Equipment is a critical component of the member experience and an important investment for a health club. Aside from the fact that most fitness programs require equipment of some kind — weights, bikes, resistance bands or treadmills, for example — updated equipment can also be a selling point for new prospects and current members alike.
When you understand the role equipment plays in a health club’s success, protecting that investment becomes very important. This is where asset management technology comes into play.
“Asset management is key to maintaining our equipment to reduce downtime and keep our equipment in proper working order for our members,” said Julianne Dods, the vice president and COO of Tilton Fitness. “With our asset management system, we can track equipment warranties, routine maintenance and repairs in one place, with easy and thorough reporting.”
Conveniently keeping track of the condition of your equipment, how often it is used and when it last received maintenance are just a few of the features asset management technology can offer. And as the industry continues to evolve, the capabilities of this technology should only grow.
“I think as an industry, we are still scratching the surface in terms of what asset management technology can offer us,” said Shawn Mackinnon, the vice president of operations at GoodLife Fitness. “All the major brands in our industry have — and will have — a lot to offer.”
Instead of eyeballing the wear and tear on your equipment, or guessing when your machines last had maintenance, let asset management technology keep track of your biggest investment for you.
Asset management technology acts as an equipment information database and maintenance scheduler rolled into one. The greatest advantage of such a system is its immediacy.
“At any time, I have the ability to list the routine maintenance and repairs that have been done on a single piece of equipment,” said Dods. “This is important to identify a recurring problem and address it correctly. And if there is a failure of any kind, those records are valuable in troubleshooting.”
In an area of facility operations that could often equate to educated guesswork, asset management technology can deliver accurate, actionable insights on how equipment is being used and repaired.
“It offers improved visibility, allowing us the ability to see the real-time status of the equipment,” said Mackinnon. “This leads to reduced downtime and increased member satisfaction.”
In addition, properly staggering maintenance schedules also helps GoodLife Fitness get the most out of its equipment. Through the practice of preventative maintenance, rather than reactive maintenance, pieces of equipment last longer and suffer from fewer surprise malfunctions.
This carefully planned out schedule is the result of information Mackinnon gets from asset management technology. “Targeted servicing, based on data, extends the lifespan of equipment and allows us to customize our equipment rotation plans based on the number of hours equipment is being used in certain parts of the cardio layout,” he said. “We can also prioritize our preventative maintenance toward high-usage machines.”
Asset management technology is also useful in helping club staff do their part in maintenance, so ease of use is crucial. The quicker your staff members can access information about equipment status, the more efficient your club’s communication will be.
“With a good asset management system, maintenance and repair work is together and easily accessible by our frontline staff, club managers, equipment technicians and corporate staff,” said Dods. “I can easily tell if we are behind in routine service, or get the status of a repair. Our team can then give members accurate information regarding repairs.”
And in the case of Tilton, other areas of a facility can benefit from asset management technology as well. “In addition to fitness equipment, we track repairs and maintenance on many other facility items, including HVAC units, water fountains and pool equipment,” said Dods.
The data derived from asset management systems can help clubs improve their member experiences in other ways, such as maximizing the effectiveness of their layouts. By tracking the usage of specific equipment pieces, clubs can give the most popular machines more prominent positioning in the facility.
“We’ve optimized our floor space based on what the data is telling us,” said Mackinnon. “This allows us to adjust the number of pieces up or down in certain categories — like treadmills, bikes and ellipticals — accordingly. We can also better identify how much of each product is available during our peak periods.”
As is the case with any service you use, choosing the right partner is important. In asset management technology, you will want a system that is comprehensive — collecting all the information you’ll need about your equipment, including condition, usage and repair schedules.
“We use the FitnessEMS asset management system,” said Dods. “The system is so robust and customizable that we have been able to eliminate paper work-orders for most — if not all — of our facility needs.”
But for Dods, convenience is the most important feature of all, and FitnessEMS delivers on this aspect. “Maintenance and repair records are in one place and easily reported when necessary,” she said. “Plus, it’s easy to use.”
GoodLife Fitness has partnered with ECOFIT for its asset management needs, and has been extremely satisfied with the decision. In addition to having an accurate and simple-to-use management system, ECOFIT has proven to be a great partner for GoodLife Fitness with responsive customer support.
“Do your homework and make sure to partner with a company that’s in it for the long haul,” said Mackinnon. “Also, make sure they are committed to helping you meet the specific needs of your organization.”
Mackinnon also believes it’s beneficial to talk to other experts in the industry when trying to pick out an asset management system — a company that has worked for a club similar to your own is a good place to start.
Once you’ve chosen an asset management partner, you’ll need to closely monitor the integration of the new system into your club. And one of the most important steps is making sure your staff understands how the technology works.
“It is essential to get as many staff members using the technology as possible,” said Dods. “As problems are reported, the appropriate service provider is notified in real time.”
Throughout the integration of the system and afterward, communication is crucial to the effectiveness of asset management technology, according to Dods. “Management is notified so we can track the progress of the repair,” she said. “This allows much better communication among staff and vendors, and ultimately, faster service and repairs to ensure a great member experience in all of our facilities.”
Throughout the implementation process, remember that enhancing your member experience is the primary reason for properly maintaining your equipment. All the research you’ll do on which asset management technology is the most comprehensive, easiest to use and integrate, is another step toward that goal.
“Our member experience is our top priority,” said Dods. “Making sure we can deliver on the promise of exceptional member experience includes ensuring our equipment is functioning at its best at all times and, most importantly, is safe for our members.”