The full story of how Fitness First implemented a CAFM in just 5 weeks to transform their maintenance management.

Fitness First are a major leisure brand operating 49 gym sites across the UK. Their outlets offer a range of facilities for members including cardio theatres, freestyle floors, free weights, refreshment bars, pools and saunas.  

In this competitive industry, the pressure is on for FM to deliver safe, clean and comfortable environments for members to relax and work out in every day.  To deliver on these expectations teams need to prioritise:

  • Minimising equipment downtime
  • Protecting H&S of staff and members
  • Ensuring compliance of high-risk facilities such as swimming pools and spas
  • Delivering exceptional customer experiences across long business hours

The digital challenge

Ensuring high quality facility management and seamless compliance requires the right digital tools to:

  • Keep multiple sites open and equipment operational
  • Manage a large team of in-house engineers and contractors across multiple sites
  • Monitor, measure and optimise engineer performance
  • Deliver on service KPIs while controlling costs
  • Minimise compliance risks

But when Expansive met Fitness First In 2019 the gyms were using legacy FM software that was causing more problems than it was solving.

Greg Plummer, Facilities Helpdesk Manager describes the situation:

Our legacy system was clunky. It was slow. It was a nightmare for contractors and sites. The system was going down, sometimes on a daily basis. 

Their story was typical of many FMs battling to contend with outdated technology and meet the high digital expectations of the rest of the business:

We’d log jobs and no one could see them - and alerts weren’t being sent. It was making us look bad as a department. My line manager was going to meetings on a weekly basis where he was finding out there were facilities down on sites that we weren’t even aware of. The tools were so unreliable, we had to manage our compliance documentation manually to ensure nothing was being missed. It was chaos.

Without a software system that could automate communications and give them real-time visibility of work orders - money was being wasted, compliance was a constant challenge and stress levels were high.

Why CAFM was the answer

Realising they desperately needed to change the way they worked Fitness First ran a tender for a new CAFM system and invited Expansive to participate. 

Expansive presented to the team and gave a demo of their platform.  The solution was a good fit for them, but it was clear they would need to meet an aggressive timeline to solve the mounting delivery problems created by their legacy software:

We needed a new solution and we needed one fast” says Greg, “Expansive proposed a phased introduction of functionality that started with work order management. This suited us as it meant we could meet our most urgent priorities more quickly - and gradually implement more functionality over time."

Initial implementation was quick - taking just 5 weeks in total. Data had to be extracted from the existing software, prepped and uploaded to the new system. Expansive were on hand to support this and help set up the workflows for end to end management of work order requests.  They created different streams for internal teams and contractors so that work could be tracked and monitored separately. There was integration with the finance software to ensure that the team could rapidly approve contractor payment when work was completed.

Before, when it came to data porting we were pulling our hair out. Now, all it needed was a simple spreadsheet with some simple columns

Fitness First felt the benefits of the new system almost immediately through:

  • Automated and seamless work order management
  • Improved communication across teams
  • Comprehensive reporting & KPI performance tracking
  • A responsive, ‘mobile-first’ FM culture
  • High levels of engineer and contractor usage

Whereas once jobs were logged and lost, maintenance went undone and money was wasted - now Fitness First are confident they are capturing and dealing with all their issues:

With our new CAFM we log it, we can see. We get an email alert to say the engineer has accepted it and when they're going to site. Then, we’re told when the job’s been done.

Usability is key

And its the usability of the system has played a huge part in all this. As Greg explains: 

When you look at Expansive FM on your phone or on your laptop or on your desktop, it looks like something you've used before. Like when you've booked a holiday or bought something online. It's simple steps. Expansive FM’s interface is intuitive and fast. Most importantly, our people want to use it.

The mobile-first interface means maintenance issues are being logged with ease:

Staff have the CAFM on their personal phones. If there’s a maintenance problem they take a picture, load the issue there and then, and it's logged.

Greater visibility and accessibility of data, has changed the way relationships with engineers and contractors are managed - and how they are optimised:

Now we can do real appraisals with our engineers and contractors, We know how many jobs they’ve been given and how many they’ve completed. We didn’t have that data before. We couldn't challenge or reward them on the basis of their performance.

Since implementing the solution the team have saved money by reducing equipment and facility downtime. The big reward of CAFM has been better communication, leading to more efficient engineers and more effective contractor relationships. Teams are wasting less time fire fighting and correcting mistakes. They know where they need to be and can account properly for their time. 

Now management can step back from the day to day detail, knowing the platform will give them the oversight they need to make the right decisions.  They've freed themselves to work on other projects and plan the next stages of their digital transformation with their new FM software.

Case Study 'Fit For Purpose'


Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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