Does your staff spend a significant amount of time mailing or faxing new manual updates, newsletters, reports or a variety of other information to your franchise system? Are you apprehensive about sending confidential information over the Internet? If your answer to either question is yes, you should consider implementing a plan to establish an Intranet site. If you think your company is too small for its own Intranet site, then this article is definitely for you.
An Intranet site, as opposed to internet is a company internal site with limited access. By using encryption technology and limiting access to persons with passwords, the site is not available for public view like normal internet sites. With a secure Intranet site a franchise company can feel comfortable in sending franchisees information, such as:
- Training documents, manuals, reports and other information normally copied or printed and sent through the mail;
- Software upgrades for immediate use;
- Continued updating of approved vendor lists;
- Changes in personnel directories, with the latest areas of responsibility;
- Last minute vendor close outs;
- And the list goes on and on.
It shouldn’t take too long to see that the above list just touches the surface of potential uses for an Intranet. In fact, not only can a Franchisor disseminate information over an Intranet site, but franchisees in the system can share ideas and experiences with other franchisees by using an Intranet bulletin board. Some Franchisors use their Intranet for franchisee reporting. By compiling the reported franchisee information over a period of time, Franchisors can analyze the reports and help franchisees strategically plan for the future or help them correct existing problems.
If a Franchisor’s Intranet site is set up to allow vendors limited access, franchisees can order supplies over the site from approved vendors with password access and guess what – your franchise company now has a new means to monitor franchisee orders and an additional tool to discover under reporting (See Franchisor Alert February 2016 “Do You Have Under Reporting Franchisees?” for other under reporting tools).
The potential uses for an Intranet site are unlimited and as a client with less than forty franchisees told me: “By eliminating many of our costly and inefficient methods of doing business, our site will pay for itself, but more importantly, our relationship with franchisees is at an all-time high. If I was starting my company again, I would have an Intranet site before I sold my first franchise.”
In Franchising it is important to never be satisfied with mediocrity. Intranets have proven to be successful in Franchising and can help provide value to your bottom-line.