposed and has a big impact on the efficiency of cash processes.
Here are five important advantages of closed cash management for petrol stations.
By using a closed cash payment system, you create a safe environment for both your staff and your customers.
Compared to a traditional cash register, no one can simply remove the cash as it is completely secured inside the system. This has proven to reduce robbery and internal fraud to zero.
In addition, a safe workplace makes recruitment easier and employees do not have to bear the responsibility involved with cash counting.
Secured cash also affords the following benefits:
- Extended opening times of the store without having to use a security hatch
- No need for extra staff to keep an eye on cash after busy hours
- Staff can leave the counter unattended to help customers inside the store
2. Cost Savings
Through the automation of the entire cash handling process, fuel retailers save on administrative costs.
Counting cash manually is prone to inaccuracy and trying to chase down those cash differences is a time-consuming, costly job.
Since closed cash management systems have an effectively faultless rate of accuracy, cash differences are eliminated altogether. As a result, service stations experience a serious reduction in the staff hours required for cash-related processes.
3. Customer Contact
With manual processes, cost is not just reflected in the hours employees spend on counting cash but also in the money lost from taking staff away from more value-driven activities.
Petrol stations focus on convenience, comfort and quality as much as any retailer. Good service is central and managers want staff to be dedicated to the customer — not to collecting and counting cash.
A closed cash management system automates all the functions of the cash office, from preparation of floats to counting back at the end of the business day. This allows staff to spend more time interacting with the customer instead of handling transactions.
Cash in a petrol station also presents challenges from a hygiene point of view, particularly when fresh goods such as sandwiches, fast food or fruit juices are being sold.
Coins and notes are notoriously dirty and staff seldom have the time or inclination to wash their hands in between customers.
Closed cash management systems can be configured as self-service units so that customers enter the coins or notes themselves and their change is automatically returned. This means staff do not even have to touch cash and customers can be assured that proper food hygiene is maintained.
Filling stations with a closed cash management system increase their efficiency through time saved on cash processes such as cash counting and reconciliation.
Staff do not have a personal cash drawer during the working day and can be flexibly deployed on the work floor. And at closing time, the takings do not have to be laboriously counted — an error-ridden process and one which often requires a manager for quality control.
A closed cash management system does more than automate existing business processes, it also improves them. The payment system is linked to POS systems and cash management software provides direct insight into the cash flow.