At OpsAnalitica we have been preaching the notion of contactless auditing for years now, but we didn’t used that exact phrase as the whole “contactless” phenomenon is somewhat of a new concept that has been exasperated by the pandemic. In the past we talked about them more in terms of self inspections where location managers conduct a self audit with an area manager collaborating with them, virtually, in real-time.
The business case for contactless auditing has shifted from being; more cost effective, the ability to be more frequent, taking less time, having more data points to report on and greener. To the safest way to keep tabs on a locations daily operations without being able to travel and be there in person. Mind you, all the benefits mentioned above are still real, but it seems like it took a pandemic for the industry to take notice.
In this blog we’re going to outline the perfect contactless auditing process, soup to nuts, including; how to set up your audit, how it should be scheduled and conducted, the close out and verification process, follow up and action plans, as well as the data analytics and insights you gain.
First and foremost in order for this process to add value, technology is a must. So if you traditionally been technology adverse, now is the the time to move into the new era of multi-location management or you will be left behind. More specifically you need a software solution that allows multiple users to collaborate on the same process/audit in real-time from their own devices wherever they happen to be in the world.
Digital Audit Setup
Now that you have your software in place it’s time to configure the digital version of your audit. Your audit needs to be setup in a way that it dynamically changes based on the location you are “visiting”. This means only displaying questions/tasks that are relevant to that location and shift. You shouldn’t have to manage different versions of your audit to accommodate every brand, nuance, or build that you might have in your chain. You should have one audit that is location aware and dynamic based on location attributes.
Location attributes may include, but not limited to, different builds, configurations, menus, equipment, hours, etc. Here at OpsAnalitica we have a great process for collecting this data if you don’t already have it handy (most don’t). An added benefit is having a reportable database to reference these attributes in the future.
The benefits of a dynamic audit are ease of use, more efficient, higher adoption, and richer data for reporting because auditors don’t have to waste time on questions/tasks that aren’t relevant to that location and auditor.
There are two different schedules tied to an audit typically. One is the broader schedule that tracks that the audit gets done on whatever time interval you choose ie. monthly, quarterly, etc. You need to be able to report on this data and be able to track which locations have completed their audits according to the schedule and which haven’t at any given time.
The other is the exact date/time that your area manager or center of excellence team member will work, with the store manager, to conduct the audit. This schedule you’ll want to keep as “spontaneous” as possible as to not announce too far in advance that an audit will be happening. You want to make sure that you are getting an actual view into the operations on a random day/shift vs an artificial view because the staff knew they were getting audited. Scheduling this day of or the day before at most, is ideal.
Conducting The Audit
There are some options here as to how the two team members, location manager and area manager/coach, center of excellence, etc., can communicate and collaborate during the audit. Using some sort of video conferencing platform (Skype, Facetime, Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, yadda, yadda) can be used if of course both parties are able to speak the same language (obviously not an issue if you aren’t an international brand). At a minimum the parties need to be able to collaborate on the audit together, ala Google Docs, in real-time.
As the location manager is walking around the location answering questions, adding photos, etc. The area manager can ask, in real-time, for additional information to be added to responses for clarification. This could be additional comments or photos or both. Of course the audit can be configured to require more information or walk the manager down a real-time corrective action based on the responses, but with real-time collaboration additional, spontaneous information can be requested by the area manager. Questions can be flagged for review and will stop the audit from being submitted until those flags have been removed. Collaboration can be used for positive reinforcement and kudos as well.
Completing & Verifying
You’ll want to make sure that you are able to configure your audit such that there’s a verification step(s) that need to take place by the area manager and that it can’t be submitted until that is complete. In OpsAnalitica, for example, it can be set where only an area manager can answer specific questions and/or submit the final audit. This ensures that there was an area manager present for the audit and it wasn’t completed without their input.
Follow Up / Action Plans
Not only does the audit need to be collaborative in real-time, but also after it has been completed for any follow up or action plan items. These items need to be more than just a report to reference. There needs to be tasks assigned out to individuals with due dates that are tracked and followed up on. Notifications need to go out when tasks are updated, completed or not completed to ensure there’s an audit and accountability trail.
Dashboards & Insights
Data is the reason for an audit in the first place. Access to the data needs to be easy to digest and must bubble up problem areas so that the daily operations processes can be reviewed and altered to avoid future issues of the same nature. If you are an international organization the data needs to be available in multiple languages in order to be useful.
You’ve made it this far so here a few of highlights as to why OpsAnalitica is the best solution available for you to manage your contactless audits:
- OpsAnalitica is the only solution available that allows you to create one single audit that will dynamically conform to all of your different location builds, menus, schedules, equipment and other nuances that you may have in your operations. This is a huge benefit that increases user adoption, decreases training time, decreases administrative resources needed all of which lowers your total cost of ownership.
- OpsAnalitica is the only solution available that allows for real-time collaboration where multiple users can work on the same audit at the same time from separate devices not matter where they are in the world. This is really important as you can’t efficiently or effectively conduct a contactless audit without this functionality. There needs to be a way for the area manager to follow along in real-time, ask questions, ask for more clarification or photos, provide feedback and praise as the location manager is conducting the audit.
- OpsAnalitica will offer you the richest data set that will bubble up problem areas in your locations, areas or company wide so that the process can be addressed to avoid these all together in the future. OpsAnalitica helps multi-unit restaurant operators identify and remediate issues before they negatively affect speed of service, QSC Scores, or customer satisfaction.
Thank you for reading and we hope you found the information valuable. If you are interested in learning more about how OpsAnalitica might be able to help you implement contactless audits in your organization please reach out. Our contact info is below or you can initiate a live chat with one of our representatives.