Balance Consistency with Character

Nic Allen
 • 
Oct 2020
4 min read
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As service businesses scale, consistency is key. Consistency comes from having a blueprint of brand standards and a method to ensure they’re constantly met across all your sites. But consistency can be the enemy of character.

If all your sites are operating consistently in relation to each other, that’s great for process management. But if they’re all operating below their full potential for the sake of consistency, you’ve got a problem and it’s probably costing you money. In a competitive landscape, you don’t want to sacrifice the character of an individual site purely for the benefit of consistency.

How do you standardise your processes while enabling each site to operate to its full potential?

Most sites have slight variations

As an example, a 100-site pub company will need a set of standardised processes to ensure all sites are operating safely and effectively. As a result these pubs will all run in roughly the same way.

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However, some pubs have different licensing restrictions. Some have a pie machine while others have a full kitchen. One pub has a stage for live music. If you scratch a little deeper, most pubs have characteristics specific to them. This could even be as simple as the day-of-the-week the bins are collected.

Site-specific variations need to be accounted for when building processes.

Previously, you’d have to print 100 different versions of the operational log-book, or distribute a generic set of instructions that lacking crucial detail or just plain wrong for certain sites. It’s not uncommon for sites without a tumble dryer or stepladder to be asked to check these on a weekly basis.

Asking people to check items that don’t exist is demoralising and inefficient.

Bending the blueprint

Operators should aim for a mix of centrally controlled processes with site-specific additions by those who understand them best.

This is typically the manager of the site.

In the example of the 100-site pub company a good balance would be ensuring all business critical tasks are controlled by a centrally distributed list while managers at site level make amendments based on their site.

If bins are always collected at a site on a Wednesday morning, the manager might want to add a line to the closedown checklist on a Tuesday. And the pub with a stage for live music might want to add a check to their daily opening checklist to ‘check the stage steps’. And any pubs that don’t have a tumble dryer might want to mark that task as not applicable to that site.

By combining a set of standardised processes with site-specific checks built by those on site, businesses can strike the balance between managing at scale and retaining the character of their brand.

Digital systems like Trail allow for this flexibility while still giving control and visibility across an organisation. We want every site to be your best site and believe in empowering the manager to do so. You can read more about these specific features here or existing customers can contact us via the in-app chat.


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