Enabling a circular economy
Transitioning to a new economic system is a grand undertaking for any industry, and particularly for one as complex as currency. Or, in the words of Huber, “It’s a challenging assignment. Barriers exist, questions arise, and they aren’t always easy to overcome.”
Huber emphasizes that companies and institutions must also start setting higher standards for themselves. “We must break down our goals into smaller, more tangible increments. My team reaches new standards by developing modular and platform-based solutions that keep our systems up to date for longer, meaning they grow in functionality but not in age. In the future, intelligent service models will reduce travel, and digitalized, automated solutions will help to develop smarter, more sustainable practices for the whole industry. By developing innovative ideas and discussing them with customers, partners, and experts, we know that together we will create sustainable change.”
One thing is certain: if it is to be successful, the currency industry must be prepared to assume the right mindset and address three important enablers: efficiency, innovation, and collaboration. Encouragingly, according to Huber, players within the cash cycle do not want solutions that drive efficiency or cost-effectiveness at the expense of sustainability. However, conversely, they also do not want business-relevant factors to be ignored. “When industry invests in sustainability, it wants to ensure that this does not conflict with efficiency, but supports it and, at best, promotes both,” he says.
The challenge is that they often can be mutually exclusive. In fact, Huber notes that it takes considerable innovation to turn efficiency into an enabler of sustainability. “The big step is to let go of the status quo,” he says. “The cash industry will need to take an agile approach, accept more risk and even some failures, but in return learn from it and innovate faster.” Rather than focusing on optimization, the best approaches always question whether existing cash management solutions make sense in the first place – and then use new technology to get creative.
“These are precisely the types of concepts that we are actively pursuing,” Huber says, offering NotaTracc® as an example. Rather than finding a way to make single-use banknote packaging more sustainable, the solution replaced it with reusable standardized trays, which not only helped to close a loop, but, when integrated with the automated NotaTracc® loading module, also increased efficiency.
However, to achieve circularity, solutions must seamlessly move through the entire cash cycle. For Huber, this means that collaboration could act as an asset. “The industry must shift its mindset to look at cash payments holistically and work much more closely together. You have to get around the same table,” Huber says.