The Story of Nestlé
As the world’s largest food manufacturer, Nestlé takes health very seriously. And as a major employer, that responsibility extends to employee wellness as well. On the Vevey campus in Switzerland, home to the Nestlé global headquarters, a wide array of associations financed by Nestlé offer their services to employees and their families. There’s a running association, a theater association – and there’s a fitness association.
Initially, the facilities consisted of a single gym in the main building, with a full assortment of cardio and strength equipment, complemented by a sauna, hammam and cold water pool. But two years ago, a second, smaller location was opened a kilometer further at the La Tour-de-Peilz office, to solve issues of long gym commutes during work days.
Virtuagym proved to be the most efficient partner to cover all the needs we had.
Digital Innovations Manager at Nestlé
Member-facing app with exercise guidance, online community, and access control integration.
Driving engagement and boosting retention through an online community with tailored interest groups.
A scheduling system with in-app booking and waiting list features.
The Challenges of Increased Complexity
“Over a decade ago, when starting at IT, I was able to develop a system to manage the fitness facilities,” explains Laurent Bischoff, Digital Innovations Manager at Nestlé. “But with the increase of employees in the club and the extension of our service offering, it became a bit obsolete.”
The software in use was installed locally, on a single desktop, with all the drawbacks that entail. Regular backups had to be made, there was no connection to the internet. “It was slow, annoying, and outdated in the age of the cloud,” says Bischoff.
With 1100 employees and growing, a more modern solution was mandatory. “Especially now that we had multiple locations, we had to have something in the cloud.” Therefore, the search began. After an online search and a critical product comparison, Bischoff decided on Virtuagym. “Virtuagym proved to be the most efficient partner to cover all the needs we had.”
Implementing the Solution
Since starting with Virtuagym, Bischoff has been careful to roll out the various features in phases. “As an IT guy, I know that you can’t just open up everything at once.”
Roll-out began with the basics: access control and member management. The existing access control was based on employee access cards with a barcode scanner. The first step was to integrate that existing process with the Virtuagym software. But after that, the new solution offered opportunities for improvement.
“We have employees with badges, but their wives come in too, and retirees of course. So, we had to find a better way to handle our access control. In co-operation with Virtuagym, we set up a new system in the mobile app.” The new in-app feature generates a barcode, which can then be scanned at the entrance. This way, an employee card is no longer mandatory.
Reaping the Benefits
After introducing Virtuagym into the Nestlé fitness facility, the huge benefits of doing so quickly became obvious to Bischoff as well as the gym-goers themselves.
“The main benefit is definitely the follow-up that we can now have with members, we can get so much more than just their basic information. We can record important medical information, and tailor workout plans and training plans to accommodate any ailments they have,” explains Bischoff.
He outlines the plans that they have for building more comprehensive custom training plans, in a bid to meet the need of each individual member. This is made possible thanks to the enormous database of over 4,000 animated exercises contained within Virtuagym’s exercise module.
But it’s not just the in-depth member profiles that have transformed the gym, the administration-focused modules have unlocked a new level of efficiency and accessibility for the staff working behind the scenes.
“Previously, we had a pretty unreliable scheduling system, and now it’s state of the art. We’re huge fans of the waiting list system too, which means that our most popular classes are always full up. Giving people the ability to take up an empty spot is a small detail that makes a huge difference.”
The online community the Nestlé campus gym hosts via their mobile app has created an active family of gym members who share their progress, post updates, and discuss the latest hot topics. Bischoff tells us that it’s become so popular, that trainers don’t even get the chance to reply to an employee's question before another employee answers it.
“I was so surprised because people would ask something via the mobile app and before the coach could even answer, other gym-goers were replying! As the community is full of fitness fanatics who are happy to help each other, the role of our staff changed from that of activator to that of a moderator.”
Support That Makes the Difference
If there was one thing that took Bischoff by surprise, it was the level of professional support that he received from the team at Virtuagym.
“I’ll be honest,” he says. “I really appreciate the support the Virtuagym team has given me since we started working together. When I had a question, it wasn’t a week-long ordeal trying to get an answer, you guys got back to me within a day at the latest.”
Nestlé has implemented technology into their existing facilities to completely transform the fitness experiences of their employees. By trusting in a proven digital solution to handle time-absorbing admin and management tasks, the health facilities at Nestlé are well-suited for one of the world’s most successful businesses.