Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Location, location - an idea from Australia

The Australian newspaper The Age published a a report under its Tech section with the headline Fit for business. The headline interested me enough to read the article - which was mostly about a local gym franchise and how it used mapping software to divide its territory.

Mr Swain says the chain has not had any failures in the 72 openings, something he puts down to the Pitney Bowes MapInfo reports the company has relied on for the six years since arriving in Australia. Now he has taken the technology in-house with the release of MapInfo's AnySite, which allows faster real-estate decisions because reports and data can be seen internally.

"We use it to work out where we need to be without cannibalising existing clubs. It's an important part of our feasibility study."

The software uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a major source of data and is popular among shopping centre developers and franchise chains. It has been used by the company to provide consultancy reports for clients, but is now available as a CD-ROM package to allow technology-savvy customers to extract their own analysis.

I am not aware of a similar program in the United States but I will assume that the Pitney-Bowes program is a proprietary program. I can see something similar for the United States as being useful for both franchisors and franchisees - as well as other business dependent upon demographics.