Top Five Reasons Why Not to Use Excel Based Field Assessments

By MeazureUp June 8, 2017 Blog, Restaurant

Does your organization still rely on paper and excel for District Managers to conduct field assessments on your stores? Here we’ve looked at the top 5 reasons why excel based field assessments are hurting your business operations:

  1. Time Consuming Inspections
  2. Inability to Identify Core Issues
  3. Field Assessment Form Management
  4. Inability to Add Visual Documentation to an Assessment
  5. No Real-Time and Historical Data

Time Consuming Inspections

As the saying goes, Time is Money, and while true for any business, it is particularly relevant when it comes to field auditors in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Conducting field assessments is a time-consuming and lengthy process, especially when you are armed only with excel sheets. To adequately examine a location, finding the balance of how much time to spend on each location, is necessary for the District Managers (DM). Worrying about hand written paper forms does not help in increasing the amount of time available for actual coaching with in-store staff. 

What makes these assessments unreasonably longer is that once the assessment is complete, the DM must now sit and manually enter all of their data into an excel sheet to be sent out to their Director. Furthermore, the assigning of tasks and follow-ups requires reprinting excel sheet with many additional emails, lengthening the entire process of auditing. It could be several days before the assigned person responsible to complete an action plan gets told, let alone, reports back on the status of the task. 

Inability to Identify Core Issues 

Finding common operational problems can be difficult for any multi-unit organization. With paper and excel, management is limited in terms of the level of data trending that they can see. Leveraging data to identify operational issues is restrictive and unable to provide an accurate analysis. Having a DM make quick notes into a single excel file on an individual store by store basis, cannot create the detailed implications required to identify core issues quickly and efficiently. Training an entire organization to perform better is difficult without proper data reporting capabilities. 

Field Assessment Form Management

With District Managers out in the field constantly conducting assessments on different locations, any paper/excel based form can be almost impossible to update. Each member of the team must be emailed an entirely new list with each update regardless of the size or frequency of the changes. As a result of this, DM’s might be using outdated lists that do not reflect the business accurately.

With a digital solution, these forms are updated instantly, and made available on a unified platform for everyone.  This way a digital solution ensures accuracy, flexibility in updating forms, and availability of unified data in real time resulting in better management of the field assessment form. 

Inability to Add Visual Documentation to an Assessment

A picture can tell many of the details that would otherwise require a complex and descriptive story.  Adding pictures in your assessments can provide instant recognition and a clear view of the issue, making it easier to identify and take corrective measures. This results in improved restaurant operations with improved coaching opportunities, making very clear what’s been done correctly and incorrectly.

With an excel form, it’s difficult to properly match individual photos with the corresponding task. In addition, DM’s send the relevant pictures as attachments in emails making it a lengthy process that may also be confusing. A digital solution, on the other hand can automatically track, store and send photos with the exact area of the store that they relate to, all in real-time. This results in quick measures to address the issues and bring consistency in your daily restaurant operations

No Real-Time and Historical Data

When it comes to an Excel sheet, nothing comes quick. Each time an assessment is completed, it can take weeks before other team members like Store managers even begin to see information on their location. In some cases, the DM may send a scanned copy of their notes to an office administrator to interpret, delaying further the time that the data can be received in. There is no option for real time data to be distributed with an excel based inspection form. Now, this office administrator must also be responsible for tracking and storing historical assessment data; quite a large task with all the files and folders to search through to find the relevant assessments. If a health and safety audit occurs, this historical data can be hugely important and if not accessible, may prove detrimental to the brand. 

As we have seen in the points above, the real issue is time; how much time an assessment takes and the ability to update data and respond in real-time. The real question is whether your audits and field assessments are able to help you identify core issues in a timely manner, providing accurate and up-to-date data with flexibility in updating operational checklists in a cost-effective way. As we have seen, using excel sheets for your field assessments fails in all of these parameters, proving to be a legacy process lacking considerably.

These are just some of the reasons why using an excel based field assessment form can hurt your restaurant chain’s operations. With a digital solution, these problems can be solved in a simple, easy and cost-effective manner helping bring consistency in your restaurant operations

Select the link below, to schedule a time to learn more about how MeazureUp can support your operational assessment program.