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Guest Column - July 2007

Primed for Growth

Utilizing Web-based scheduling tools

By Adam Zeitsiff


S
cheduling and management software is gaining attention as a critical component for improving the operational processes that impact your facility's growth on a daily basis. How well your facility streamlines its operations, improves employee productivity, reduces costs and increases profits will be a determining factor in your overall future success.


If you have not yet implemented a scheduling and management system at your facility, there are a variety of key items to consider as you begin the selection process:

  • Can it be accessed from any Web-connected computer—both inside your facility and out?
  • Is it user-friendly—i.e., can it be used by staff with just novice-level computer experience?
  • Does it offer detailed management of program registrations, leagues, fields, courts, pros, trainers, lessons, parties, referees, multipurpose rooms, equipment and more?
  • Does it allow you to create reservations, schedule leagues, display stats and standings on your Web site, generate invoices, track payment status and organize customers and members into groups for e-mail campaigns, mailing labels, league updates and other marketing purposes?
  • Does it provide detailed management reports for facility performance and financial analysis?

A good facility management software system focuses on these sets of issues with an eye on executing and managing them more efficiently on a daily basis. This attention to detail can result in improved operational control, better visibility into your facility, improved customer service and more consistent employee performance.

Here are five key considerations for implementing a new facility scheduling and management solution for your sports, recreation or fitness facility:

Go with Web-based

Web-based software is delivered over the Internet to any computer with a Web browser. This type of software "service" avoids the installation of a dedicated server at your location, which significantly reduces the cost of implementing and supporting a new system. It also allows you to access your schedules and client information from inside your facility, while you are traveling on business or from the comfort of your own home.

Improve operational control

The software system selected should provide you with an instantaneous view into daily processes to make sure operations are proceeding smoothly. Is a certain field available at a specific time today? Does your next appointment have any pre-existing medical conditions or owe a balance for a prior reservation? These are questions that the new system should be able to answer through a quick glance at the screen or with one click of your mouse. By spotting trouble early each day, small problems can be dealt with or eliminated completely before they have a chance to accumulate and become large ones.

Consistent performance reports & financial analysis

A good scheduling and management system enables a real-time view of how your facility is performing, which yields reports that are more consistent and accurate in nature. Traditional reports are often outdated by the time they arrive on your desk- usually after unexpected problems have already cropped up. A good system should provide customizable reports covering a variety of critical areas, such as daily schedules and rosters, invoices, payments and customer statements, payroll reports for export to third-party payroll providers and management reports for facility performance and financial analysis.

Enhanced visibility into your facility

A good system will provide the ability to view departmental performance in real-time, yet the power lies in its ability to uncover inefficiencies and provide insight. Creative managers of sports and recreation centers who are armed with this information can see how to better monetize facility resources and staff, and can improve the overall profitability of their facility.

Improved customer service

Real-time visibility into your facility's daily processes also translates into improved customer service. For example, when clients or members call in to check on court availability, payments owed or to change a reservation, a good scheduling and management system will provide these answers right at your fingertips—giving your clients the answers they need, when they need them. A growing number of facility owners are realizing that a powerful scheduling and management system is an ongoing way to deliver enhanced business performance and, in turn, significantly improve customer service.

Researching and implementing a powerful Web-based facility scheduling and management system is an important process for your facility. Getting it right can help prime your facility for long-term growth and success.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Zeitsiff is the president of EZFacility.com. For a free evaluation of your existing facility-wide scheduling and management process, contact him at 866-498-EASY (3279), ext. 16. For more information, visit www.ezfacility.com.