Franchisors: Are your systems holding your business back?
Network expansion plus growth per store. That’s the twin mission and ultimate challenge for every franchise operation.
It’s even more challenging if your franchise model comes with big-ticket purchases and complex inventory, distribution, sales, payment, customer tracking and business information requirements – requirements that your systems may be struggling to keep up with.
Inefficient systems and unwieldy processes aren’t just an irritation. They can be a serious impediment to franchise growth.
Order books. Spreadsheets. Outdated legacy systems. Arrays of disparate, cobbled-together, sub-optimal systems and manual processes. These are what too many franchisors still rely on to drive operations whose complexities demand much more.
Where your systems may not be up to the job
Franchises can hit the wall when their systems get in the way of:
- Maintaining accurate control over the warehousing or back-to-back purchasing of a wide and complicated range of products.
- Keeping track of complex stock levels centrally and at every store, ensuring product availability across stores.
- Controlling orders efficiently from start to finish, including tracking initial deposits and final payments, plotting delivery scheduling and managing a variety of delivery options.
- Automating multi-outlet workflows – reducing human error, relieving staff of time-devouring manual processes and improving workflow efficiency across the entire operation.
- Minimising training time for frequently rotating staff.
- Tracking and managing customer interactions – not just orders, but all the touch points that determine a customer’s relationship and value to the business.
And perhaps most critically:
- Providing the data and business intelligence you need to measure performance precisely across the franchise network – to control costs, identify growth opportunities, and stimulate greater sales and success from franchisees.
Without a stable platform to wrest control over all of these complexities, a franchisor will struggle to expand easily into new outlets – let alone provide existing franchisees with the tools and support they need to grow their own businesses.
Automating for franchise growth
One approach that’s gaining traction with a number of franchisors is using Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems.
ERP systems are business management software solutions that can automate a comprehensive range of even the most complex business processes.
Once used primarily by large manufacturing companies, newer-breed ERPs are now being embraced by a much wider range of businesses. And they’re especially well suited to the needs of a complex, big-ticket franchise operation.
An ERP has the ability to automate everything from inventory, distribution, quoting, order management and staff workflow to data collection, reporting, revenue forecasting and even customer communications.
It can also integrate financial, sales, reporting and CRM platforms that:
- Consolidate all data in one easy-to-access place;
- Give a real-time view of every store and every aspect of the operation;
- Provide that critical big picture view of overall franchise performance
- Build a solid platform for franchise growth.
Where are you feeling the pain?
These are just a few of the signs that your systems may be holding you back:
- Getting real-time data on inventory, aging and product performance is difficult, if not impossible.
- Order entry, processing and tracking is clunky and time-consuming.
- Linking products to individual sales, orders to customers, and changing or moving around orders is a challenge.
- You can’t forecast inventory requirements easily and accurately.
- You can’t communicate with customers consistently or automatically about order status and delivery.
- You struggle to get precise performance measures: staff performance, productivity, sales, margins, sales per hour and more.
- Too much of the operation seems overly cumbersome and subject to human error.