In all the excitement in recent months and years around the move towards cashless societies, it is often easy to disregard the key importance that cold, hard currency still holds across the Asia region. Whether in Singapore and Hong Kong, where major e-commerce players still take over 30% of their payments through cash on delivery, to emerging markets like the Philippines where more than 80% of transactions are with cash, it is essential for banks, retailers, e-commerce merchants and more to have a watertight cash handling strategy.
We spoke to Ben Thorpe from Glory about their views towards the exciting Philippines market and how cash handling solutions can enable businesses to really focus on their customers at the same time reduce cost of handling cash while creating a better environment for their staff too.
D: Hi Ben! Tell us a bit about your role and what that involves on a daily basis
B: As Managing Director for the Glory sales and service operations in Asia Pacific I am responsible for our offices in eight countries and our distribution channels in all other parts of the region. This means that I am regularly travelling to see customers everywhere from Mumbai in the west to Hong Kong in the east and as far south as Auckland. This means I have the chance to be involved in incredible conversations almost every day as customers are trying to new ideas, experimenting with new formats and in turn we are being asked to introduce new technology to help. Every day is different.
D: What one trend in your industry has your attention and excited and why?
B: We are seeing more and more focus on the cash supply chain across the region. Supply Chains, in general, have been refined over many years and payment types are now proliferating but finally there is interest and awareness that the largest, oldest and easiest payment type – cash – can be managed better. For a long time this was overshadowed by the idea that we’d be cashless soon but that’s just not happening. Consumers still love and use cash – especially in Asia, and the number of notes in circulation is growing by as much as 10% year on year here. So the cost of handling cash isn’t going away – it’s getting higher. With the chance to halve cash costs and typically add 1- 2% to profit margins, the customers we are talking to are excited about managing cash – and that’s got us excited too.
D: How has the industry changed since you first got involved in it?
B: There has been so much change and especially of late. The way in which customers engage today was unimaginable 20 years ago and yet it is taken for granted today. The levels of choice for consumers, the consumer’s expected standard for service and the pressures of competition for our customers have all changed so much and this keeps us all on our toes. Finally the world is a much smaller place today than 20 years ago – we are all more connected and aware of global events which means we are bringing systems to market much faster than ever before.
D: Give us a sneak peek into what you’ll be showcasing at Seamless Philippines 2017?
B: For the first time we will be showing how cash management can be automated in full or in part and how the CASHINFINITY™ series can reduce costs, increase profits and efficiency and create a better environment for customers and staff. We’ll be showing both the CI-100 back office cash recycling solution and the CI-10 front office cash recycling solution. These are already in use in lots of countries in the region but we’re glad to be bringing to Manila for the first time.
D: What one trend in the Philippines market are you most excited about and why?
B: We love the increase in customer focus that is coming through – more time with customers and less time on mundane tasks that can be automated is something we are seeing and we’re convinced will continue.
About Ben Thorpe:
Ben was part of the core team integrating the Glory and Talaris businesses using his experience from living and working in Asia for 17 years to help create Glory Global Solutions.
Having lived and worked across the Asia Pacific region, Ben has an extensive background in the cash management sector and in-depth understanding of the many challenges facing the market today. He has undertaken various leadership roles within the business, including Regional Managing Director of the Asia Pacific region; responsible for the successful strategic direction of the local offices engaging with banks, security companies and regulators across the region to drive significant growth for Talaris.
Ben is currently based in the Singapore office, working with business partners and regional teams to develop the strategy for the enlarged Glory Global Solutions organisation.
Ben is a graduate of Cambridge University and Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
We thank Ben for his forthcoming views on cash handling and look forward to welcoming him at Seamless Philippines 2017, 27th to 28th September at the SMX Convention Centre in Manila. CLICK HERE to find out how you can be part of this exclusive opportunity.