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Health Club Management

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Health Club Management

Health Club Management


Buyer Insight: David Lloyd Clubs’ head of procurement explains how he makes purchasing decisions

What factors influence decisions made by the industry’s top buyers? Tom Walker speaks to the head of procurement at David Lloyd Leisure about how the company keeps its offer fresh

By Tom Walker, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 1
The brand has recently redesigned its gyms to have 'best in class' kit
The brand has recently redesigned its gyms to have 'best in class' kit
The true test of a partnership is when suppliers' first consideration and focus is what's right for our members. This falls down when a supplier is simply interested in hitting a sales target - Paul Batty

Tell us about your job
My role has evolved over the years. When I started at David Lloyd Leisure 15 years ago, the business was part of Whitbread, so I was a link between their procurement team and the clubs. Once the business was sold, I took on sole responsibility for procurement.

My role now covers all areas of the business, from F&B to services, consumables and fitness.

There's no typical day, which is what makes the job so enjoyable. I believe the key to success in my role is ensuring clubs are well supported in delivering the most appropriate products and services for members. This translates to ensuring we're innovative and deliver consistency and quality at all times.

What’s hot at the moment?
We’ve transformed our gyms in the past few years with investment in 'best in class' products, the look and feel of the space and ensuring we buy the right equipment to fit members’ needs and significantly improve their experience.

How do you innovate?
I work very closely with our product team, headed up by Michelle Dand. We both regularly liaise with suppliers, and visit industry shows and other clubs to understand what's working and what we believe members want. As a business, we also seek a lot of direct member feedback.

Michelle and the product team have been trialling a number of exciting new concepts – such as PRAMA, an interactive fitness platform for both group exercise and family sessions.

How does the buying process work?
We have a detailed process in place for investment in equipment in each of our clubs. This is a constant cycle, which normally begins at least six months prior to the start of the financial year.

Our suppliers are crucial. If any fail, we fail in delivering the member experience. This can vary from a broken treadmill to a member's favourite drink being unavailable in the café.

Do you have “trusted suppliers” and partnership deals?
Our suppliers will jokingly tell you I only call them partners when I want something. I do, however, strongly believe that developing very effective supplier partnerships is crucial.

The true test of a partnership, is when suppliers' first consideration and focus is what's right for our members. This falls down when a supplier is simply interested in hitting a sales target.

How involved is the wider team?
We always work closely with our suppliers, as (in the case of fitness equipment) this allows us to fully understand the age and condition of the equipment at each of our clubs.

After this, we work closely with our product team to research new and interesting types of equipment innovation. Our suppliers can help influence this by putting forward suggestions they feel will have a positive impact on our members.

Our operations teams also ensure investment meets the needs of members.

Ultimately, suppliers who deliver stand out to us, and that’s important. We're more likely to invest money with those who achieve this level of service.

Paul Batty My three tips to suppliers

Focus on the customer
Don't sell me things members don't want or need.

Innovate constantly
Many suppliers don’t see the need to change or evolve, however, continuing to innovate is vital to the health of the buyer/supplier relationship.

Find the right fit
Make sure the products you sell us are a good fit for the environment –this is vital: if members don’t like or use the products, we'll remove them Some of our most successful suppliers are those who constantly invest time and effort in our clubs. This can vary from doing club visits and supporting our marketing, to providing training or detailed reporting to ensure equipment is working and problems are fixed quickly.

David Lloyd Clubs is focused on maximising the member experience
David Lloyd Clubs is focused on maximising the member experience
Member feedback is vital – only products that are used and liked by members will be kept in the club
Member feedback is vital – only products that are used and liked by members will be kept in the club
Curious about how buyers for major operators select the suppliers they work with? Head of procurement for David Lloyd Clubs, Paul Batty, reveals all... #fitness #business #innovation
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