US Foods operates cheque collections out of a national service centre in Tempe, Arizona, where more than one million payments are processed annually.
As Beth Krotiak, Assistant Treasurer recalls, “collecting these cheques in the field was a pain point for the company because the sales force then had to take the cheques to bank branches to deposit them, or bring them to the local office to be processed and deposited.”
Having sales representatives carry cheques around was inconvenient, inefficient and meant there was an increased risk of threat to fraud and personal safety. This type of deposit is certainly more costly than using a technology solution. In addition, instead of spending more time with customers and building stronger relationships, the sales force was compelled to make frequent trips to the bank or the local office.
The cash application team also faced considerable challenges from this manual payment deposit process, having to manage settlement and reconciliation of these payments. Was there a solution that would allow mobile employees to capture cheque images in the field using a smartphone device and then transmit them to the bank for deposit?
US Foods has developed and has been rolling out a state-of-the-art mobile deposit capture solution to the company’s sales force to handle cheque payments received in the field every year. Now, when a sales representative receives a payment at one of the company’s customer locations, they may simply take out their smartphone, open the bank app, log on with their user ID and password, and key in the amount of the cheque on the screen using a virtual keypad. The employee then photographs the front and reverse of the cheques using the phone.
Once the sales representative transmits the encrypted photographs to US Foods’ banking partner, J.P. Morgan, the bank matches the amount keyed in to the amount on the image. Then the cheques are deposited just as if they had been remotely deposited using desktop scanners back in a local office. Currently, 2,000 sales representatives at US Foods are using J.P. Morgan’s Image Deposit Direct (IDD) Mobile solution to deposit cheques remotely through their smartphones.
This innovative IDD Mobile solution uses today’s smartphone technology to enable cheque deposits anywhere a wireless signal is available. Because no sensitive data, such as cheque images, are stored on the mobile device once a deposit is completed, the solution is safe and secure even in the event a mobile device is lost or stolen. All mobile communications are securely encrypted using SSL encryption; potential duplicate cheques are identified directly on the device.
Deposits may also be reviewed and approved from US Foods’ corporate office prior to being released for deposit. Regardless of whether cheque images are captured on a desktop scanner or smartphone, the deposit history, image retrieval and reporting are all consolidated on one system providing convenient access to cash application personnel. This powerful mobile solution speeds and simplifies deposits, increases the security of transactions, improves funds availability, and makes critical remittance details available more quickly for reconciliation purposes.
US Foods is blazing new trails through the use of this innovative IDD mobile solution. To date, more than one million deposits have been made from the field – more than 30,000 per month. Not only is US Foods on the cutting-edge of mobile business practices, allowing deposit history, image retrieval and reporting to all be consolidated on one system for convenience, but the company is redefining the way a sales force can add tremendous value to the business when they are freed from administrative tasks and given more time to engage with the customer.
Krotiak concludes, “using this solution, US Foods is powering a revolution in collections that in turn is allowing treasury to better support the company’s working capital management objectives.”