How has CYBEX managed to keep growing given the current economy? How has global competition affected business? Are there signs that things are improving domestically? Why is “Built in the USA” important? Where’s the industry heading?
We’re very pleased with CYBEX’s sales growth, which has been well-balanced, both geographically and by product line. The increase is directly tied to the demand for our products, which, we believe, is the result of our focus on exercise science. We produce cardio and strength training solutions that no one else offers. The Arc Trainer is a perfect example—it’s not an elliptical, and it’s not a stepper. It’s in a category by itself. On the global front, we now have a strong international presence in 85 countries, with one-third of our overall sales originating overseas. We expect CYBEX’s sales growth outside of North America to outpace domestic sales within five years.
Everyone reading CBI is well aware of the major headwind that companies striving for growth have had to contend with for the past several years. The global economy has forced businesses, both in our own and other industries, to find new ways to help existing customers and better ways to entice new ones. For instance, CYBEX has been a leader in offering diversified financing options, helping operators invest in their facilities despite challenging times. In addition, our products are considered the workhorses of the industry and provide some of the highest resale values, making the cost of owning CYBEX equipment a benefit we believe has been reflected in our sales growth.
We’re beginning to see the U.S. economy bounce back. Because of the strong demand for CYBEX products, we’ve needed to increase our employee base. We’ve also invested in capital equipment to make our manufacturing process lean and efficient. This allows us to handle greater volumes without compromising the quality that’s the hallmark of CYBEX equipment, and yet remain cost-competitive.
We’re proud to have our products “Made in the USA.” We’ve seen several companies move their manufacturing to China and other off-shore sites, but we feel manufacturing in the U.S. improves our ability to maximize quality, ensures the shortest lead times in the industry, and allows us to customize logos and colors quickly and efficiently. Importantly, for a company like CYBEX, where new product innovation is key to our success, having our facilities and employees in the U.S. shortens the period required to move new products from development through to production. We understand that our competitors have made different decisions regarding where their facilities should be located, but we’re confident that being a domestic manufacturer will continue to serve CYBEX and our customers well.
We know that we can’t go it alone. Like many in the industry, we’ve undertaken partnerships with organizations that share our values. It helps bolster the brand and, even, introduce us to entirely new audiences. Our association with The Biggest Loser has created tremendous awareness for CYBEX and, particularly, the Arc Trainer. We were happy to hear contestant Patrick House say that the Arc Trainer was “his secret weapon” in losing 200 pounds to win the 2010 season. It was a big win for him and for CYBEX. And the in-roads we’ve made in professional sports, such as our recent agreement with the NHL and the work we do with PGA pro Greg Norman, have really pushed the demand for our sports-specific programming.
In general, we expect the fitness industry to keep pace with steadily increasing demand for the next five years. The demographics are with us. Baby boomers want to age well; exercise, increasingly, is recognized as a means to better health; and diabetes and other weight-related diseases are now epidemic. All of these factors bode well for gyms and health clubs, which, of course, is good for equipment manufacturers such as CYBEX. We firmly believe that we’re positioned to be an industry leader for years to come.
John Aglialoro has served as the CEO and chairman of CYBEX International, a leading fitness equipment manufacturer based in Medway, Massachusetts, since 2000. He is also the cofounder, CEO, and chairman of UM Holdings Ltd., an investment firm based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, that is a major shareholder in CYBEX.