Aquatics reporting tool a winner

Thursday, 05 July, 2018

Aquatics reporting tool a winner

The Aquatic & Recreation Institute (ARI) Mentor Program launched last year with the aim of providing tangible benefits to the aquatic sector through retention of talent, improved knowledge transfer and greater industry collaboration.

The mentor program set a challenge for seven teams: to develop and present a data-driven solution that would provide benefit to the aquatics industry. They were given six months to bring their ideas to fruition. 

At the recent ARI conference and trade show, a four-person team from facility management company BlueFit was announced the winner.

BlueFit developed a dashboard that records aquatic centre attendance, incident, water quality and maintenance data and stores it in a central location. The team christened the product SALT (short for sales, analytics and lead tracking) and developed it surveying 27 aquatic centre managers to discover nearly all of them captured data using paper forms. 

The survey found that manual recording and reporting took an average of 156 hours per year (equal to about $20,000 in wages). Team member Otua McHardy said she knew improvements could be made.

“We wanted to create something better. We surveyed them again after they had used the new dashboard and they were down to about 96 hours for planning and reporting data,” she said.

McHardy said she and teammates Roland Karoliny, Chris McAdam and Jemma Malik were pleased with the results and thrilled their project had been announced as the winner.

Mike Henton, Chief Executive of Jonas Leisure, presented the award to the BlueFit team as principal sponsor of the program. Henton said the team’s project was an elegant solution to aquatics reporting.

“Collating operations and incident data has been a pain point for aquatics managers for years and the fact the BlueFit team researched and executed a solution so well, in such a short time, shows an extremely high degree of talent,” he said. 

Henton said it was a pleasure to support the ARI Mentor Program as it aligned well with Jonas Leisure’s commitment to growing the leisure industry and nurturing its next generation of leaders.

Other finalists included Sydney Gymnastics and Aquatic Centre, and Belgravia Leisure.

The Sydney Gymnastics and Aquatics Centre project involved using the findings of a survey to develop tailored programs and staff training to increase aquatic program participation among people with disabilities. The survey explored the reasons why some school students with disabilities did not attend aquatics programs and identified ways the barriers that were identified could be overcome.

Belgravia Leisure’s project, dubbed ‘The Great Escape’, involved researching the reasons behind the increase in cancelled bookings at aquatic centres and gyms during winter, and identifying steps that could keep members engaged and reduce cancellation numbers.

Program project manager Matt Griffiths, from Royal Life Saving New South Wales, said he was delighted with the success of the program’s first intake.

“The program provides a valuable opportunity for mentees to develop technical, project and leadership skills while working on a project that provides a positive outcome for the industry.

“Each team was matched with an experienced mentor from within the industry, and we are thankful for the vital role mentors had in making the program a success.”

Image caption: BlueFit team Roland Karoliny, Jemma Malik, Chris McAdam and Otua McHardy with mentor Nichole Edsall and Jonas Leisure Sales Manager Bryn Whales.

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