Facing the new South African reality

February 2013 Security Services & Risk Management

Post the recent transport industry strike, end-to-end cash management company Cash Connect has recognised and identified the reality of doing business in South Africa today and will be planning its future strategies accordingly.

“Through recent strike action, it has become apparent that business must plan not only for transport interruption, but also the many other potential threats,” notes Richard Phillips, MD of Cash Connect.

Planning for disruption and ensuring business continuity is a harsh reality. The recent strikes had detrimental effects on the South African Economy as a whole, with reports from the likes of GM noting the major effects on production, to ATMs running low on cash, Agri SA reporting the inflationary effect on food prices, Softline & Sage reporting costs to the economy of R1,2 billion per week. And with this precedent setting the scene, the economy should brace for likely future disruption.

This is a harsh reality for the cash in transit industry where the effects on business were profoundly felt. Cash could not be safely collected and transported, which resulted in a range of disconcerting outcomes from safety and security to stretched overdrafts. Delayed settlement of accounts with suppliers of primary product also threatened replenishment supplies and impacted on routine trading.

Operators that may have used personal vehicles and in some cases untrained employees to ensure there was no disruption in service, saw massive risk to personal safety and this hazardous behaviour, albeit well intended, cannot be justified.

Normal processes as part of the strike were severely backlogged, having far-reaching effects that perhaps few consumers were aware of. Cash Centres ran up to 10 days behind and retailers saw the effects by monies taking excessive time to reflect in bank accounts. An overall menacing process in itself which led to greater uncertainty and further operational disruption.

Cash that was collected and reached cash counting centres was further affected by unrelated interruptions such as, in one instance, cable theft delaying digital transfers. The resultant further delays aggravating the already high levels of frustration experienced in the business sector.

The reality of the strike only becomes apparent as business recoils in the immediate after effects. It is at this stage that Cash Connect implemented a series of emergency measures which will form an important part of strategy moving forward. The setup of an emergency call centre, daily crisis meetings with banks and other key players, strike updates to business through various communication channels are a few of the significant elements.

Preparation for future disruption has allowed the implementation of such a strategy to see reality. Taking the learnings of such a crisis, Cash Connect is realistic that going forward, it will execute effective measures to deal with the negative realities of business in South Africa on a daily basis. The key objective needs to be to minimise the delay in the transfer of value for the retailer so as to reduce the ever-present threat of interrupted supply of product.

For more information contact Cash Connect Management Solutions, +27 (0)11 531 5464, info@cashconnect.co.za, www.cashconnect.co.za


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