The Bank of Mexico was named Currency Manager of the Year for the way it is fulfilling its mandate to ensure an efficient money supply and guarantee the availability of cash in a country where this is not just a core but a growing means of payment – which it has achieved by opening a second printing facility and cash centre.
The Bank’s main printing facility had gone from producing 200 million notes in 1970 to 1.45 billion in 2017. With a forecast of an annual increase in banknote demand of 10%, it was clear the existing facility was approaching capacity. Also, concentrating all production on one site was a risk.
Hence the decision was taken to build a new facility in Guadalajara, not just to increase capacity but to mitigate risk by ensuring business continuity in the event of natural or other disasters. The site was also chosen to co-locate with the Bank’s main vault and regional cash distribution centre.
Planning around the construction of the plant began in 2013, with a strong emphasis on minimising its environmental impact. Building was completed at the end of 2017, and the new plant was formally opened in November 2018. In total, the project cost $191.8 million, including the land, construction and equipment.
The Mexico City facility – which has two lines – will continue for the time being to print the majority of Mexico’s banknotes, approximately 1 billion annually, while the new plant, currently with one line (albeit with room to establish two further lines in the future) will print around 500 million. The new building will also house a vault with the capacity to hold 5,500 cash containers, increasing the Bank of Mexico’s banknote storage capacity by 35%.
Note Printing Australia (NPA), meanwhile received the Currency Services Award in recognition for its contribution to Australia’s BIM (Banknote Infrastructure Modernisation) Project.
To prepare for the new polymer series of Australian banknotes, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) embarked on a program to update its banknote infrastructure. The BIM program looked at end-to-end banknote logistics, including standardised banknote containers; Note Printing Australia (NPA) processes in finishing; and banknote storage and distribution at an automated RBA site (the National Banknote Site).
The judges stated that they were impressed with the effort and engagement NPA had with the RBA’s Note Issue Department for what they termed a ‘national infrastructure upgrade. The panel asserted that ‘data is becoming more crucial to successful cash management and NPA has invested heavily to upgrade its own systems to improve its offerings to its clients. As a result, the RBA now has more ownership and control thanks to real-time data provided by NPA’.
According to NPA, there were valuable discussions between the RBA and NPA to agree on when and how the data would be delivered, and NPA conducted a significant amount of work on its IT systems to deliver the agreed outcomes. The work focused on integrating BPS 2000 data with barcode data gathered by the robot as it packs each bundle into the RBA containers.
The changes have produced a very efficient system for the Reserve Bank and NPA that provides the ability to track and trace banknotes, as well as delivering the information accurately and quickly.
The presentation of the awards will take place on 19 March in Brussels at the annual Central Banking Awards gala dinner. Last year’s winners were the Bank of Israel for Currency Manager of the Year and Giesecke + Devrient Currency Technology for Currency Services.