What is an action plan?
The action plan is an opportunity to apply corrective actions to problem areas. It designates an individual responsible for rectifying each problem (anything deemed substandard or non-compliant by the district manager during the audit) and a target date for resolution. By doing this, the action plan fosters ownership and accountability at store level. It also allows district managers and franchisees/store managers to work collaboratively, for example by viewing each other’s notes and comments and adding their own. Lastly, the action plan breeds efficiency. It allows for corrections to happen without incurring large time and labor overheads by reducing the time-consuming back-and-forth and ad-hoc communication between the franchisee/store manager and the district manager.
Why do you need an action plan?
It has often been said that you can’t manage that which you can’t measure. Measurement certainly is a powerful enabler in and of itself. Measurement allows trends to emerge, repeat unacceptables to stand out and performance to be aggregated and sorted. However, the benefits of retail audits reach well beyond measurement. How good is measurement unless you apply correction? How good is a report unless you weave continuous improvement into the process? How good is problem discovery without resolution and closure?
Closing the loop on in-store execution
At its core, the action plan is a vehicle for improvement. Success in retail hinges largely on execution. The action plan is, by design, execution.
Building efficiencies into the action plan generation and follow-up is critical to the success of the field audit program and the return on investment of such a program. Given the importance we place on the action plan, it should come as no surprise that, for every store visit, the organization saves over $84 when using Compliantia with much of the savings attributable to action plan efficiencies.
The action plan is the continuation of the visit, the key to getting resolution and closure and a prime area for generating time and labour savings and greater return on investment. If each problem area is an ailment, the action plan is the cure. Don’t leave the store without one!
This post is part of the “Retail Audit Best Practice” series.