The July issue of SSI‘s annual “Best of the Best” issue features an extensive profile of Beltsville, Md.-based ASG Security, which was named 2010’s Installer of the Year. Anyone who follows the industry closely at all is likely familiar with this leading regional provider and its exceptional management team, led by CEO Joe Nuccio, a member of SSI‘s Editorial Advisory Board (no, that did not factor into ASG winning!).
While interviewing several members of ASG’s leadership for the article, I gathered more material than I could use in print and figured I would share it here. But please do also check out the full article because this is an organization well worth emulating. After all, how many others can boast seven straight years of revenue growth, particularly in this economy? But beyond that, they’re just good people too. I know Nuccio and Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Bob Ryan fairly well and their professionalism, positive attitude and approachability are unrivaled.
OK, enough gushing, here we go ...
What would you identify as your company’s top challenges, and how are they being addressed?
Joe Nuccio: Really, there are two main challenges. No. 1 is finding our way to continue success in this new economic climate, which is probably going to last for a long time. Business is tougher. There are definitely consistent pressures on pricing and margins as the fight for the available business is ultra-competitive. To address this, we really try to push positive communication out to our teams. Rather than talk about how tough things are, we direct the dialogue to creative thinking and what IS working. We share successes often and reward our top performers when things go right. The architecture of our company and business mix we have chosen to build around is our best remedy for the shaky economy. Because we are equally strong in residential, small business and the larger commercial markets, we don’t suffer the full brunt of a debilitating housing market or restricted capital budgets in the commercial sector, as an example. One business unit tends to prop up another, giving us the breathing room and time we need to adjust and strategize to overcome the challenges of today and those which lie ahead.
The other challenges are simply the everyday business challenges that we face, regardless of the state of the economy. We operate many branch offices and while we strive for excellence there is always an operating unit that needs attention in one area or another. Fortunately, we have been doing this a long time and we have great continuity of leadership at the corporate level. There are very few new challenges, most are very familiar to us. As a result, we are experienced enough to quickly identify problem areas and implement measures to get back on track.
ASG Security President and CEO Joe Nuccio.
You really emphasize customer service throughout your organization. Can you provide a specific example of this?
Nuccio: On July 23, 2008, Hurricane Dolly hit McAllen, Texas. While most nonessential staff members evacuated our McAllen facility, all ASG central station personnel remained. Our team worked continuously day and night, stacking sandbags and fighting back water that was encroaching the center. Water made its way into the central station despite the valiant efforts of employees. In addition to the flooding, they lost power, reverting to generator and the UPS system at times. Despite the incredible conditions they were faced with, our operations continued throughout the storm. The call and signal volume was massive, resulting in 32,247 signals handled by our operators over three days. Normal activity accounts for about 4,000 operator handled signals in a 24-hour period. During this time, we had only one customer complaint. This was truly a success story and a testament to the dedication and quality of ASG’s central station team and their unwavering commitment to customer service.
Given the economic necessity to place tighter constraints on expenditures, how does ASG manage its budgets to continue moving upward and onward?
Nuccio: ASG’s budgeting process begins at the branch level. Unlike many large companies, we allow our local management teams to set their own goals for growth, employee headcount and improvement in key areas. This also includes budget items like funding for community service events, employee recognition and outside services. Once preliminary budgets are completed at the local level, our general managers travel to our corporate office for a weeklong budgeting conference. Together, we collaborate and develop the budget strategy for the year ahead. By involving our local sales managers, operations managers and general managers in setting their own goals, collective ownership is established, increasing the probability of meeting our critical business objectives.
ASG Security’s skilled management team at one of the company’s Customer Care Centers.
Were you surprised to be named Installer of the Year? What does that honor mean for your company, and do you plan to use it in your marketing efforts?
Nuccio: We are truly honored to be recognized as SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s Installer of the Year. SSI is a very well-respected publication and we are very grateful for this recognition. It is a tremendous honor for our company and we plan on using this occasion to continue to tell the “ASG story” on our Web site and through our marketing. We are always hopeful to be considered for awards like this but recognize that there many great companies in our industry so it is a pleasant surprise to be selected in this case.
I personally congratulate Nuccio and the rest of ASG Security on a job well done. Way to go, Joe!
As always, thanks for reading ...
SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION