IFA Benchmarking tool garners praise from members on its benefits: more than 140 IFA members are using "OnTrack" to measure performance against their peers.

Author:McNeely, Bue C.
Position:IFA PROGRAMS - International Fiscal Association
 
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Since the launch of the IFA's newest member benefit, OnTrack: Performance Benchmarking for Franchisors, more than 140 IFA-members are using the Web-based benchmarking tool to measure performance against their peers. Some member companies have as many as nine users collaborating to get the most they can out of the analysis of key franchising performance indicators or KPIs.

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At the sixth-month mark, the question raised was, "What have we learned?" The answer is a two-fold one. The benchmarking tool has great potential, and with a small investment of time in answering a few key data points, IFA members are seeing significant returns.

Participation in OnTrack is free and new users are joining weekly. IFA Benchmarking Task Force Chairman Brian Spindel, CFE, president/COO of PostNet International Franchise Corp., says IFA members are seeing great potential in OnTrack and the tool's potential and adds:

There are a wide range of franchisors that have found the power of benchmarking against their peers useful, and are using OnTrack to get analysis on unit metrics, lead costs, expenses and employee allocations. The business leaders using the free member service come from diverse franchises in all 10 business categories. OnTrack users vary from franchisors with less than five units to those with more than 10,000 units and from those who have less than one year of experience franchising to those with more than 50 years' experience. The total sales of franchise brands using the tool range from less than $400,000 to more than $1 billion. The variety of businesses using this IFA service has created a strong foundation of data.

As more companies begin using OnTrack, the data becomes even more valuable, enabling users to filter who they are being compared to by system size, business category, total revenue and years in franchising. The result is that the most valuable data is not found by looking at the averages of all franchise businesses, but drilling down to comparisons that are most relevant to your individual franchise.

The table below is an example of how filtering can help a new franchisor get more detailed information by changing the characteristics of the franchisors they are benchmarking against. For example, the data in the first column is from every user who has completed the 2010 survey. The second column filters the pool down to eight emerging companies who have less than 10 years in franchising and less than $10 million...

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