Technology is Changing the Franchising Industry

Technology is becoming a competitive advantage for franchisors and a motivating factor for existing business owners to convert to a franchise model. And with the right platform in place, franchisees can finally take a holiday.

That’s the view of Poolwerx CEO and Founder John O’Brien, former chair of the World Franchise Council who recently spoke with Which-50 about how technology is changing the Franchising industry.

Founded in Brisbane in 1992, Poolwerx has recently embarked on a major global expansion program. The retail and services company has 160 specialty pool stores and almost 600 service trucks in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Franchising a Better Business Model

Speaking to media during NetSuite’s SuiteWorld event in Las Vegas recently, O’Brien outlined five reasons to buy a franchise versus going it alone: there’s better buying power, marketing support, training, human resources, and technology.

“A few years ago, technology was probably the 5th reason to join a franchise or convert to a franchise. Today it’s probably second behind marketing,” he said.

John O'Brien Founder and CEO of Poolwerx poolside

John O'Brien Headshot

Technology Gives a Competitive Advantage

Recognising that technology was quickly turning into a competitive advantage, Poolwerx made the decision to replace an industry solution it had been running on for 13 years with three NetSuite solutions: retail point of sale, back of house accounting solution and a service scheduling product.

“If technology is going to be our competitive advantage in the future then we need to have an ERP platform that’s cloud-based, visual and you can run your business from anywhere and we can plug everything into it,” O’Brien said.

The roll out began six months ago and will be scheduled to be in place across the whole business by November. So far it has already led to efficiencies in service scheduling and higher value retail transactions.

Future Proofing

Since entering the US in 2015, Poolwerx is looking to expand into new parts of the world to take advantage of a large, and growing, market.

After 12 months of research the company currently has 15 countries on its expansion hit list where it has registered its domain, trademark and IP.

“We realised if we were going to go into other countries with other tax and language and legal issues, we needed to have a platform that could handle all of that. Europe is next for us,” he said.

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