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E-Manifest Service on advancing cash

This article is sponsored content, republished from American Banker.

When customers order an item from an online retailer, package information is exchanged digitally as the item makes its way from the seller's warehouse to their front doors. This real-time technology may seem commonplace today, yet the United States cash supply chain is largely a paper-based operation that uses manual processes to transact and transfer shipments.

Fortunately, that is now changing with the recent launch of the Federal Reserve's E-Manifest Service, part of the industry's Cash Visibility initiative. Available to all Federal Reserve financial institution customers and their servicing armored carriers as of October 2023, the FedCash® E-Manifest Service replaces manual, paper-based processing of currency deposits and orders at Federal Reserve docks with technology that enables scanning and electronic exchange of data. This digitalization creates greater visibility into the movement of cash packages, speeds up currency exchanges at Federal Reserve docks and increases efficiency in the cash supply chain.

The E-Manifest Service empowers the cash supply chain to incorporate best practices from the online retail experience and broader logistics operations, including electronic data transfers, sharing of package information and barcode scans. Additionally, through the E-Manifest Service, the Federal Reserve upholds GS1 Standards (Off-site) for all participants in the cash supply chain.

"The Federal Reserve is dedicated to bringing greater transparency and efficiency to U.S. cash supply chain logistics," said Kathleen Young, executive vice president and chief of FedCash Services. "We are encouraged by the strong collaboration with industry partners, including our early adopters, to implement the E-Manifest Service, which is essential to building a resilient and modern cash supply chain that can meet public demand."

Early adopter financial institutions and armored carriers have discovered how the E-Manifest Service has increased their overall operational efficiency. Now that it is broadly available, financial institution customers of the Federal Reserve and their armored carriers can get started on implementation by filling out an expression of interest form.

Early adopters successfully pilot the E-Manifest Service

Beginning in February 2023, a group of financial institutions and their servicing armored carriers began piloting the E-Manifest Service in search of greater transparency and efficiency for their cash operations. Early adopters include Rochester Armored Car Co., Inc. and a partner bank; Davis Bancorp and Busey Bank; AXIOM Armored and Nuvision Credit Union; and Loomis Armored and Wells Fargo Bank. All transitioned their pilot activity to early adoption and are now strategically working on their E-Manifest rollout path.

The E-Manifest Service has greatly improved the experience of early adopter armored carriers at Federal Reserve docks. By using electronic files, standardized barcodes and the E-Manifest application programming interface (API) instead of paper forms, these armored carriers now have detailed information about currency shipment contents and receipts for the exchange of valuables. This information can be further leveraged to share with their financial institution customers, providing insight into the movement of their Fed currency orders and deposits. Additionally, with the E-Manifest Service, armored carriers are continuing to reduce their time spent at the dock.

Experience efficiency and transparency improvements

The E-Manifest API enables more robust and timely data-sharing capabilities. Financial institutions and armored carriers have greater visibility into their package contents, which allows them to make more informed decisions.

In addition, the E-Manifest Service is designed to accelerate dock exchanges at Federal Reserve Banks by using E-Manifest API technology to validate data exchanges and eliminate paper-based processes. Armored carriers can significantly decrease the time they spend checking in and reconciling orders at Federal Reserve docks by using electronic data, while eliminating paper deposit orders and manifests supports sustainability and going "green."

Finally, by digitalizing key points in the cash supply chain, the E-Manifest Service introduces the potential for additional innovation. Better data sharing allows for more expedited reporting and creates a wealth of knowledge that could lead to future automation opportunities and other efficiencies.

Support Cash Visibility and get involved today

The Federal Reserve's E-Manifest Service is a significant step to support Cash Visibility, a multi-phase initiative to bring greater transparency and efficiency to U.S. cash supply chain logistics by using a framework that can identify, track and share data about cash packages between cash supply chain organizations.

The broader Cash Visibility initiative is designed to benefit all participants in the cash supply chain. Its goal is to help build a resilient cash supply chain that can more effectively meet public demand for cash.

To learn more about the E-Manifest Service, including how to implement it, interested organizations should visit the Federal Reserve Financial Services website and complete an expression of interest form. The E-Manifest Readiness Program team will work with the organization to assess its readiness and assist with implementation of the E-Manifest Service.