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The Anatomy of Cutting Gym Equipment Downtime from 18 days to 1 day

Posted by Dave Johnson on Apr 27, 2017 1:30:20 PM

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‘OUT OF ORDER.’ The dreaded sign that decreases customer satisfaction and eats into your profits. For a paying customer, there’s really nothing worse than jumping on a piece of equipment only to realize that it can’t be used. When the equipment is out of order it can disrupt a member’s entire workout, which can be incredibly frustrating. And the longer the downtime, the more it starts to affect the success of your gym or health club.

When a machine is down for longer than a couple days, it can have a significant impact on your business. Believe it or not, equipment downtime has a direct correlation to a decrease in customer retention, member satisfaction and member recruitment. If a current member isn't happy with the working condition of the equipment, they're certainly not going to recommend the club to their friends. So aside from having to deal with unsatisfied customers, equipment downtimes actually start to eat away at your profit. A machine that is out of order is just bad for business. Luckily, there’s a few ways to reduce the number of equipment outages and prevent this from ever happening. We’ll explain in this article how to cut equipment downtime from 18 days to 1 day.

The current flawed process

As a gym owner or operator, I’m sure you’re all too familiar with “preventative maintenance” for equipment. This is the standard practice at most gyms and health clubs today that are trying to combat equipment outages. While preventative maintenance can sometimes be helpful, it can also be incredibly costly - and let’s face it, it’s often less than effective.

Quarterly preventative maintenance programs unfortunately do not always prevent machine outages. Basically, it’s difficult for a maintenance tech to service a machine and locate a potential issue.  Plus, some machines get used less than others and probably don’t need a maintenance check. So, with preventative maintenance programs you are potentially losing money towards maintenancing machines that don’t need it. But the real issue is that even with preventative maintenance programs, it doesn’t reduce the equipment downtime. So how can you reduce equipment downtime?

The solution

A two-pronged approach that utilizes data and rotation planning. The biggest tool that you can have in your arsenal as a club owner or operator is equipment usage data. If you can identify which machines are being used most often, then you can quickly asses which will need the most maintenance.

For a multitude of reasons, some machines get used twice as much as others. There’s a lot of factors that can affect specific equipment usage patterns. It could be because of the location of the T.V.s in your club or because some machines are in front of windows, which is often preferred. Either way, while a few machines are getting continued wear and tear, others are basically sitting idle. If you don’t recognize this as a club owner, it’s an equipment outage just waiting to happen. By analyzing usage data and key trends with the equipment in your club, you’ll be able to identify which machines are receiving high usage, in comparison to other equipment. Once you’ve done that, you are able to take action.

Here’s where the rotation plan comes in. A rotation plan determines the frequency at which you rotate your equipment. By implementing a rotation plan, you guarantee that all of your equipment is getting used evenly, which will prevent machine outages and improve the lifetime value of each of your machines.

Here’s how it works:

After reviewing usage data, you can identify which machines are favored over others. For instance, treadmill A that is in front of the window gets more use than treadmill B, that is closest to the bathroom. When implementing the rotation plan, you’d want to take the highest-used pieces of equipment and swap them out with the lowest used equipment. So in this example, we’d swap out treadmill A that gets high-usage, with treadmill B that gets low usage.

Rotation planning not only reduces the chance of machine outages, it also reduces the type of machine outages which ultimately affect equipment downtime. The bigger the issue, the harder it is to solve. If a treadmill for instance, is getting constant use and continued wear and tear, then when it does break, it will probably be because the drive motor or motor controller has been fried. And replacing a motor takes significantly longer than replacing a bolt or worn running belt. Not to mention, it can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of repair.

While rotation planning is useful, it doesn’t help to pinpoint exactly when equipment is at risk of failure. But there are multiple reports that do. By monitoring equipment status reports, you can minimize equipment downtime by identifying problems before they occur. Equipment status reports help you understand the health of each individual piece of equipment on your floor.

An equipment status report can tell you whether a machine is in good working condition or if it is nearing critical failure. This is an incredibly powerful tool for club operators because it allows you to notify your service tech when there is a potential problem, cutting weeks off of the repair process, ultimately reducing equipment downtime.

With rotation planning and equipment status reports you can cut equipment downtime from 18 days to only one day. With implementation taking less than an hour, it's the least you can do to ensure a happy membership base is maintained. 


Topics: commercial gym equipment, equipment downtime

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