Managing labor costs can sometimes feel like bailing out a leaky ship. You see costs rising but find it difficult to plug every hole. All the while your operation’s profitability sinks further. And this scenario only grows more difficult to manage in a multi-unit franchise with a greater number of employees across multiple locations.
Of course, labor is one of the largest expenses for an operation. Many of the costs associated with it are out of your control like federal wage increases or rules on workers eligible for overtime pay. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about labor costs.
Time is money, as the saying goes. And one specific area that plagues operators revolves around timecard issues. The problem is outdated modes of tracking time on the clock leave operators woefully behind on solving the issue. Manually tallying how many hours employees worked versus how many they were scheduled for leaves little room to spot potential overtime offenders before it’s already cost you.
Just how much of a problem is it, you ask? Let’s take this ghost clocking example for a multi-location restaurant business with 50 franchise locations. If just two employees at each location clock in 15 minutes earlier than their scheduled shift each week, that amounts to 100 hours of labor overages. That’s an expensive, unnecessary issue. It’s also money that could be used elsewhere like staffing up for peak hours.
That’s where real-time visibility to frontline operations comes in. Strategically focused franchise operators need solutions that not only identify but also remove obstacles to operational excellence. Not every solution is made the same, though.
The Difference Between BI, BPA, and OI
Every business has a stockpile of data. The difference lies in how it’s presented and how well it helps franchisors or franchisees achieve operational excellence.
Let’s start with business intelligence (BI). Business intelligence combs data from across multiple systems, visually transforming it into insights that help organizations make more data-driven decisions. It’s a “count the business” tool that provides a snapshot of past performance. It can help determine trends like going over budget on labor costs. Yet, it still requires leaders to work from a point in time information, interpret the findings, and decide their course of action.
Next is business process automation (BPA). It focuses on “run the business” efforts, often dealing with event-driven, core processes to streamline a business for efficiency and simplicity. A common example of this is employee training. Known to be time-intensive for managers, especially in an industry with higher turnover, automated onboarding reduces that strain. Plus, training content can live on in perpetuity. That’s helpful in the case of timecard issues where a related time and attendance training session could be triggered for employee review.
Operational intelligence (OI), meanwhile, combines the best of both worlds with the bonus that it tracks key data points as they occur. The element of real-time dynamic, business analytics means visibility into business operations and the ability to immediately act on those insights. Simply, OI focuses on both “count the business” (i.e., performance measurement) AND “run the business” (i.e., automated business process) efforts to help a business achieve operational excellence (i.e., increased quality, improved service, cost containment, and more).
Keep Labor Costs Under Control with a Real-Time Operational Intelligence Platform
Labor costs are only going to continue to rise. But cost overruns due to timecard issues are one area that’s manageable – with the right technology. If you’re using an automated (or manual) system that is not tracked at corporate in real-time or relying on old data to detect overclocking, money is seeping out of the ship.
Now, consider what it would be like to stop that problem before it becomes a greater one. That’s a boost to performance and profitability. That’s what a platform like TruOI can do for you.
TruOI is an operational intelligence platform that helps franchise leaders not only know what’s going on but takes it a step further by helping you act on what the data is telling you. Built with an integrated data warehouse and knowledge base, TruOI detects potential ghost clocking and then alerts the location manager with a link to a training video on minimizing those situations to keep labor costs under control. All automatically and in real-time.
It doesn’t just stop at ghost clocking, though. For example, consider the application of the right technology on real-time labor management. No more wasted hours trying to optimize scheduling on spreadsheets or worrying about overtime hours running up costs. Franchise leaders get much-needed real-time insight and control to make crucial workforce decisions that maximize efficiency and stay within budget.
That’s just one additional example amidst endless possibilities. TruOI is an umbrella application that sits on top of all your existing software to capture real-time data. The strategic, operational insights it delivers to franchise management mean excellence in all aspects of your operation.
To learn about how our decision-making software platform can help your franchise grow, reach out to our team today!