The new face of the Franchise Operations Manual.
FC Business solutions, an integrated consultancy firm that specialises in developing,
growing and marketing franchise systems, is building franchise operations manuals on a new platform that has revolutionised the way franchisors communicate with their franchisees.
One of the most appealing aspects of franchising is that it offers business opportunities to those who may have had little or no experience with the tools and resources needed to run a successful operation.
The franchise system is, essentially, what the franchisor sells to its franchisees. It is a business in a box – a template that encompasses methods, processes, procedures, tools, forms, checklists, documents, and everything else necessary to have a successful business.
The system is the franchisee’s tool-box that underpins their business’ success, so its documentation is critical. Documentation takes the form of the Franchise Operations Manual, and every one of Australia’s nearly 1200 franchise systems should have one.
However, not all operations manuals are created equal. Many are still based on an archaic model that is dense, daunting, inflexible, and often relegated to the filing cabinet before it is read.
Jessie Caudry, Franchise Support Systems Specialist of FC Business Solutions, says that the printed Operations Manual is an outdated and ineffective model.
“With so many emerging mobile systems, you can’t expect franchisees to carry hard copy manuals with them,” Jessie says. “Hard copy manuals are a waste of time and paper, and belong in a bygone era.”
Many franchisors have, over time, neglected their documentation and processes. They create a system that works, document and distributes it to the franchisees as they join, and then forget about it.
As the business evolves, the system is progressively developed and enhanced so, over time, version one of the system is now version five. Yet, while the system has grown and refined, the Franchise Operations Manual is still stuck at version one – the current processes are often not those that were documented in the first place.
Franchisors are thus doing injustice to their franchisees, with manuals that do not contain up-to-date, relevant information, and are written in a way that does not resonate with the end user.
As part of its service suite, FC Business Solutions builds operations manuals for franchisors. Over the past twelve months, they have begun to deliver them on a platform called Operating Docs (OpDocs), by Vortilla, with startling results. This platform is slick, modern and built specifically with franchise systems in mind.
The platform grants access to all user groups within a franchise system – the franchisor, the franchisee, store managers, and employees. It is live and accessible by anyone who has permissions.
“The OpDocs platform has entailed four years of constant development,” says Josh Cairns, Director of Vortilla. “Unlike many other systems, the goal from day one was to build a great system for managing manuals.”
The development came about when a government organisation wanted a platform that would educate staff whilst also managing the compliance aspect. Vortilla has received funding from government organisations and major retail groups within Australia to build a system that actually works. The result is a contemporary, user-friendly platform that enables video content, version control, permission management, compliance reporting, and induction. Importantly, OpDocs allows administrators to make updates and send notifications at any time.
“OpDocs allows you to update one policy, and send notifications to everyone affected by that policy,” Josh says. “You can then see if they’ve clicked on the policy and acknowledged their understanding of the content, which allows for full transparency of compliance. With the compliance aspect of the system, there’s no going under the radar for staff or franchisees.”
“In the past, an operations manual would have been a Word document, which may have been more than 500 pages long,” says Josh. “To update one important policy – such as how to greet customers – you would have to edit and send out the entire document again. After it was sent, there was no way of knowing if your franchisees had read through the entire document to pick up on the changes. It was an encumbrance on the already-busy day of a franchisee.”
OpDocs enables complete branding, so users see and feel the culture of the franchisor’s brand. There is nothing generic or OpDocs-branded.
Version control means that whenever a policy or procedure is updated, a new version number is set, and a record is kept of the time and admin user that made the update. A notification of the new version is sent to all user groups that are marked as ‘mandatory’ on that policy.
Each policy and procedure has its own permission controls that determine which users can and cannot access the policy, and who must read and understand each update.
OpDocs is a cloud-based system, optimised for any device. This provides your whole company with 24/7 access to any policy or procedure to which they have been granted access, without the need for any IT infrastructure or resources. All content is accessible using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, mobile decide or via your company’s private Operating Docs mobile app.
The use of video is by far the most engaging way to educate and train staff to execute the important tasks and responsibilities that make your business great.
“Forget the old notion of policies, procedures and best-practices being restricted to text, imagery and tables,” Josh says. “Clients use video within Operating Docs to demonstrate such procedures as how to greet customers, fold clothes, prepare food and more.”
Compliance reporting is critical for any business that intends to build a consistent operating model, particularly those operating in regulated industries such as food preparation or construction. OpDocs makes it easy to get a real-time snapshot of your company’s current compliance position. You can even schedule an exported PDF version to be emailed to key people each day, week, or month.
“OpDocs has left no stone unturned in the development of its platform,” Jessie says. “It has truly changed how franchisors communicate with franchisees, and franchisees with their staff. It has revolutionised the way they share information.”
For a demonstration call (03) 9533 0028 or email email@example.com.