Case Study

Lower Costs & Better Service

The YMCA Sport Center in Jerusalem looked for a way to reduce manual tasks, save on towel costs, and turn towels into a profit center. Polytex solution proves a winner for labor savings, generating new profits from towels distribution, happier customers and peace of mind.

Background

The YMCA Sport Center in Jerusalem is part of the landmark YMCA Three Arches Hotel built in the 1930s. In 2017, the company opened a new 10,000 sqm sports complex, with a half-Olympic indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi, fully equipped gym, exercise studio, and basketball court. In a typical year, more than 350,000 users check-in at the YMCA Sport Center. In addition to subscribers with an annual or monthly pass, the center hosts casual users and sports teams taking part in national and international competitions. With every visit, users need a towel, either brought from home or provided by the Sport Center.

Top Five Achievements

The Polytex automated towel dispenser system checks all the boxes for the YMCA Sport Center:

  1. Significant savings on labor and towel costs
  2. Full ROI and extra profits from new, subscription-based revenues
  3. Full visibility and control of towel inventory
  4. Improved service and experience to sports center users
  5. Peace of mind that clean towels are always available

Customer Testimonials

The Polytex solution has brought order to everything to do with towels. We no longer have to deal with towels manually. It’s cost-effective to implement, helping us save money and also provide better service to our clients.

Shaul Elkana


CEO, YMCA Sports Center

Customer Needs

The YMCA Sport Center works with an external towel laundry service on a once-per-week pickup and delivery schedule. For many years, two people were employed to hand out towels to users. There was no way to control how many towels each user took or to ensure that the towels were returned at the end of each workout session. The Sport Center management looked for a way to reduce manual tasks, save on towel costs, and turn towels into a profit center.

Requirements

YMCA Sport Center’s manager wanted to improve customer experience for visitors while reducing costs.

  • Reduce costs: YMCA aimed to save labor costs by eliminating manual towel distribution.
  • Increase revenues: YMCA hoped to be able to charge for towel usage.
  • Gain control over towels: Sport center users often took several towels at once and not all were returned.
  • Easy use by sports center visitors: The system needed to be as simple to operate as a vending machine.
  • Advanced towel management: YMCA wanted an advanced towel distribution system that matched its state-of-the-art facility.

The Solution

After seeing the Polytex solution in action at the Tel Aviv University sports center, YMCA Sport Center decided to install the Polytex automatic towel management solution, including a towel dispenser and return machine in the lobby of the YMCA Sport Center. The system became operational in mid-2019.
Watch the customer's story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-_m3nOR4NQ

  • New business model: The Sport Center added an optional upgrade on the membership subscription to cover one towel per day, as well as a per-day option for casual visitors.
  • Controlled towel distribution: Subscribers can take only one towel at a time and must return a towel before being able to take another one. Casual users paying the daily rate, must leave a deposit before the system will allow them to take a towel.
  • Management visibility: Reports available via Polytex’s web-based Total-Care Manager application enable managers to check inventory in real-time and to analyze usage over time.

Watch the customer’s testimonial

Results

The YMCA Sport Center is rebuilding its membership following the almost year-long COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Within weeks of fully reopening, and with only about 70% of its pre-pandemic subscriber base, the towel subscription program is already profitable many times over.

New profits from towel distribution
The optional towel subscriptions more than cover the costs of the Polytex solution, and the number continues to grow every month, providing a profitable revenue stream. At the same time, towels no longer disappear, reducing inventory costs.
Labor savings
YMCA Sport Center no longer needs two people dedicated to distributing towels. The Polytex systems are filled and emptied once a week by maintenance staff.
Happier customers
Towel service users are “super satisfied” as they know they will always have a clean and fresh towel, with no need to bring one from home and then carry around a wet towel for the rest of the day. Even veteran members see the optional additional subscription as good value.
Peace of mind
YMCA Sport Center managers have full peace of mind that clean, fresh-smelling, folded towels are always available to users. They can easily manage inventory, avoiding both shortages and overstocking, and eliminating towel losses.

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