Managing any type of business is a challenge for all business owners and managers. Indeed, they must respect several aspects if they want to manage their business optimally. Several elements can complicate business management. In multi-store businesses, several procedures differ from single-store management. These procedures must be standardized for all branches, and, above all, must be properly communicated and applied.
The main processes of multi-store management include employee training, communication, data management, and inventory optimization for each store. These components of business management are essential to successful multi-store management.
Employee Training and Talent Management
Having multiple locations entails a constant stream of employees between different stores. For this purpose, employees must initially be trained according to a documented standard that is applied across the entire company. Despite the difference in the standards and values of each site, clients must be served in the same way at all locations.
In addition, it can be very rewarding to share the best practices of each store to contribute to the evolution of the business. This may be possible with cross-training meetings at a certain frequency as well as employee collaboration among different locations benefit from everyone’s experience.
However, although employee training is critical to company performance, talent management must be taken into consideration to optimize human resources in each store. Knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each branch in terms of human resources can help identify shortages and balance talent across the network. In this way, the company is less likely to be surprised by undesirable events such as a shortage of labour or a lack of expertise.
In short, having effective and engaged employees is the best way to help the company succeed. That’s why it is important to create a strong sense of belonging and spread the company’s culture across the network using various tools such as trade shows or annual events that include all employees.
Network Wide Communication
Choosing where the corporate headquarters of a multi-store chain will be located is a key decision that will determine the nationality of the company, and thereby determine the applicable laws. It is also where important decisions will be made with owners and managers. This decision may also need to be made if the company decides to have several headquarters. The choice of these places is made according to several strategic criteria.
Also, it is interesting to be as close as possible to other sites to facilitate communication. Managers and owners must visit and communicate with other sites regularly to understand what is happening across the network. These visits are not only beneficial for them but especially for all employees since the presence of the managers is encouraging and motivating for employees.
In addition to regular visits throughout the network, a communication system must be set up in the network. A system that contains news, achievements, and changes will remind all employees that all sites are interdependent but must all push in the same direction. It can also be beneficial to interact with employees with questions, surveys, and suggestion requests so that they feel involved in the business.
Standard Operating Procedures
When running a multi-store network, it is important to establish standard operating procedures that define how policies will work in stores across the network. These policies include how the network will be organized, employee procedures, as well as store policies (ie. methods of payments accepted in stores). These policies must all be identical to ensure the homogeneity of how each store is running.
A standard organization will be beneficial as a customer visits several stores in the network. The latter will not be disoriented since the aesthetics, sections, and products will be arranged in the same way throughout the network. It is equally important to present the storage room in the same way so that employees don’t feel confused when they change stores.
Finally, we must also keep some parity in the payment method accepted, as well as the standard organization of the store. A customer would not like to arrive in one of the branches and realize that, unlike another store in the network, they can not pay with a credit card. This example is one of many, and it may be unfavourable to neglect those aspects that may seem ordinary.
To get an accurate picture of the performance of all stores, managers and headquarters must be able to access all store data at the same time. The use of cloud-based software and databases is essential for viewing data anytime and anywhere with an internet connection. Many benefits are quickly noticeable when switching to a cloud. Here are a few:
Security at One Point
Define and manage the permissions and roles of each user on different sites from the Head Office.
Centralized Offers and Promotions
Change your prices and edit or add new offers and promotions from one place that will automatically update the rest of the network.
Overview of the Network
Easily manage the financial details of each point of sale, as well as your quarterly and annual balance sheet. Generate reports for each store as well as general corporate reports in seconds.
Cloud computing services have the capacity to support business expansion. Indeed, they can increase their storage space and offer business functionality according to their needs.
Data Protection and Accessibility
Access your data globally and do not worry about losing data since even in the event of a disaster, this data will be safe.
When a business has more than one store, it must be aware of all fluctuations in the inventory. In this way, it will be easier to make the most of each branch.
In addition, it will be rewarding to have an eye on the products sold by stores to ensure better inventory management. Generate reports in each store and analyze your sales. This will help you predict the demand for certain stocks in each store.
If the inventory movement is uneven across branches, multi-store companies can afford to move products into the network to balance inventory and prevent product shortages. The importance of having a policy for transfers is key. The policy may include: limits on transfers, shipping methods for transfers, or even required minimum inventory levels to keep in inventory.
While managing a network of stores may seem challenging at times, having the right tools can easily help overcome many foreseeable issues. By using the right tools and methods, managers can reduce their stress and therefore increase their productivity.
Alice POS is a multi-store point of sale system that offers an optimal solution for multi-store management. This cloud-based software will give you complete control over your multi-store network. Alice POS offers high security and makes your data accessible at all times. In addition, you can easily manage your inventory across your entire network of stores quickly and efficiently from a single dashboard.