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Challenges and logistics of minting new coin

20 June 2017

Cardiff Business School welcomed The Royal Mint’s David Bowles to its Executive Education Breakfast Briefing series on Thursday 15 June 2017.

David, an MBA alumnus and Supply Chain Director for the Royal Mint, delivered a session titled ‘The 2.8 Billion Pound Question – The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of the logistics involved in the launch of the new £1 coin’. This event was hosted by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT Cymru).

Dr Andrew Potter, from the School’s Logistics and Operations Management section, is Chair of CILT Cymru and opened proceedings by welcoming David back to the School.

David provided the assembled audience with a fascinating insight into the process of minting new coin, including how old currency is collected and new currency put into circulation

The new 12-sided £1 coin became legal tender on 28 March 2017 while the old, round, £1 coin will cease to be legal tender from October 15 2017. The project officially began with the announcement of the new coin in March 2014. However, many years of discussion with the Treasury, and then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, preceded that announcement.

The old £1 coin has been in circulation since 1983, when the one pound note, was discontinued. Since then more than 2.1 billion have been issued. Central to the rationale for the new coin was the opportunity to enhance and improve security technologies, and minimise the impact of counterfeit coinage – both financial and social. Counterfeit £1 coinage accounted for around £45million and more broadly challenges currency integrity and public confidence.

Among the security features of the new coin are its distinctive 12-sided shape; its construction from two different metal types; micro-lettering on the lower inside rim of both the obverse and the reverse; a latent image that changes from a '£' symbol to the number '1’ when seen from different angles; and grooves on alternate sides around the edge of the shaped coin.

With the design of the new coin agreed, David highlighted the logistical challenges of the production process and stock build for launch. 700 million new coins were struck for launch, which accounted for circa 8,200 pallets. This minting took place alongside ‘business as usual’ which meant additional space was at a premium. As such, a new warehouse was built, to house the new coin and in anticipation of the return of the old (estimated at 15,000 tonnes or 16,000 pallets).

Working in collaboration with the Coin Dealing Working Party (group comprising representatives of banks and cash processors) new coin was distributed to 30 cash centres across the UK and Northern Ireland for the launch. Immediately post-launch the repatriation of old coin began. It is anticipated that the bulk of old pound coins in society sit: with SMEs and national retailers; in savings jars; in the financial sector; and, in consumers’ wallets. When returned, a percentage of the old coin will be used in the production of new coin while the remainder will be crushed and sold through reputable outlets at agreed London Metal Exchange prices.

Speaking after the event, Sarah Lethbridge, Director of Executive Education at Cardiff Business School, said: “This was another fantastic Breakfast Briefing, both well-attended and delivered by an engaging, insightful and passionate speaker. I think it’s fair to say that David made everyone look again at how they view currency and the minting process and gave a fascinating account of the logistical challenges involved in creating new coin and collecting the old.

“I would also like to thank Dr Andrew Potter and CILT Cymru for partnering with us on this Breakfast Briefing.”

The next Breakfast Briefings will take place on Thursday 27 July 2017 and will welcome back Helen Iles, Senior Associate and Head of Training at Hugh James, to discuss new rules set to hit all UK businesses in May 2018 in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is an update to current data protection rules. Find out more and register your attendance.

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