Managing, monitoring, and growing any business is hard. However, with dispersed locations and layers of management, franchises face unique challenges when it comes to organizational alignment, communications, and performance measurement.
In the middle of that complex structure is the field: the district managers going store to store, relaying information down from corporate, checking in on progress, and relaying information back up the chain. If corporate is the brain and the stores are all of the body's moving parts, the field is the connective tissue that's working to orchestrate all of the movement.
The field has a lot riding on their shoulders. Corporate relies on them for insight into how stores are performing against company goals and each other. Stores look to the field for information on company priorities and support when rolling out new programs. They're the keepers and messengers of major information that's needed to make the organization run smoothly, uncover issues, and take advantage of new opportunities.
But for an organization that carries so much weight within the business, they're not set up for success.
Picture a day in the life of your district managers. They pull documents and numbers, do research, and prepare for meetings. They visit stores and tackle checklists. They meet with the stores' teams and update them on the latest corporate initiatives. They dive into numbers. They ask questions. They take notes. And then they do it all over again.
Despite a large number of tasks and the responsibility of helping drive performance across multiple stores, district managers are often left to their own devices when it comes to support. Today, district managers are cobbling together a hodgepodge of tools, from spreadsheets and pen and paper notes to CRM tools and presentation decks. With no comprehensive solution, we have heard feedback that district managers often spend 1-2 days a week - up to 40% of their time - compiling information to prepare for store visits and logging notes to report back to corporate.
It isn't working.
With little support, district managers are often relegated to a reputation of "information pushers," seen as little more than a nuisance to store managers. The time required to prepare for store meetings means a major hit to productivity. The turnover rate for district managers - whether leaving the company or moving to a new position - is high. And with each person self-solving in their own manner, information transfer challenges become a major challenge.
There's no arguing that business success will always rely on relationships and require a personal touch. But when it comes to driving efficiencies, empowering individuals, and aligning organizations, technology can play a powerful role. The franchise success stories you read about tomorrow will be those of the companies leveraging technology to amplify the efforts of their teams today.
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