By Mike Procopio

Blue Cow Software

Running a successful fuel oil or propane business requires organization in order to build productivity, efficiency and profitability. This is especially true when you are managing multiple locations. Managing a business from one location is difficult enough. Additional locations demand more effort and a different way of doing things.

Maintain consistent processes and systems

Even though different locations are part of the same business and may carry out exactly the same functions, you’ll find that every site has its own personality and quirks. But customers expect consistency. The key to successful management is to implement and maintain the same operating procedures across all locations. You need to be able to track and measure activities consistently across all sites, then apply what works well in one location to other place. This is where an enterprise-level management software system can be put to good use.

Organize well to manage well

Organize customers and employees by location so that your data is easier to manage. It can show you which location is serving which areas, in order to help identify places where customers may be more efficiently served from a different site. You can run reports that are specific to a location or companywide and can even assign each site its own accounting system if desired.

Use a staff scheduling and management system

When you’re dealing with several teams of people based at different locations, maintaining schedules can be difficult. This is where a staff scheduling and management system can be the ideal tool to keep everything organized. Make the system accessible to all employees to make scheduling easy, with the ability to make instant adjustments, sending notifications and reminders direct to individual staff members’ mobile devices.

Accounting ties things together

Keep separate accounting records for each location. This will help you monitor the activities and profitability of each site and can alert you to potential problems or issues. Depending how you structure your business you may need to keep separate accounting records for tax compliance purposes.

Run your business remotely

In terms of the logistics of managing multiple locations, running your business using software you can access from anywhere is invaluable. By setting up access to your management system on your server you can view real-time results and maintain control at all times. There is no longer a constraint that causes you to “go dark” on business data from each of your locations.

Get weekly progress reports

Weekly reports help with goal setting, show which locations are doing well and which may require more help, and identifies any needs that certain locations may have. Progress reports are objective and show, on paper, each location’s strengths and weaknesses.

Maintain channels of communication

Effective communication is essential to any long-distance relationship. An online staff management system provides the opportunity to keep everyone in the loop, at all times. Identify one main method of digital communication that allows you to share important information simultaneously, so everyone is on the same page. Plan for frequent and proactive communication using a variety of your company’s internal communications platforms. Organization is the basis for managing multiple locations effectively, allowing you to deliver a consistent brand experience and, ultimately, grow your business. Find out how Blue Cow Software’s Ignite® suite has all the tools you will need to manage your business locations.