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Health Club Saves Money With RFID Laundry Solution

A deployment intended to thwart towel theft has yielded a fast ROI and paid off for the environment.
By Amy Lipton
Jun 10, 2013

Casey Ashline, the executive director of Riverside Health Fitness Center, in Bourbonnais, Ill., was searching for fitness equipment at an industry trade show several years ago, when she came across a display of the Towel Tracker RFID-based laundry solution. "I was immediately intrigued," she says.

"We're an upscale facility—our member dues are $55 to $65 a month—but even with such a nice clientele, we were losing about 150 to 200 towels a month to theft," Ashline explains. "Plus, members were using six to seven towels at a time instead of the one or two they actually needed."

Riverside Health Fitness Center

What intrigued her about Towel Tracker, Ashline says, is that "it automatically tracks the towels, so I knew it would prevent the towels from 'walking off the property.'"

In April 2012, the Towel Tracker solution was installed at the 70,000-square-foot, 2,900-member fitness center, owned and operated by the Riverside HealthCare Medical Center. "It has worked out extremely well," Ashline reports. The fitness center now loses only eight to 10 towels a month, to members who don't realize the towels are being tracked, or to those who inadvertently take them home.

"Our goal was just to cut towel loss by 50 percent," Ashline states, "but we ended up saving so much more." The fitness center has garnered significant unforeseen savings in related costs, including water, detergent and electricity for laundry, as well as labor to do the laundry and pick up the towels that were once strewn about the facility. Wear and tear on the club's washing machines and dryers has also been dramatically reduced. And, she adds, "Our towels last so much longer because they are not washed and dried so often!"

Ashline admits she wasn't aiming to "go green," stating, "I was looking to solve the theft problem, which Towel Tracker did. It just had so many green benefits."

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