Franchise Operations Efficiencies: The Pre-Emptive Strike
Olympia Fields, IL – Striving for maximum efficiencies in the franchise operation in any industry should be a primary focus of management in any economy, whether in prosperous times or in unpredictable economic environments. There is no industry that is safe from what I like to call the “comfortable corruption of complacency” whereby we become so used to the excellent business system which we have created and honed that we fail to see the gaping holes in our current procedures that allow productivity and operating capital to leak out like a ruptured pipe.
The problem is not centric to any particular industry. The restaurant business is an easy target, whereby a behemoth success like McDonalds Corporation can increase the speed and efficiency of their drive-thru window and add literally hundreds of millions of dollars to their bottom line. It is no less true of an organic food delivery franchise whose lack of intelligent logistics cost them an extra hour of wasted labor-per-day, and $26,000.00 per year in fuel costs. I recently had the pleasure of engaging in the creation of a new operations manual for a small chain of one hundred check-cashing stores, whereby the inconsistencies in operational procedures between each unit was confusing and wasteful due to unnecessary duplication of processes and brand-damaging customer confusion.
I’m a strong believer that when examining operations inefficiencies, “another pair of eyes” looking over your shoulder is important….as long as that other pair of eyes is a franchise industry operations expert, who can properly identify and transcribe the solution to each challenge or problem. Also in the realm of solutions I love are “re-purposing” procedures to create an expedited financial result.
So how often do you update your franchise operations manual? Due to the time commitment and the management that must be actively involved, most of us put this procedure off entirely too long, and are content to simply add new procedures to our network as needed. However, what I am proposing here has nothing to do with the week-to-week additions to new products, procedures, or training methods to embed in our existing documents. Instead, I suggest that the relatively minor cost of instigating a ground-up update to the franchise operations manual as a preemptive strike to achieve improved workflow and economy is a wise move to force meaningful required change.
When we purposely go thru the investment of time to update and re-construct our operations manual, we are forcing ourselves to look at every aspect of our franchise and the inherent challenges within it. To achieve the maximum benefit from a full investigation of operations, it is better to re-build from front-to-back, forcing each participant, consultant, and manager involved to revisit all aspects of the document with a fresh and current look. In addition, it is unwise to delegate this task to just a manual writer and a few lower-level managers whose experience may currently be too narrow to see all the required changes. Invite the company’s best talent, as well as the best experts in the franchise industry available to you to re-investigate every procedure, explore the latest knowledge and technology to increase efficiencies, and remove wasted cost and effort.
You cannot enforce what you don’t define. Actively engaging in the process of reexamining the whole franchise as a defined group of relevant processes has both the physical and psychological effect to create huge end-results. The operations manual itself is just the “container” which holds the wisdom and procedures customized for each business. The true benefit is having all decision makers and employees actively involved in each productive change to better the enterprise.
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