Advisory Mar, 30 2016

Audit, an important tool for successful franchising

Audits are very important to run a preschool at multiple locations as it does not only helps franchisors to build on their network but also protects franchisees to maintain the quality standard of their franchise brand.

By Yamini S Verma, TFW Bureau
Sr. Sub-editor
Audit, an important tool for successful franchising

We all know that education industry has always been a favourable investment option for the investors owing to profitable returns and pre-school category is the most promising one. Pre-school brands grow on the parameters of quality education and high standards of holistic environment that it offers to the tiny tots. 

Win- win situation

Franchise audits offer the solution of fixing the discrepancies occurring between both the franchisor and the franchisee to rectify the deficiencies in requisite skills.Franchise audits of pre-schools refer to the periodical checks conducted by the franchisors to ensure complete compliance by the franchisees. Franchise audits ensure proper functioning of the operations, centre setups, monetary obligations, etc., by all franchisees. 

Franchise audits assist both the franchisees and the franchisors by boosting up the whole franchise system. , as they lead to knowledge-sharing and implementation of the best practices, besides bringing awareness of organisational processes.

Amol Arora, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Shemrock shares: “Auditing is not only important for us, or for a preschool; it is important for any quality franchise system. Franchisees are basically entrepreneurs, always thinking creatively. Their actions sometimes cause deviations in the system, which they may believe is in their self-interest. However, most of the times, it is not in their long term interest, nor it is in the interest of the system, if such deviations occur. Normally, franchisees could end up cutting corners, however, any quality franchise system will have enough checks and balances to ensure that such deviations do not occur & damage the brand experience for the parents and the children.”

EuroKids Preschools, Co-founder and CEO, Prajodh Rajan, says: “For establishing a successful franchise business the crucial aspect is managing uniform standards of delivery for customers across the length & breadth of the network. And for that we use the services of external agencies to conduct mystery audits at regular intervals to monitor various facets of our franchise centres across the country.”

The supporting system

For Maple Bear schools audit process is an annual feature each year in each branch. Maple bear audit is a process followed globally. In India the audit is conducted towards the end of the academic session in a detailed manner covering various aspects. Supporting the franchise business model as apt expansion tool for pre- schools,Hazel Siromoni, Managing Director, Maple Bear India asserts:“I believe franchising system certainly will assist the edupreneurs if the brand has a sound process system at all levels including operational, academic, overall maintaining the quality of school. This enables a 360 degrees of quality assurance specially to the parents which is what maple bear experience has been.”

While Kidzee believes that their excellence in service delivery is the reason why they have been adjudged the ‘Most Trusted Brand’ in pre-school category. “The drive for excellence starts before the centres and schools become operational to ensure adherence to guidelines and policies that have been duly crafted and vetted by business excellence team. With more than 190 parameters of service and process excellence, we keep a regular check on service delivery across entire network and continue to win awards and hearts for our service,” quips Sukhvinder Singh Bindra, Business Head- Kidzee.

Another education giant, Educomp’s, Little Millennium Preschools conducts audits that give a detailed analysis about the franchisee’s centre, with a view to improving specific existing practices. “Our endeavour while conducting audits at our centres is to ‘guide’ and not to pass a verdict. Our effort is towards empowerment and progress of our franchisee schools. Little Millennium conducts regular audits to improve the centres in each of the following areas,” says Raman Bajaj, MD, Educomp Child Care Pvt Ltd.

Ways of auditing

Auditing is no child’s play and involves a lot of strategy, evaluation and sound knowledge of core business. Now days, technology and outsource services have made auditing easy and more relaxing for the preschool brands. 

Some preschools have their own mobile app where daily, weekly and monthly reports are generated on the basis of the inputs provided by each of their centres, a few uses biometric system, CCTV camera, phone, visit in person, anonymous survey of parents, support portal to audit above mentioned activities. 

Some franchisors have their in-house team of auditors, while others outsource the external agencies for the same. Most franchisors bear the cost of conducting the franchise audits themselves as they conduct surprise or mystery audits using the traditional process of personal visits. 

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