In today’s world, aquatic managers are tasked frequently with ensuring revenue matches expenses, yet they tend to focus on cost-cutting or squeezing more from existing processes. Time and again, however, studies demonstrate the high potential costs of water safety incidents while revealing the potential savings of digital document management.
Software applications for aquatic management are in the early-adopter phase, as some facilities are believers in tech solutions for digital documentation and risk management. But what will it take for software to go mainstream?
For some, it’s enough to be convinced of the qualitative value of better systems, but for many, the picture isn’t complete until financial value is assessed. There is plenty of data illustrating the costs of inaction, so codifying public information can make the link with how software can help create value. Let’s focus on three main areas to start: risk of closures, water safety and digital documentation.
Risk of closures. A recent CDC study found “12.3%, or 8,118, of routine inspections resulted in immediate closures due to a serious threat to public health.”1 We find facilities typically undergo around two inspections per year, so statistically speaking, the average facility experiences 0.25 closures per year. This can impact up to 5% of facility revenue per closure. However, when cross-referencing results with existing facilities that are using digital applications, we can conclude digital technology could reduce closures by around 0.25 per year. For the facilities studied, this translates to potential savings of over $3,000 per year by using facility management software.
Water safety. Another CDC report, titled “Lifeguard Effectiveness: A Report of the Working Group,”2 calculated economic costs of different types of incidents. Weighing the potential value of an effective lifeguard staff, it concludes the potential economic cost savings due to preventive actions per 10,000 patrons is between a minimum of $202,500 to a maximum of $4,067,090. Assuming, conservatively, a venue sees 175,000 patrons per year, the potential value of a properly trained and qualified lifeguard staff is almost invaluable. Though this example doesn’t put a specific number to an application’s use, even a small improvement in managing lifeguard training and certifications makes the potential value hard to ignore.
Digital documentation. The significant cost of paper documentation is well researched and documented. To quantify this, approximations at helpsystems.com3 and findings from The Gartner Group may be used to measure potential savings on actual paper costs, time spent finding and filing documents, and alleviating human error. Next, extrapolate the paper cost per page ($0.10), time filing and finding paper documents (15 minutes per page) and cost of misplaced documents ($150 per document), and B, the subject facility’s pages potentially digitized and labor rates. Performing some calculations, a facility might save about $364 on paper, $12,740 on filing and finding paper, and $5,581 on misplaced documents, for a total annual savings of $18,685 per year.
Information technology can play an important role in enhancing the human experience in aquatics. And quantifying its value brings the industry a step closer to adopting these useful technologies.