8 Best Practices for Implementing an Operations Management Platform
A software tool on its own will not transform your business. It must be combined with a company-wide commitment to organizational and cultural change. An effective, well-designed implementation strategy is just as important as the technology itself.
The business-wide implementation of an operations management platform will depend on the unique objectives and framework of each individual organization. Operations management software is designed to manage the complexities of operating a multi-unit restaurant, in one central platform, supporting multiple teams and functions within the organization, from junior staff to senior leadership, and from headquarters to field teams to store employees.
After identifying, evaluating, and investing in the right solution, it’s vital to create a plan that’s tailored to your unique business needs. Given the rapid pace at which multi-unit businesses are evolving, operations leaders also need to consider the specific conditions of their teams and those involved in the deployment throughout the organization.
To get you started on the right path, we’ve outlined eight real-world best practices from our most successful customers, who’ve launched and adopted CrunchTime’s operations management platform across hundreds, even thousands, of locations. CrunchTime is an operations management platform that multi-unit restaurants use to drive great customer experiences, manage profitability, and grow successfully.
8 Implementation Best Practices for an Operations Management Platform
1. Define Objectives Upfront
Define your organization's goals by listing current challenges, identifying the people involved, and outlining the processes that require updates along with the benefits expected from enacting changes. Be clear on what you want to achieve and how you plan to measure it.
An objective can be broad or specific. Examples include increasing customer survey scores or achieving 90% task completion on daily cash audits. Clearly defining your objectives ensures every member of your team knows what to aim for and that the appropriate effort is devoted to achieving these goals.
2. Designate a Program Manager (or Team)
Designate an implementation team that has the bandwidth to make the software launch a priority and a program manager who will manage the day-to-day running of the software platform. Your implementation team should include an administrator for the new system and a training lead. These should preferably be people who have already been working closely with the vendor or who have been engaged with the software during the selection process.
Large businesses may need to implement a system champion for each business unit who will be the point of contact for system queries, training on additional features, and onboarding new hires. Your team needs to be aligned and updated regularly on changes to the implementation plan.
3. Review Existing Work Processes
Before digitizing your existing procedures, determine whether they still suit the current needs of your business. After all, your team members are more likely to embrace change if you have adopted a holistic approach before rolling out a new process.
Review the number of items, sequencing of those items, scoring systems, and any other data that might need to be updated. Ask your vendor for recommendations based on the structure of the data that you think will be most valuable and actionable for your company going forward.
Send an email announcement or share your vision at a team meeting well ahead of the transition. This message should come from management to have maximum impact. Employees are more likely to buy into the changes if management is excited about the vision.
Communicate clearly how this change is going to benefit the team and brand as a whole: overall operational efficiency, cost savings, efficient time management, and enhanced customer experience. Outline the reasons why a particular operations management platform has been selected. District managers and supervisors should reinforce the vision when engaging directly with store managers to streamline preparations for a fast and efficient rollout.
5. Set Short-Term Goals to Ignite Immediate Adoption
Prioritize using the system for something specific, like daily operational tasks, to help users gain confidence and build the habit of using the platform frequently to create familiarity. For example, these daily tasks can include opening and closing checklists, cleaning checklists, or staff check-ins.
This allows your team to get comfortable with the operations management platform while you gradually add additional features, which could include incident reports, HR functions, and maintenance requests. It also prevents managers and staff from feeling overwhelmed by excessive levels of operational change in one go.
6. Train the Trainer
On-site group training sessions may not be practical for every business. An online introductory meeting will be necessary if your business locations are not in close proximity.
For hands-on training, schedule a session with a core group of supervisors and adopt a ‘train the trainer’ approach. These individuals can be tasked with downloading the platform on store tablets for the managers in their own district and teaching them how to use it.
7. Monitor and Fine-Tune
It’s crucial that a feedback mechanism be integrated into all stages of the implementation project. The process of software implementation is dynamic, which is why project leaders need to set markers, monitor progress, and promptly address issues that arise by making make real-time changes. Auditing indicators throughout the project ensure that the various teams are meeting their responsibilities.
8. Facilitate Change by Celebrating Success
Set your team up for long-term success by incentivizing the right behaviors. This can include a bonus to the store that achieves the highest task completion rate or store audit. On the other hand, you may need to help those team members who won’t or just can’t get behind your new approach: you don’t want naysayers to negatively affect team morale.
Going forward, you will be able to bring new hires up to speed very quickly as all of their tasks will be centralized. Keeping your entire team unified and working towards a common vision is essential to reach desired outcomes.
Setting Up for Success
It’s important for multi-unit restaurants to identify the specific priorities and initiatives they want to be rolled out to enable a smooth transition and set themselves up for success.
CrunchTime’s operations management platform is designed with efficiency and effectiveness in mind, so you can get back to what matters most - running your business. Check out our case studies to learn more about CrunchTime and our customers.