Most major fitness equipment manufacturers now offer their own version of an integrated asset management program. From Precor’s Preva, Matrix’s Asset Manager and now Cybex’s CARE, each manufacturer offers their own unique system for managing high-end cardio equipment. The question is: Why would a manufacturer spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a software program?
The answer isn’t what you think. Yes, they all tout these benefits: improved patron experience, reduced downtime, optimized performance, lowered cost of ownership, improved maintenance and service, as well as improved ROI. While those benefits might be true, why would a manufacturer do this? To lock in a customer for life by tying the facility’s entire asset management program to just one manufacturer’s equipment.
By offering a “unique” solution, the manufacturer is betting that if you already have their “networked asset management solution,” why would you migrate your business to someone else? They are betting that you don’t want to operate several different software platforms or don’t want to incur the cost of separate servers, routers and increased cost of bandwidth. Then they are betting that you don’t have the time or energy to train your staff on each unique system.
They are right on all counts. The benefits of asset management are great. “Locking in” a fitness center to a manufacturer-specific software program greatly reduces the cost of customer acquisition, thereby increasing profit. Congruently, by enticing patrons into a manufacturer specific interactive program and offering a “unique” user interface app, the manufacturers are soft selling their product to the end customer, who will in turn request that you continue to purchase their equipment.
However, most fitness center operators don’t buy an entire line of cardio equipment from one manufacturer and a minority of facilities — approximately 20 percent — end up buying the high-end cardio that supports an on-board asset management program. By “locking” you into their brand, the chances of you migrating to a different manufacturer lessen. You may not buy all high-end cardio, but the bet is you will buy all cardio from them due to brand loyalty.
For all of the limitations of a manufacturer-provided asset management program, there are options to help facility operators make informed decisions. You can manage assets from any manufacturer instead of being limited to just one manufacturer or a variety of asset management programs. You are able to compare results within one single system to make informed purchase decisions for future products and informed service decisions to maintain existing inventory.
Bruce Gehrig is the founder and president of Fitness Asset Manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.