Relief From Daily Frustrations
It seems these days the frustrations are mounting for franchisees. From accounting to deliveries and everything in between, the problems appear to be growing and franchisees are having a harder time operating their stores to their full moneymaking potential. I have been hearing from franchisees across the country that they are spending more time trying to solve problems than they are trying to increase sales, which is a losing proposition indeed.
From the moment they walk into their stores, franchisees are dealing with problems like incorrect retails (which are becoming a common occurrence), incorrect factoring in S18 and merchandise reports, Purchase Summary inconsistencies with vendor invoices, issues with the new payroll system, getting credits posted on merchandise reports, items that scan one day but then disappear from the system, and much more. Even creating CHD cases for help with these problems seems to cause more grief than relief as more often than not the case is closed without resolution, which means the franchisee must create yet another case.
Late deliveries are another source of frustration, not to mention an ordering window that closes at 10 a.m. When deliveries arrive 30 minutes late or more, it means more labor expenses for the franchisee and lost sales. If a storeowner misses the ordering window, guess what—no product, no sales. These issues are especially troublesome to low volume stores. Efforts must be increased to ensure on-time deliveries, and the ordering schedule should be tweaked to allow more flexibility.
Audits are a nightmare for many stores. The WIS auditors are inexperienced and, according to many franchisees, unprofessional. When the WIS audits started in the Los Angeles area in 2009, I recommended to franchisees that they contract an outside service to double-check the audits. I would say 35 to 40 percent of the stores took me up on that advice, and since then it has saved more than $1.3 million combined that would have otherwise been lost to the WIS audits. It can’t possibly be a good thing when franchisees need to hire an outside auditor to monitor the work performed by the company contracted by SEI to perform that very duty.
The equipment in our stores is vital to our ability to operate. If the Slurpee machine, grill, freezer, or coffee machine is out of commission for any length of time, product and sales will be lost. Despite the many changes made by SEI and FM Facility Maintenance to improve response times and repair quality, some franchisees are still not getting their equipment fixed in a timely fashion, be it an issue with scheduling or an issue with available parts. More work is needed in this area. If equipment goes down, it should be repaired as quickly as possible.
These are all headaches that 7-Eleven storeowners should not be having on a daily basis. Franchisees are beginning to feel more obstacles are being thrown their way than are being removed. SEI needs to work more closely with franchisees to resolve these issues. After all, if franchisees are prosperous, so is the company.
From all reports, BT seems to be working in our area, and as it is expanded, perhaps the new system will solve on-time delivery difficulties and issues with invoices and merchandise reports. Time will tell.