Late summer 2020 to Spring of 2022—almost two years—that’s how long we’ve been experiencing the effects of the pandemic and a strained supply chain, and it’s not over yet.
As you are undoubtedly aware, the gym and exercise equipment manufacturing market has been one of the hardest-hit industries with drastic shortages of supplies. From the increase in equipment demand for home gyms to the loss of manufacturing facilities and the labor shortage, fitness equipment has become the latest sought-after commodity.
But the news isn’t all bad. After a slowdown in growth for Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs over the past two years, the projection for 2022 is for 2.4% growth.1 That means clubs need to be hyper-focused on delivering the best experience for its members to stay competitive in a growth market.
How can you avoid the pitfalls of a disrupted supply chain? Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to not only perform spring cleaning and maintenance, but to take stock of equipment needs. Here are a few preparedness tips to keep your fitness facility well-stocked and running smoothly:
1. Adjust your budget for inflation and increased shipping costs
Post-pandemic inflation should be taken into consideration when budgeting for shipping costs; to be safe, double your estimated shipping costs to 15-20% of the overall equipment budget. Also, watch out for surcharges. The price of shipping a container of goods overseas has skyrocketed nearly 300% and many companies are implementing surcharges to offset the massive increase.
2. Buy more time
Shipping lead times, product availability and the labor shortage. Need I say more? Build in more time to every project to stay a step ahead. Bringing in an outside crew for equipment maintenance, hardscape repair, new landscaping or deep cleaning? Schedule outsourced jobs with more advance notice and project future staffing needs as soon as possible.
3. Order early
Don’t wait to order equipment when you need it, or you’ll be left waiting. Place an order early and have the supplier hold it for a future delivery date so it will be “on-time”.
Fitness accessories such as resistance bands, kettlebells, mats and medicine balls used to be on a one-week delivery timeline. Not any longer. You’ll want to order accessories at the same time you order larger cardio and strength equipment.
4. Don’t be choosy
Product lines have been streamlined to speed up production time, leaving you with fewer choices for specialized equipment or training accessories. Double-check with suppliers to make sure the products you have come to expect are still available.
With a flexible and proactive approach, you will be better prepared to navigate the ongoing supply chain difficulties to ensure your fitness operation continues to offer your members the finest customer experience with adequate inventory of the most up-to-date equipment.
Brian Rawlings is Vice President for FITLIFE, administered by Venture Insurance Programs. Reach him at brawlings@ventureprograms.