AmeriKing Inc., Burger King Corp.’s largest franchisee, says its web-enabled corporate portal will trim internal communication costs by more than $1 million over three years.
With 376 restaurants and more than 13,000 employees in 12 states, AmeriKing faces the same challenge of communicating with a large, constantly changing and widely distributed workforce that major retailers do. The company’s corporate portal, powered by Plumtree Software Inc., could trim as much as $1 million over three years, according to a study commissioned by Plumtree and just released from research firm Delphi Group.
The corporate portal, called AKinet, centralizes the collection and distribution of several reporting and information functions within the company, including inventory reports, sales and finance data, HR information and corporate e-mail. Access to the portal is available on managers’ desktops throughout the company; eventually, store workers will be able to access some functions through PCs with browsers in stores.
The Delphi study made three projections ranging from conservative to aggressive on cost savings to be realized through the use of the portal over three years. Under the moderate scenario, three-year savings were forecast at $1 million. The projected savings were in improved information access, forecast at savings of $786,750; decreased print and distribution costs, projected at a savings of $364,009; and savings from improved centralized purchasing, projected at $317,760. Additional benefits of the portal identified in the Delphi study, to which no dollar figures were attached, include an enhanced sense of community and corporate identity.
Total three-year costs for AmeriKing’s corporate portal, which went live in January 2001, were projected at just over $411,000 under the moderate scenario, with more than half of that investment in the first year of the project. The cost estimate includes everything from the cost of internal resources such as training, administration and maintenance, to outside professional services, to software licenses and equipment. All in all, factoring in projected benefits from both increased productivity and cost avoidance from the use of the portal, the study forecast the three-year return on that investment at 355%.
“The ROI from the portal is a result of day-to-day savings from reducing print, distribution and communication costs, as well as strategic benefits such as improving decisions, building greater awareness of best practices and condensing employee training cycles,” says Hernando Manrique, CIO of AmeriKing. “As the AmeriKing family of restaurants continues to grow, AKinet is a critical platform to help our employees share and obtain information, services, and support.”