The traditional logistics and inventory model behind the exercise equipment supply chain is now doing somersaults in the U.S., a country beset by the coronavirus pandemic.
Eric Goldapske, senior director of operations at Horizon Fitness, said at FreightWaves LIVE @HOME Thursday that exercise equipment suppliers have had to shift from mostly serving public gyms to dealing with homeowners almost overnight as COVID-19-related social distancing measures were put in place.
People have not stopped exercising during the pandemic but instead want the gym experience in their homes. This change in demand has caused Horizon Fitness and its competitors to upend their logistics and inventory management.
“We’re in the process of opening additional warehouses to allow us to have the flexibility to have those products available to the consumer and we’re actually increasing our inventory,” Goldapske said. “The plan longer term is to carry larger amounts of stock for situations just like this.”
Michael Campese, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Estes Forwarding Worldwide (EFW), said his company is responding to these changes among its shippers and their customers during the pandemic.
“It forces us to rationalize our asset network and look at where we have those warehouses,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of pressure from our customers to provide more warehousing capacity.”
Similar changes are being placed on industry resources firms to ensure that they supply their clients with the right processes and people to meet these new logistics and inventory demands.
“We have to improve the way our turnaround deadlines are met and that we’re following the demand of clients,” said Donna Kintop, senior vice president of client experience in North America for DDC FPO, a business process outsourcing firm that works with EFW’s sister company and LTL business unit, Estes Express Lines.
Even after the coronavirus subsides, Horizon Fitness believes, based on its data, that more than 25% of people will continue to work out at home and order more exercise equipment through online channels.
“We’ve seen a 600% increase this year in our business online,” Goldapske said. “We don’t expect that to hit 600% next year, but we certainly don’t expect it to go backwards either.”