The growth and expansion of businesses are often attributed to innovations in marketing-related decisions and strategies. Being in the field of retail consulting, we always emphasise that there is also another side to the story and that is operational planning. Retail businesses are restricted in many ways from reaching their optimum potential when their current state of operations is weak. Retail stores that operate via unplanned and undefined ways are never confident about their operational capabilities. For instance, they cannot make educated assessments on additional business volumes they are capable of handling. In such a situation, any attempt to grow and expand business via marketing ingenuity alone is bound to fall short. And one of the best tools to map and streamline retail operations is Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). As retail consultants, we have seen umpteen numbers of times the merits of having SOP-defined retail store operations manuals in helping businesses strive for growth and expansion. In this blog, we shall explore this subject further.
Retail stores can replicate their operations with confidence only when they know that the processes have been tested and proven over time. When this surety of having sound operational planning is present, retail stores are in a more assertive position about replicating them in another store or region. For example, when a retail supermarket store maintains a robust home delivery process, the store will be more confident about delivering to other nearby locations following the same process. Minor adjustments may be required but the basic workflows would already be there in the operations manuals.
No operational planning is forever. Even tested and proven processes need to be monitored to keep them relevant. From time to time, various internal and external factors in the business environment require retail businesses to adjust their operations. Extending the example used in the previous point, if the supermarket store is not following any operations manual for its home delivery process, it would not be able to make the process improvisations to successfully cater to a new locality. As retail and eCommerce consultants, we always maintain that making such operational adjustments is much easier when operations manuals are already in use.
Foundation for Retail Automation and Digitisation
Retail SOPs or retail store operations manuals also constitute the groundwork for the adoption of suitable technological solutions. We can use the example of software solutions used by retail stores. What software is suitable for a retail business cannot be determined out of thin air. The features and functionalities required in the software are first identified and established. The required informational inputs and insights come from the business process definitions. For example, if a CRM database is intended to be created, the billing process must include taking customer details subject to their consent and applicable laws. The same feature then becomes a requirement in the desired software solution. Similarly, for any other business process, the operations manuals provide the information that translates into the business specifications for finding and customising a suitable software product.
Measurability of Requirements for Growth and Expansion
Without a defined operational framework for the existing business processes and operations, it becomes challenging for retail enterprises to gauge their operational requirements for new stores. Being able to name the operations is one thing and having operational roadmaps is quite another. For example, in determining manpower requirements for a new store, it is crucial to know how much business volume the processes are capable of handling. Say, the inventory process currently handles goods worth USD 1000 in a cycle. And if the expected business volume is USD 2000 in the proposed new store, the team size has to be doubled. This assessment is true only if the process definitions are precise and accurately map the work-handling capabilities of the inventory team.
Facilitates Franchise Expansion
One of the popular growth and expansion strategies in business is franchising. Many renowned retail brands enjoy their global statuses by giving away franchising rights. Over time, franchising has pervaded across the world. But it is imperative for franchisors to put in place certain measures. These measures are intended to safeguard the brand name and reputation of the franchisor. Apart from legal contracts and agreements, franchisors also define the operational framework and standards required to be maintained by the franchisees. To achieve this, operation manuals are provided to franchisees. But to make this tactic work, retail enterprises must first get their own operations within a defined framework. Otherwise, there is no way they could prescribe to others how to execute a process.
Solidifies Funding Prospects
Securing investments for funding organic growth and expansion is one of the biggest hurdles for retail businesses. It is never easy to convince investors with ideas alone; they go through 100 such ideas every month. Investors also desire to see how the ideas shall perform in the field. This is where sound operations management comes to the rescue. Investors need not see the SOPs or the strategic operational details. But it is a good idea to convey to them that your operational planning rests on SOP manuals. With SOP manuals in place, the chances of even the most intricate of their operational queries going unanswered are slim to none.
About BPX (Business Process Xperts)
BPX is a management consulting brand specialising in process management solutions and SOP development services. With more than 10 years of experience and having served over 500 clients, today, we are a brand with a scaling international presence. Our service design and delivery are carried out by experienced business process consultants. We represent a diverse team with rich experience and relevant project exposure.
To know more about our retail SOP consulting services or for a quick dialogue with one of our retail SOP consultants, drop us a message to schedule an appointment.
Chief Growth Officer
Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ companies from various sectors, since 2012, to custom-build SOPs and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping companies scale 10X with business process standardization.