How we helped a premier health and fitness club revitalize its back-office processes during the pandemic
Midtown Athletic Club is a premier health and fitness club providing offerings ranging from state-of-the-art tennis facilities to boutique fitness classes, all in a resort-like environment. The company specializes in creating personalized customer experiences by providing additional services such as complimentary childcare, on-site dining options and full-service spas.
Once the pandemic hit, however, the company had to wrestle with various rules and temporary regulations in multiple cities and countries while keeping its own associates safe. On top of that, they were at the beginning of a massive back-office technology transformation, which started in February 2020. Midtown faced an important decision: Put everything on hold, or continue transforming their technology starting with back-office operations?
Midtown’s leaders recognized the temporary pause on in-person club attendance — and later, scheduled attendance — as a chance to follow their shared goal: to strive for daily improvement. As a result, they decided to move forward with optimizing their systems and workflows so they would be ready the moment everyone could return to work and their clubs.
Enter Centric: Implementing Solutions Despite the Pandemic
Midtown partnered with Centric’s Chicago office in September of 2019 because of our experience in Enterprise Architecture. Midtown’s leaders wanted us to look at their current technology infrastructure and put together a roadmap for their future.
Its leaders knew that to scale their business and improve operational efficiency, they needed to consolidate their systems. At the start of our work together, Midtown used 30 different applications to manage its back-office.
Many of the company’s processes were manual, while others were simply cumbersome. Situations like paying part-time athletic trainers and single-class instructors along with their full-time team members made processes like payroll take several days to complete versus hours in an optimized platform. All of this slowed their teams down and took away from what mattered most — providing excellent service to their members.
With all of this in mind, we recommended Workday, the human capital management (HCM), payroll and financial systems platform, due to its integrated capabilities. However, a month into planning, COVID-19 reached North America. Our work was on an immediate pause as all of Midtown’s clubs were temporarily closed.
One month later, Midtown’s leaders brought us back in after agreeing with Workday on licensing and deciding to speed implementation during the shutdown. Due to the strong relationship we built over the assessment phase, Midtown realized we could help in whichever way they needed most. And with everything on pause and their clubs closed, they knew this was a chance to implement and integrate their systems much more quickly.
“Centric was sensitive to our needs with respect to controlling costs while we were shut down. Because they learned our business quickly, they were able to apply sound decision making related to our underlying architecture and use their strong project management discipline to assist us in implementing Workday with a small internal team in a very short time,” says Brett Fahrner, Chief Information Officer of Midtown Athletic Clubs. “We would not have completed this project on time without the help of Centric.”
Midtown partnered with TopBloc as their Workday systems integrator, while we managed overall application integrations and implementation as an extension of Midtown. That way, Midtown could focus on managing their clubs — each with different COVID-19 regulations to follow — across the United States and in Montréal.
The Results: Dramatic Improvement in the Back Office
Once the initial implementation of Workday was completed, Midtown’s results were dramatic.
For example, Midtown’s leaders now have access to automatic daily entries that include all financial transactions. Previously, the only “snapshot” of their financials was a monthly summarized journal entry.
Team members now have formal performance reviews based on their company’s core values and behaviors. They also have access to career development and training programs, monthly pulse surveys that leaders can respond to more frequently, weekly lunch and learns, job aids, training materials and office hours.
Our work isn’t stopping here. Coming up, Midtown is partnering with Club Automation to transform their overall member management — and we’re happy to continue working with them on this next phase. As Midtown focuses on building its foundations for growth, we’re excited to help guide them to what’s next.
By the Numbers
- Reduced operating expenses by $1.4M/year
- Consolidated 30 systems into one application (Workday)
- 33 percent improvement in time taken to complete payroll
- Implemented financials, payroll, HCM and learning in 8 months.
“Centric was sensitive to our needs with respect to controlling costs while we were shut down. Because they learned our business quickly, they were able to apply sound decision making related to our underlying architecture and use their strong project management discipline to assist us in implementing Workday with a small internal team in a very short time. We would not have completed this project on time without the help of Centric.”