Successful multi-location businesses have many things in common. They have strong leaders and great people on teams in each location, and in the Head Office. They’re also very good at creating a great, consistent brand experience to fulfill a market need. Regardless of what industry the business is in, multi-location businesses also face common challenges.
A retailer with multiple locations – a construction company with multiple sites, or a production company with different filming locations all face the same issues of keeping their workforce coordinated, their equipment flowing to the proper locations at the right time, and keeping all the right people connected to the relevant information so they can make the right decisions.
With this in mind, here are five things that you can address to keep your multi-location business on track and moving efficiently.
Communication – keeping teams up to date
Typically, there are two lanes of communication in companies that have multi-locations. The Head Office usually has a vision and a full and rich discussion amongst themselves on how plans should be implemented and run. Locations, on the other hand, tend to feel like they’ve got the “real story” and gets instructions from the Head Office, often without context.
Finding ways to connect and facilitate discussion between locations and Head Office will allow a full conversation about what the plan is, and how it might look in concept and reality.
Empower your teams
Michael Gerber said “Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems”. While this statement has a great merit to it, the world is changing. The “sharing economy” and “millennial shift” are imposing a new approach – centred around people and how they do things. Function specific “siloed” systems fall flat when they meet modern workers who expects to get everything done in seconds. Decentralized systems become a barrier rather than enabler for your teams to move fast.
Create tools that allow your teams to follow their training and the business instincts and talents that you hired them for. Put people you trust with systems that you can monitor to ensure that your plans are being followed, but allow them to use their business acumen to make their location great.
Business today moves at a faster pace than ever before. Operating capital and margins are shrinking, so the need for efficiency and synergy becomes of utmost importance. There is an increased importance of analytics to help multi-location organizations understand how to optimize their performance to be better. While there are many tools that can help with this, we believe that Intelocate is one of the best tools for multi-location businesses to deploy, optimize and increase profitability.
Analyze, Process, Improve!
Keeping a multi-location business running has a lot of components. There are expenditures for equipment and repairs that need to be approved, tracked and paid for, fixtures to install, and improvements to be made. To improve, the process for tracking requisition orders, repair requests and equipment must be a painless process so the business can easily analyze where they have opportunities to optimize the process.
Good reporting will show a company which of their functional groups work together closely, and what groups have opportunities to learn to partner together more efficiently. Take the time to take your data and create programs that allow your teams to get together and learn to be better company partners. Each team is different, but bridging the gap in cultural differences or procedural differences will allow you to drive better cohesiveness and chemistry amongst your teams.
Multi-location businesses are on the rise. As businesses scramble to keep pace with their consumers or customers, the need to keep multi-location operations running smoothly is going to be critical for success.