As the industry prepares to see restrictions ease, Astrosystems MD Debbie Malin spoke to Coinslot about the “renewed optimism” shown by operators, and outlined the way forward for cash handling.
As a long-awaited return to full business draws closer, Astrosystems is gearing up for the next few months with an optimistic outlook, built on a consolidated stock and careful budgeting.
Speaking to Coinslot, managing director Debbie Malin detailed just how the cash handling firm has survived this turbulent year, and what there is to look forward to in the rest of 2021.
“Thankfully, we were operational throughout the pandemic and were fortunate enough to not have to furlough any of our staff,” said Malin. “Our factory in China has also been open for the most part, and they have continued to build product in preparation for this moment.”
“Having planned a budget during lockdown, we have tried to be optimistic for the coming year, whilst being realistic enough to recognise that it will take time for the industrial cogs to gather momentum.”
Having spent the last 15 months in regular contact with customers, Malin is well-versed in the current difficulties facing clients, and though she notes “it has been an unbelievably challenging time in so many ways, for so many people,” she believes there is still cause for hope.
“More recently, there certainly seems to be a renewed optimism within our industry, with preparations for the return to ‘normal’ life having been in place for some time, looking ahead to the much-anticipated re-opening of FECs and arcade halls.”
“We are of course excited to welcome back all our customers as soon as the virus allows. Being able to finally see people face to face will be such a pleasure.”
With 21 June drawing ever closer, Malin is pragmatic about the realities of reopening, observing “it is still a few weeks away and as we have experienced already, these goal posts have been known to move at the very last minute.”
However, as with suppliers across the globe, Astrosystems is looking forward to as prompt a return to business as possible.
“It has not been an easy time for any business without the usual steady stream of orders, and we are not an exception. However, we sat tight and held on to the fact that things would ultimately improve. We have been very fortunate in that Astrosystems Ltd is part of a larger company, Astrosys International Ltd. They have provided us with extensive support.”
Cash course: Astrosystems stick with cash solutions
Despite cash’s public reputation suffering considerably during 2020, Debbie Malin explains why the traditional payment method shouldn’t be written off just yet.
Coinslot: What product developments are AstroSystems currently looking at?
Debbie Malin: We have been cash handling specialists for a very long time, and although there is an obvious shift to cashless, we will continue to operate within the banknote and coin field with the introduction of products such as a new coin changer this year.
CS: How are you responding to the changing attitude to cash in terms of new products and fresh innovations for the marketplace?
DM: As mentioned previously, our key focus remains on the two core product lines – GBA (note validation) and Microcoin (coin mechanisms.) Cash has certainly been viewed in a poor light over the past year, with fears around the passing of the Covid virus. However, both the Bank of England and the ECB (European Central Bank) have released statements dispelling these concerns after having carried out extensive tests on cash. A particularly useful article can be found on the Bank of England website.