If there’s one thing every business owner has in common, it’s that we’ll do just about anything to make our company stronger.
Frequently, that means finding ways to make our employees’ jobs easier and to improve the overall accountability of our teams. Every employee is going to make a mistake at some point, whether in execution or communication. It’s inevitable.
For me, the key to improving my franchise was to equip my team with a tool for instant communication at every level. I frequently have time sensitive information and updates to share with my store managers, who must pass it along to the right members of their staff. In turn, staff members have to communicate updates to their managers who must share them with me. This constant back and forth is a source of frustration and often costly errors.
Mobile workforce management solved this challenge for my team. It helped us become more efficient and made my teams more accountable. They understood precisely what was expected of them, and we could ensure work was completed each day as it was supposed to be and in a timely manner. Specifically, mobile workforce management helped in these three ways.
Instant identification and response to retail execution errors
Our stores are arranged in a way that maximizes sales and creates a good customer experience. We launch and design promotions for the same reasons. In order for these strategies to have maximum impact, our teams need to execute properly. In my stores, there were instances when promotions were constructed incorrectly or prices weren’t displayed at all. These are errors in retail execution that, while easily fixed, can go unnoticed for some time and cost stores significant amounts of money.
With mobile workforce management, my team could use the smartphones they already own to take photos of their work and send it to their supervisors to confirm it was done correctly. Additionally, employees would receive daily checklists from managers or other team members so they know what’s expected of them to do. In general, integrating mobile communications into my team’s operations made it easier for me to ensure work was being done properly each day. And when it wasn’t, mobility made it easier to notify the right person so someone could fix the problem quickly.
Better communication from the top down
Within most stores, you’re not likely to deal with more than two or three levels of employee. However, franchises have district managers, regional directors, store managers and other levels required to manage their countless locations. As a franchise owner, you’re taking directions from a number of people you report to and relaying them to your employees. You need a method of sharing information quickly and guaranteeing that everyone is kept informed.
Mobile workforce management tools don’t just address retail execution issues. Throughout the company, better information sharing means simpler communication at every level. It also ensures people know how to communicate effectively. Rather than using text messages or emails, which can be deleted or get lost in the shuffle, a mobile workforce management application is designed specifically for their workplace communication. When we started using the technology, we found our employees took more initiative to communicate and express problems or concerns quickly. Not only did this make our locations run better by alerting managers to problems of which they were previously unaware, it made our team more transparent and fostered accountability among staff.
Learning from our past to get better in the future
Store managers and other employees need to file reports on a regular basis. Some are weekly, others are monthly or quarterly. Regardless, they’re all important to measure progress and track performance. Anyone charged with filing one of these reports can tell you about the time they lost a critical piece of information or simply forgot to send it on time. Nothing can ever eliminate these issues entirely. However, mobile solutions can help companies track relevant details as needed and quickly pull up the data they need for reports.
For franchise owners, it also provides a historical record, so we can make educated decisions and identify areas we need to improve. If we realize that sales shoot up on a certain day or one employee, unfortunately, routinely produces lower sales or makes more mistakes, we can use these trends and ideas to make improvements.
No mobile application can solve every problem that comes along with managing a franchise. However, no store manager or owner will deny that a tool designed specifically to improve communication and retail execution could be a bad thing for their organizations. Anything that results in less time spent fixing mistakes and more time bringing your business forward is a positive for your company.
Bashar Bawab is partner and director of operations for Hishmeh Enterprises, which has owned and operated Domino’s franchises in Arizona and California for more than 20 years.