Unless your business is 100% virtual and everyone is working at home, your operation is being tested in ways never anticipated.  Businesses with any element of ‘brick and mortar’ are faced with a new set of challenges that corporate need to consider in 2022 planning and budgeting.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a school, hotel, athletic club, office building, apartment complex, long-term care facility, hospital, stadium, retail outlet, theater, etc., the realities are the same, everything is changing.

Operations of all shapes and sizes are at an inflection point, a turning point, which if navigated unsuccessfully could have a significant and detrimental impact on the business. Operating teams are faced with increased costs, less resources, and more responsibilities. The people, the authorities and corporate want more insight, accountability, and efficiency.

The Perfect Storm for Operations

COVID, politics and people’s opinion have changed the equation and put all eyes on operations and who is doing what, to keep people and the environment safe. To compound an already challenging set of responsibilities, management is now faced with the trifecta of issues that individually might be manageable but combined, could determine if they make it or not.

Consider the landscape for a moment and what every operation must now contend with…

Higher Operating Costs
A ‘living wage’ is a hot topic these days and is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. Different than minimum wage, which is less and is said to result in employees needing to rely on additional subsidies to get by. As a result, low-wage earners, activists, and political parties are all calling for increases to minimum wage, which as operations can attest, will have a big impact on resources and budget. And even if the minimum wage doesn’t increase, how you treat your staff is being closely monitored and discussed, it will impact the brand!

Fewer Resources
To protect the people during COVID, governments everywhere have turned to various subsidy programs to ensure that people have access to the income necessary to feed and protect their families. For brick-and-mortar businesses looking to get back up and running, this has become a challenge as some potential recruits would prefer to rely on subsidies vs going back to work.  This is making it hard to find resources and/or is forcing operations to pay more for the same job.

More Responsibilities & Scrutiny
As with any pandemic or emergency, the regulators are there to identify and enforce the best practices required to keep the people and the environment safe, COVID has been no different. Today, on top of all the signage and testing associated with COVID now all operations, have net new operating responsibilities. Prior to COVID, sanitising all the high touch locations was done once a day and no one really thought about it. Now all eyes are on operations and those same locations must be cleaned, if not multiple times a day, then multiple times a shift. 

Let’s do the math on that…

For discussion purposes let’s assume we are talking about a property with 200 high touch locations, that must now be cleaned twice per shift, and they operate with two shifts…

  • That’s 200 locations X (twice/shift X 2 shifts – 1 time for pre-COVID) that’s 600 net new tasks that must now be resourced and completed each day.
  • At 3 minutes per task = 1,800 minutes or 30 hours of resources per day or 15 hours per shift.
  • At $12/hour that’s $360 per day or $131,400 in incremental resources that must be funded to comply with the new regulations. Plus let’s not forget the management/administrative costs that go along with this!

While hopefully one day the COVID requirements will be no more, it has forever changed the way that people look at operations, what is being done to keep us and the environment safe and what we the people are willing to accept. Regulations of all kinds and people’s expectations will continue to evolve, get more detailed and be managed more closely. This is not going away!

 

So, while the easy answer is, we’ll do more with less or we’ll make do, let’s be honest, it’s just not possible. No one has resources sitting available, staff are already tapped. To swim, operations must hire more staff, optimize resources and/or make a conscious decision not to comply with regulations and brand standards. No matter how you slice or dice it, things have changed, and these changes represent real dollars to the bottom line!

 

Connecting the Dots!

To really understand the power of the storm, and why it puts operations at risk, we must first take a moment to appreciate the brick-and-mortar environment and the teams responsible for making it all happen!

The operating teams for brick-and-mortar businesses are largely made up of management and labour. They are the teams responsible for serving our customers and visitors, keeping our property clean, our infrastructure maintained and repaired, our property patrolled for safety, fires prevented, our food safely prepared, our pools clean, etc. In essence these teams are the physical face of the business, how well they do their job has a direct impact on health and safety, security, capital expenses and ultimately the brand.

The ‘labour’ or staff, in this equation, are generally classified as ‘low or minimum wage jobs’. They are often staffed by students or by those with no secondary education, they are mobile, they are not committed, this is a step in the journey. As they are generally on the young side, in their personal life, technology is part of who they are, but people often say, it has made them difficult to communicate with in person or on paper. So, while their hourly wage is low or was, so is their loyalty, dependability, quality of communications, tenure and now so is their willingness to do the job.

As a result, management is almost always short staffed, their time is spent inspecting the work of others, completing paperwork, manually compiling reports, training new staff, settling disputes, and reporting/justifying their time and resources to corporate. Finding time for more value add or strategic activities is almost impossible, there simply is not enough hours in the day.

As a business, regulator, insurance provider we have high expectations and a low tolerance for error in operations, yet we continue to manage these teams like we did in the years before technology.

We Predict…

2020/21 is the perfect storm that created an inflection point for operations, a point in business of significant change or a turning point. It is no longer feasible to rely on the management methodologies of yesterday. Just like the rest of the business that has gone digital, operations also need access to accurate data so they can make the business decisions necessary to optimize resources, reduce liabilities and protect the brand.

Today, day-to-day responsibilities are still managed with pen and paper. Work items are assigned, checklists are provided, data is captured and stored in the filling cabinet or on someone’s desktop. Reports are transcribed from paper to computer then lost. Staff are left to their own devices to complete the tasks at hand, as they see fit, optimizing their time, or not. Management has limited visibility if something was done, by whom and when, we must rely on the honour system. Issues are reported if and when staff check in, leaving ample opportunity for the situation to go from bad to worse. Disputes are settled by he said / she said / they said, making discipline hard to determine and difficult to enforce. Data is manually compiled to tell the story, analyze the operation and report on compliance. Data quality is questionable at best and requires a significant investment in administrative resources to access.

Brick and mortar operations continue to be a blind spot for businesses of all shapes and sizes, exposing the bottom line to increased financial risk and negative exposure to the brand.

Digitally Transform Operations and Swim!

Introducing Command Center from Zendelity it combines the flexibility of near field communications (NFC) with the smartphone, and our smart workplan management platform to reduce operating risk.

It is a cost-effective, mobile solution designed for frontline teams and ensures adherence to all operating requirements. It automates the communication of operating procedures to ensure important work items are not missed. It enhances visibility and supports a proactive approach to management with a real-time view of compliance. It creates a system of record to help identify opportunities for improvement while also providing the data necessary to engage in data driven discussions with insurance providers, regulators and those that define brand standards. 

In essence, it makes it easier for operations to meet and exceed expectations and successfully navigate the storm.

Command Center from Zendelity, can cost-effectively, digitally transform the frontlines, and help save lives, money, and time for physical operations of all shapes and sizes.
Learn More!