Operational Systems Review
When did you last stop and do a thorough check of your operational business systems or have you even checked them at all?
Have you ever done one or was it so long ago that you cannot remember?
It may seem like an onerous task, but by ensuring that all of your manuals are up to date and that you are following best practices and procedures you can maximise productivity and profit across all aspects of your business.
If Operations Manuals are not updated to reflect changing processes and procedures, your franchisees are missing out on the most up to date information and current best practices.
If you subscribe to the old adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ you may want to consider this; by inducting new franchise partners into the business without a current ‘How to?’ operations manual, you leave all parties exposed to failure.
You are also failing to deliver the service level agreement of the franchise system which can lead to major problems for all involved.
GOOD BUSINESS SENSE
FC Business Solutions see manuals that are 15 years old with no updates, no reinvestment and no care which begs the question; ‘What is the franchisee buying?’
Are they paying good money for a 15 year old manual that is outdated and at best irrelevant?
Is this good business practice and does it make good business sense?
How is this ‘old’ information relevant to the new incoming franchisee who has entrusted the franchisor to train them, show them and help them deliver the brand offering in the local area?
Would you accept this level of service for yourself?
A franchisor that invests in a planned setup and the development of a robust set of manuals in preparation for the launch of the franchise is setting themselves and their franchisees up with the best possible start. With a good grounding of documented policies and procedures, franchisees are set up for success, it is a win-win situation. The provision of templates for all aspects of their business delivered through a comprehensive induction program ensures the franchisee has all of the tools and support they require for them to confidently begin operating.
INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
FC Business Solutions also see young businesses, which may have been in business for only five years, that have documentation that is not meeting their needs and with a young demographic of team members wanting to be the best there remains a huge amount of untapped potential and talent. A viable solution is to review, strip, rebuild and launch manuals online with search functionality to streamline processes and have information at the fingertips of all parties to support excellent training practices.
There are also some systems that have been franchising for 10 years and have no documented processes, the only Operations Manual available is outdated and not being used by the franchisees.
There is no system, no central deposit, no care, and franchisees do as they please as they have not been trained and empowered as to the best way to operate their business. If there is no system documented and readily available, how can a franchisor enforce compliance and ensure consistency across the brand?
It is known that a franchise system is underpinned by the policies and procedures which are known as the Franchise Operations Manual or the Franchise Systems Manual.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
An Operations Manual should support and reference the Franchise Agreement as this is what the franchisee is buying – a guide to the way things are done within the business. Remember, franchisors are only as good as their system.
A system which is robust, tested and easily taught to the franchisee who believes in the brand, product and the service sets all parties on the road to success.
That is why the Operations Manual should be the foundation of the induction program for any franchise system.
It ensures that you minimise double-up of information and resources, saving time and streamlining processes.
An operational system review can address all of the above situations and more. When conducting an operational system review, there are some key things to address:
1. Assess the currency of the suite of manuals against legislation and current business practices;
2. Cross-check against the franchise agreement and other key documents;
3. Inspect compliance to the Franchising Code of Conduct;
4. Analyse ease of access for franchisees and their staff;
5. Address alignment between the manuals and the franchisee induction program and other ongoing training;
6. How updated information, policies and procedures are being communicated to franchisees; and
7. Format and distribution of the suite of manuals and supporting documents.
FC Business Solutions can alleviate some of the stress associated with these problems by doing an Operational System Review for you. After your systems have been reviewed you will receive a detailed recommendations report outlining the advised path to compliance and best practice.
You will also receive tips on how to stop, update, communicate and implement the suggested changes.
Typically recommendations include:
• appointing one key support office employee to be the custodian of the Operations Manual and for them to be updated with regards to any changes in policy, procedure and legislation;
• instill a culture at the support office with all personnel that ensures any changes, updates and new policy and procedure is communicated to the custodian; and
• regular (monthly) update of the required sections of the manual and distributed accordingly by the custodian.
The return on investing in a comprehensive operational system redevelopment will be evident through more improved and aligned franchisee performance.
It is all good and well to redevelop your system but the information needs to be easily accessible and relevant to day to day operations.
This can be achieved by covering the purpose, objective and how to when formatting policies and procedures, and providing printable checklists and forms to ensure compliance and productivity are maximised.
When rewriting documentation, there are some things to consider:
• Does the new Operations Manual support the Franchise Agreement or have there been changes in the Agreement that need to be implemented into the manual?
• Does the content step out what, why, when and how for the franchisee to follow the system?
• Is the manual readily accessible, able to be updated and circulated easily?
• Is it in a format that is practical for franchisees as well as the franchisor in providing updates?
• Does the manual support alignment with current legislative obligations?
One way to ensure this is for your key personnel to subscribe to the relevant government website that distribute updates so that they are kept in the loop.
A DIGITAL PLATFORM?
In today’s digital world the use of the technology and the internet means that we have a plethora of information at our fingertips.
FC Business Solutions can create online operations manuals that have intuitive content search functionality, are easily updatable with new content which then pushes out live updates to the franchise network.
Online platforms can provide a hub for information which allows franchisees to search for relevant documentation policies and procedures; allows efficient updating by the franchisor; customised user level controls and also the ability to track access. The online manuals would ideally be accessed via a smart phone, tablet, laptop or pc and gives franchisees access to the most current information at all times while allowing for updates to be made as new information is made available or when current best practice changes.
If you haven’t conducted an operational systems review in the last few years, maybe it’s time that you did.
Jessie supports franchise clients documenting their systems policies, procedures and workflow processes including standard operations procedures, business diagnostics, development of organisational people structures, learning and development.
FC Business Solutions is an integrated consultancy firm specialising in developing, growing and marketing franchise systems. A professional team provides expert service exclusively to the franchise community, in system development, marketing and communications, business health checks, and business operations. They also offer solutions in documentation, training, and human resources.
Contact Jessie on:
P: 03 9533 0028