When driving C-Store performance it is important to hit financial goals to maintain short term needs but looking at a balanced view helps to view both long and short term as well as the internal and external perspectives. Improving revenue in a c-store used to work well with the basic sales measurement reports. Managers would follow sales and adjust their offerings accordingly. They would look for what was selling well, buy more of it at a lesser cost and stop selling what was not doing well to use the real estate for other better selling products and categories. In today’s times, that may not be enough. There are a lot more other things than availability and price driving the market and C-Store performance than ever before. As competition heightens, regulations increase, and more categories come into play, a balanced view of all that could impact revenue becomes a lot more important. The scorecard needs to measure more and it needs to be done more frequently.
According to Robert S. Kaplan of Harvard Business Review ‘Conceptual Foundations of a Balanced Scorecard’, it is important to consider
1. Financial results
2. Operational results
3. Customer feedback
The financial results should be timely, accurate and have meaningful comparisons such as comparison to similar periods (e.g., last week, last month or last year) or targets/ budgets. Have a short but complete picture of financial results typically includes inside sales, fuel, customers, loss items (voids, refunds, over/short) and margins.
Operations covers daily tasks at the store (shift duties), stocking and inventory, periodic work, maintenance, inspections and cash audits. This ensures the staff is taking care of the work to keep the store maintained and building long term relationships with clients.
Customer feedback is different perspective that ensures your customers have a chance to tell you how they think you are doing. Short simple questions with the option to leave notes is recommended. This ensures you get feedback if something is going wrong. It can be scary to get the news and some worry it is open for asking for free stuff, but getting the feedback helps to keep everyone accountable.
LEARNING AND GROWTH
Finally, the capacity scores help to ensure there is an emphasis on training and staff building to keep the company strong. Many measure staff turnover, training scores and labor to sales.
Having a balanced measurement that provides frequent objective feedback helps staff to know what is important and ensures they look at both todays results while never forgetting the future. The outside view helps to keep us honest and ensure we are not missing opportunities to improve.