Safeway and one of its technology vendors, Balance Innovations, were winners of the IBM Retail User Group's inaugural Retail Innovation Award, given in May at the User Group's annual conference in Las Vegas.
The award recognized Safeway for its implementation of Balance Innovations' cash office management software, called VeriBalance. Safeway rolled out the system throughout its 1,738 stores in 18 months, finishing in mid-2007, said Keith Molzer, president and chief executive officer, Balance Innovations.
The cash management system, integrated with Safeway's POS terminals and general ledger system, automates the physical counting of funds and reconciles the totals with what is recorded in the terminals and the general ledger. “It takes a six- to eight-hour process down to a two- to three-hour process without errors,” said Molzer.
The system also tracks the cash and coins in the terminals and safe so the store knows whether it has too little or too much cash on hand. Non-cash items — checks, coupons, ski lift tickets — are managed as well.
Molzer called his relationship with Safeway “a true partnership,” adding, “They opened up their soul and said, ‘Here's what's going on — how can we make it better?’”