Keeping Equipment Up and Running

It's important for club operators to realize that preventive maintenance and equipment repair is not solely about having equipment in good working condition. Yes, preventive maintenance does keep your equipment in great shape, but in the long run, it is about providing good customer service.

The relationship between maintenance and customer service starts with developing an environment where member comments and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged. This will aid you in finding out exactly when the equipment goes down and what the problem is. Rather than assume that the staff will find out the equipment is broken and fix it, members will alert your staff to problems.

Another way to avoid down equipment is to have your staff - during off hours - test heavily used pieces of equipment for wear and tear. Each piece of equipment should have a sheet in an equipment logbook indicating any problems the staff thinks may be surfacing. The sheet should also list the weekly/monthly preventive maintenance tasks that were completed.

In addition, repairs should be documented in the logbook. This allows you to check for trends in breakdowns so you have replacement parts on hand, which lessens the time the equipment is down.

The responsibility of maintenance and repair does not rest in the hands of one person. It is the responsibility of every employee in the organization. Encourage your employees to dust or fix something - if they have the capability - when they have a free moment.

Equipment repair is one of the most important responsibilities every club operator needs to address to ensure quality customer service. The easiest way to stay on top of equipment repair is to develop and follow through on an action plan.

A plan of action needs to be established to determine the course of events that will happen when equipment goes down. Here's an example of an action plan.

- Determine who is responsible for equipment repair.

- Determine what repairs club staff can handle.

- Find a qualified equipment service for repairs beyond the capabilities of the club staff. Make sure this person has the flexibility to repair the various brands of equipment that you carry and that he can make the repairs in a timely manner.

- When equipment goes down, place a professional, dated "out of service" sign on it.

- Follow through with the repairs in a timely manner.

- If repairs will take more than 48 hours, remove the equipment from the fitness floor (if possible). If it is not practical, be sure to keep your members updated on the status of the repair, such as if parts were ordered, when parts will be in, if the date of the repair changes, etc.

- Keep a logbook for equipment repair.

Developing a preventive maintenance program is one of the most important tasks that every club operator can do to enhance its level of customer service. Therefore:

- Determine who is responsible for preventive maintenance/cleaning. This task could save you a lot of money in the long run.

- Develop a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly preventive maintenance plan for each piece of equipment. The manufacturer should provide this type of schedule.

- Track the usage of the machine to help predict when certain repairs or adjustments will need to be done.

- And finally, keep an equipment logbook for preventive maintenance.

Ensuring that the equipment and the area around the equipment gets cleaned daily will help lessen the occurences of breakdowns and keep your members happy.


Industry Update

- ActFit.com Inc. of Los Angeles and Toronto, operator of www.ActFit.com, a Web site for the Active Lifestyle market, announced that it has acquired all the outstanding shares of ClubSite Internet Network Inc. (CIN), a supplier of e-business solutions for fitness clubs in the United States.

- Magnum Fitness Systems has expanded its facility at 2201 12th Ave. by 35,000 square feet, enlarging manufacturing space to 175,000 square feet.

- TeleCheck Services Inc. of Houston, a check acceptance company and a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp., announced that Aphelion Inc. has signed a sales agent agreement with TeleCheck. The agreement will enable Aphelion to offer the TeleCheck Recurring Payment SM (TRPSM) service as an integral part of Aphelion's turnkey club management software.

- In a pioneering move, the Texas Department of Parks and Recreation announced the installation of FitLinxx, which will be available to all facility members free of charge at its Coppell Aquatics and Recreation Center.