UR UMUC Healthy Fitness Center was opened in 1980 by a retired U.S. Marine as a place
for people in the local area to exercise and stay in shape. It has done rather well but has
done little to modernize its equipment or processes throughout the years. In order to
remain competitive in the ever popular world of physical fitness, this facility requires
major modernization efforts. In order to focus on what areas need work we will conduct an
analysis of Porter’s Five Forces model, determine a generic strategy to use, identify an
important Strategic Business Area needing improvement, and select a process that
supports this Strategic Business Area.
Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School developed a model that analyzes a
company’s completive forces in its operational environment. (Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 16) Its
main purpose is to eliminate these by identifying opportunities, advantage over
competition, and intelligence of the competition’s advantages. (Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 16) This
model is called Porter’s Five Forces Model, and consists of Buyer Power, Supplier Power,
Threat of Substitute Products or Services, Threat of New Entrants, and Rivalry among
Existing Competitors. (Baltzan P. , 2012, pp. 16-18)
Buyer power is the customers’ ability to control the price they will pay for a good or
service. The number of customers, their price sensitivity, and size of their orders,
competition diversity, and substitute product availability are the major factors affecting
buyer power. (Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 16) This force has a negative impact on the fitness
center and will affect my strategy.
Supplier power is the ability of the supplier of a product to affect its prices for its goods.
(Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 16) Some of the factors that enable supplier power are the number of
suppliers, the size of the suppliers, the unique services provided, and the ease of access to
substitute products. (Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 17) One of the major supplies of a fitness center is
the exercise equipment that it offers. There are many different vendors who provide
exercise equipment, so this should have a positive impact on the fitness center. It will not
affect my strategy.
The threat of substitute products or services is impacted by the availability of alternatives
to a good or service. (Baltzan P. , 2012, p. 17) Physical fitness is very popular lately. There
are many exercise videos and exercise video games. Fitness clubs are on the rise. This force
can have a negative impact on the center but will not affect my strategy.
UR UMUC Healthy Fitness Center Case Study Stage 2
Part 1: Business process analysis
Any business process that needs to remain competitive must adopt the changes driven by
market through improvement of business processes in place. UR UMUC Healthy Fitness Center,
which opened up in 1980, is one of the businesses that require business strategy in order to
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 2
remain competitive. This paper analyses the business process by modeling the current situation
AS-IS models running at the center and the TO-BE model which is expected to be operational
once the new technology option is selected.
AS-IS model is a prerequisite to understand how the process operates in the current
organization. Currently the processes at the center are manual as there is no technology in place.
The involved objects at the center include various instruments or material used for fitness. The
materials operate manually. Functions /operations are done manually and are performed by an
attendance that provides instructions to the clients. There are conditions and constraints adopted
in ensuring that the center operates as scheduled. The policies set have provided or given
responsibilities to different people. For instance, the preconditions in the center are that every
individual is required to register as a member. Upon registration, a fee is paid and an individual
selects an appropriate time for physical exercise at the facilities. Subscription is renewed upon its
expiry. The constraint to the current AS-IS model is lack of technology which, has made it
tedious to communicate with the clients and to ensure up-to-date records. This has led to long
queues, which discourages many clients. Control structures in place that ensures that the
business operates smoothly includes, experienced staffs, and instructor, convenience and
affordable subscription cost.
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 3
TO-BE process is what is expected after a given process or model is implemented
(Hambrick, 1983). The proposed technology is to come up with a system that will help or
enhance the process of customer services. Customers have complained over the long queues as
they wait to renew their subscription hence the reason of implementing this technology.
Registration as a member
Experienced staffs and instructor
Convenience and affordable subscription cost.
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 4
The model of this new technology will be as follows; the objects involved in the new
systems include input and output. A computer will help the clients to pay their subscription
online. They will also be able to receive communications about developments at the center hence
will enhance service delivery. The clients will be required to have an access to a computer
connected to internet in order to transact their business. They will be able to access any
information pertaining to their subscription status and get updates on their expiry dates. The
system will operate or will be guided by certain conditions and constraints (Flow-charting,
2013). There are policies, which guide how the system operates, and these must be adhered. One
of the policies is that any client must register to get permission to use the services of the center.
Login details are given to every customer who satisfies the threshold or requirements. Therefore,
before granting permission to access the website, the client requires to have subscribed for the
service. After accessing the website, an individual is required to log off the account to ensure that
no other person gains access to his/her information. However, incase a user forgets to log off,
the system is set in a manner that it deactivates after a duration of ten minutes without any
activity from the users. This is to enhance security and ensure that information remains
confidential. Some of the constraints in this new system is that, it may lock out a number of
people who may not have skills and knowledge in technology. Control structures in place to
ensure that the system functions properly to achieve its objectives include, regularly monitoring
and maintenance of the system and increased security levels through strict adherence to the rules
laid down such as time out and many others.
Computers: Input and output
Payment of subscription fees
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 5
Part 2: technology solution proposal
The generic strategy for this proposed technology is to implement an information
technology, which will ensure that the operations function smoothly. The subscription system
will enhance service delivery. This strategy further will make the center to remain competitive
and compete favorably with the other companies providing similar services.
Conditions and constraints
Login details given to those that satisfy the requirements
Deactivation after ten minutes
Lock out people without skills and knowledge in technology
Regularly monitoring and maintenance of the system
Increased security levels through strict adherence to the rules such as time out
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 6
The generic strategy used is the Porter’s five forces model, which includes the buyer
power, the supplier power, threat of substitute products or services, threat of new entrants and
rivalry among existing competitors (Dumas & Hofstede, 2005). There will be changes to buyer
power strategy because it will affect my strategy. The buyer’s power allows them to control
prices that they should pay for the services. Factors that affect buyer power include their price
sensitivity, number of customers, size of the order, competition diversity, and the availability of
substitute products. To ensure that buyers does not have this power, the strategy of improving
the service provision will help to persuade them to comply with the prices that the center will
offer (Porter, 1980). The strategic business area is to adopt technology to facilitate service
delivery while the process to be improved is in the subscription or customer services. Supplier
power is the power of the supplier to affect the prices of the products. Factors that enable
supplier power include the size of the suppliers, number of suppliers, the unique services
provided, and the ease of access to substitute products. Therefore, because, the center provides
unique services through the technology, it will have a competitive edge over its rivalry making
the company have this power hence the strategy is appropriate. Threat of substitute products
refers to how easily customers are able to switch to your competitors products. This threat is
usually high when substitute products are easily available, when the services or products are
easily accessible at same or lower price, when the quality of competitors is better and when
competitors earns high profits to enable them reduce their prices. Therefore, for the center to face
the threat of substitute products, it aims to improve in its services to attract more customers. The
tedious and time wasted in queues will be minimized. Threat of new entrants tends to weakness
your power and is high when capital required is less, when few economies of scale are in place,
products are not differentiated, key technology is not hard to acquire among many other factors.
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 7
Industry rivalry is yet one of the five forces and this means the level of competition intensity
among existing competitors in a given market. Rivalry is high when the industry is growing,
customers have low switching costs, when exit barriers are high and rivals stay and compete
among other factors. For the case of this center, the rivalry is high and therefore reverting to this
technology will help to enhance competitiveness.
The business process entails using technology to pay for subscriptions and to get updates
on the development of the center. This Process therefore aims to enhance service delivery to
ensure the center remain competitive. The business process stands a chance to benefit from this
technology solution, as services will be enhanced. The clients will save time in queuing and will
be able to access to information quickly and pay their subscription easily.
An information technology solution that can be used to enhance service delivery is to
provide a communication link such as Skype that clients can communicate with the officers at
the center. This technology is very easy to use and implement. The client’s login and then link
with the officer at the center through the Skype. This opportunity allows the client to
communicate directly with the official center at reduced cost. This customer service can help to
enhance the relationship between the center and the clients (Miller, 1992).
The major hardware required includes central processing unit, display monitor, keyboard,
mouse and earphones. The software requires in the processing unit and various software that
will be installed such as Skype among many others. This software is for communication
purposes. These hardware and software are dependent and are important in ensuring that the
proposed solution works well. Because there is no information technology already implemented
in the fitness center the officers will be required to source these services as they wait the
implementation and purchase of their own hardware in the center.
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 8
The processed technology solution is very essential, as it will enable the center to remain
competitive. Clients will be able to make their subscriptions easily as they will also be able to
communicate easily. Communication is essential in ensuring that a business success. This
therefore, will help the center to get in touch with their clients and therefore will be able to
address various concerns better.
The proposed technology will therefore help to support a number of strategic objectives
identified through Porters five forces analysis conducted. The proposed technology will help the
center to achieve its objective by remaining competitive. The buyer power, which is a threat to
the company, will be managed through this technology (Murray, 1988). Buyer’s power will no
longer be experienced as the quality of services will help in setting of prices for the services.
Therefore, the company will be able to attract more clients and be able to break even as it
Dumas, M, & Hofstede, A 2005, ‘Process Aware Information Systems: Bridging People and
Software Through Process Technology. Wiley & Sons.
Flow-charting. 2013, ‘Mastering the details,’ Retrieved from:
UR UMUC HEALTHY FITNESS CENTER CASE STUDY STAGE 9
Hambrick, D 1983, ‘An empirical typology of mature industrial product environments,’ Academy
of Management Journal, Vol. 26: 213-230.
Miller, D 1992, ‘The generic strategy trap” in The Journal of Business Strategy 13(1):37-41.
Murray, A 1988, ‘A contingency view of Porter’s “generic strategies.”’ Academy of Management
Review, vol. 13: 390-400.
Porter, M 1980, ‘Competitive Strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors,’
New York: The Free Press.