Getting your fitness center built, upgraded, renovated and customized to your community is a complex undertaking, and the vendor partners you need to rely on to get it done can make or break the project. Property and facility managers often have vast networks of vendors vying for their business, and when specific expertise is needed (in fitness and technology areas specifically) there are three vendor partner relationships that can heavily influence your project’s success.
Vendor Partner Referral Relationships
Reputation matters significantly when you’re in the service business. When you’re in the position of selecting service providers, knowing ahead of time that they do good work, and that they work well together, is immensely helpful. “In many situations we have architectural firms or contractors who recommend working with Advanced Exercise consultants when it comes to creating fitness spaces,” said Tim McCarthy, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Advanced Exercise. “Knowledge of the products, expertise in fitness space planning and technologies are what we’re called upon to bring to the table, and both clients and other vendor experts prefer working with fitness consultants who are proven to help complete projects successfully.”
“I’ve been a repeat team member for several architects and general contractors in my local market,” comments Mike Keller, one of Advanced Exercise’s fitness consultants. “Complex construction projects include balancing thousands of details, and the reliability and capability of each vendor matters to bringing the project in on time and on budget. Relationships with other high quality vendors, who know you and the work that you do, are important, as it takes the full team working together to create consistently successful outcomes.”
Vertical Internal Relationships
The first step in vendor selection is often about goals, and seeing whether the sets of objectives match across the team. Matching expectations and deciding on the criteria for success usually gets everyone on the same page. Once that compatibility is established and communication starts flowing, the project at hand is less likely to have errors or problems pop up, which means a more efficient completion.
In the case of facility and property management, industry pundits agree that: “A vendor relationship that consists of trust and approachability is critical in industries that rely on repeat business. If a vendor proves to be reliable and performs satisfactory work the first time, a client finds it easier to keep using that vendor’s services. A commercial property manager often needs to call on vendors for immediate repairs as well as major improvement projects. Having an established relationship with a dependable vendor that meets quality standards, saves a property manager time. The manager can respond to tenants’ needs and expectations with efficiency.” To put it simply, property managers who can rely on trusted vendor teams, so much so that they consider them partners in the project, can focus on their priorities and not worry about the project getting done right. For fitness center projects, that can be tricky, as many steps are involved beyond building the layout and selecting the equipment.
The process you have to undertake can often be cumbersome for vendors, including understanding how bids and projects move through internal decision-making procedures. Knowing how internal departments and processes are related, and how to work within those relationships, can help projects move faster and more efficiently.
“Mike was a huge help with understanding and executing a piggy back bid with our district purchasing department,” said Coach Patrick Thiss about working with Advanced Exercise’s Mike Keller. “It was a complex challenge to work through, and having a vendor that could help with layout, color scheme, budget and the piggy back process was and is invaluable.”
“Between the school teams and the other contractors, I helped straighten out and educate around the process to get the project approved and done,” said Keller. “I have worked with Coach Thiss for years and if I can add value to the team to get things done, and done right, that’s what I’m there to do. It was a very straight forward project and we delivered what we said we would do, working together to make it happen.”
“With excellent people and processes involved, the project has been extremely well received,” added Thiss. “The campus community, including the upper administration, has begun using the facility for the first time in 15 years. It’s not luck that made that happen.”
“All types of businesses use vendors for their expertise. A solid relationship could be the difference between a project that becomes actualized and one that remains in the conceptual stage. If your business doesn’t specialize in a product or service that is necessary to reach your clientele, you need a vendor that does.”
The realities of the global economy and the limitations of in-house resources mean that companies use expert vendors for a wider variety of ad hoc needs.
Vendor partners with industry relationships can advise clients on products that are the best fit (and advise against those that aren’t), and point out insider cost-saving options like manufacturer warranties that can add long term value to a project. Because of specific expertise and competency in the fitness industry, for example, hours spent on research, design and layout discussions, and product attributes can be avoided and greater cost-efficiencies enjoyed by including a trusted vendor like Advanced Exercise on the team when new build or renovation fitness projects are being considered.
At the end of the day, working with external vendors is a must for property managers in every sector. Having trusted relationships with a wide variety of those vendors, who are also connected to each other, helps projects succeed to a much greater degree than starting from scratch with each new opportunity.
About Advanced Exercise
Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment and facility design resource, representing more than 30 equipment brands to bring clients the best new or used equipment solutions to maximize the use of available space and meet the needs of a diverse community of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment and facility design services, visit www.advancedexercise.com or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.