Three major risks franchises face in quality control

When running a franchise business, keeping tabs on operations across your whole network can be an immense challenge. Naturally, we all like to imagine things working as a sort of finished product – a well-oiled machine in which franchise managers understand expected practices and have the resources they need to make the company work. Reaching that point, however, typically means overcoming numerous challenges relating to various forms of quality control.

Truthfully, there may be countless concerns that could fall into this category. Here, though, are three particularly significant risks franchise businesses face in quality control.

1 – Lagging on communication

In a past article here, The Ten Spot CEO Kristen Wood had some interesting comments about communication, which essentially spoke to the idea that this was one area in which she had to do a lot of learning on the go while establishing her own franchise model. Wood, who started her successful beauty bar and salon business in Canada in 2006, stated that she figured out early on that she would need “more standardisation” and “an increasing level of consideration for franchise needs” in how she communicated with her franchisees.

Ms. Wood has used those realisations to guide how internal communications take place in her company, but her case illustrates an ever-present risk within the franchise model: lagging on communication. Naturally, communications in this kind of business cannot be 100% standardised, as different franchises, managers, and even lower-level employees will have different needs at different times that need to be addressed. However, it’s important to consider Wood’s approach, and attempt to develop the closest thing possible to an all-encompassing understanding of franchise needs. This paves the way for proactive and timely communications, and decreases the likelihood of misunderstandings or unaddressed issues.

2 – Falling behind on inventory

Another common risk in franchise businesses is that of the supply chain getting tangled up or slowed down, and inventory running low or expiring as a result. This can happen in any number of ways, from shortcomings in manufacturing, to inefficient shipping, to an individual franchise failing to accurately track its supplies. Whatever the case though, even a slight mishap in this area can result in significant problems for the business at large.

Fortunately this is one problem that can be addressed today largely through technology, in addition to effective management. Software and connected devices can now keep tabs on inventory items in an automated manner, such that a franchise sends an alert when it faces a need, or a manufacturing facility or supplier sends out data on the status of product readiness. And in between, technology can also help to make the actual shipping process as efficient as possible for franchises. Verizon Connect UK delves into the benefits of route optimisation software and points out that it can be used to customise a territory of operations; it can help you map efficient shipping routes, prepare for delays, and adjust schedules as needed. Systems like these can ultimately take a significant portion of the inventory and shipping management process out of your hands as a business owner.

3 – Failing to embrace millennial participation

This point may take some by surprise, but the truth is that millennials are a somewhat unique generation, and are now of an age to comprise a significant portion of the consumer economy. For this reason, it’s important to consider them specifically when building out your franchise model, and not doing so can result in missed opportunities for business.

In a piece specifically about trends in food franchising, Revel Systems speaks to the idea of the millennial influence fairly effectively, pointing out that this generation grew up with trendy fast-casual options, a greater tendency to eat out, and in some cases the inclination to buy into franchises themselves. These points are made with regard to a specific type of franchise business, but taken as a larger argument they make it clear that the tastes and preferences of this increasingly influential generation are worth taking into account. If you’re running a franchise business, it’s a good idea to embrace what millennials can bring to it, both as consumers and as potential franchisors.

Again, there are far more concerns than just these three when you’re looking to organise and structure a franchise business. Addressing these risks, however, will have you well on your way to addressing some of the little things that can plague these businesses and hold them back from success.

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By Robin Simon