“There are certain model companies that fit well with ASG and we try to stick to a very specific formula in this regard,” says Nuccio. “Along the way, however, we’ve considered companies that extended far beyond our core geographies or were simply too immense in size and complexity. Sometimes, the best decisions are the ones you never make.”
Business plans are executed locally by ASG branch management teams and supported by corporate support groups. Budgets are set annually and normally do not adjust until the succeeding year. Branches are given the autonomy to run their operations given certain parameters.
“The corporate function is to provide them with the tools, resources and guidance to exceed their objectives,” says Masino. “Our operating plan calls for single-digit RMR growth over a substantial RMR base. This is achieved approximately 50 percent through acquisitions and 50 percent through organic sales growth.”
Helping Sales Succeed
ASG’s sales and marketing resources are organized around its targeted market segments. Specifically, the company has dedicated sales forces in the residential, small business and commercial/integrated systems categories.
“We do not have the sales and marketing war chest of the ultra-large companies like ADT and Broadview, who rely on television and radio for lead generation,” says Ryan. “Our strategy is to self-generate the majority of our opportunities by providing our sales force with best-in-class marketing and collateral materials.”
This self-generation activity is augmented with highly targeted lead generation through the firm’s telemarketing centers in McAllen and Dallas, in addition to its Web site and various lead-aggregation partnerships. ASG’s marketing materials have earned the company multiple SAMMY (Sales & Marketing) awards through the years.
“We are in constant communication with our sales force and sales management teams in order to keep our fingers directly on the pulse of the business, and to dialogue issues and opportunities across our regions,” adds Ryan. “We subscribe to a bottoms-up communication process to develop our pricing, plans and lead-generation systems.”
Staffers Feel Like Stars
Even the best management, business practices, and sales and marketing support will have limited impact unless there is the same emphasis on the quality of frontline personnel. This means not only recruiting the right people but also ensuring they are properly trained, and finding ways to keep them engaged and motivated. ASG embraces this human resources approach. The firm constantly recruits for positions across markets to add to its already sizeable employee base. ASG uses traditional channels like CareerBuilder and Monster.com, and contract placement providers for higher level positions.
“We are fortunate our managers are very well connected from an industry standpoint, and their relationships allow us to identify and recruit exceptional talent at a very low cost,” says Nuccio. “From an employer standpoint the market has never been better than it is today. The qualities important to ASG are personal integrity, experience and work ethic, among others.”
Once an associate is onboard, the company offers several avenues of additional training, including reimbursement for individual classes, college credit courses, continuing education unit courses, seminars, certification classes and tests, preparatory or review classes, and licensing fees and examinations.
“Employee training is a priority at ASG and we encourage and support the pursuit of higher education and personal development,” says Aggie Hassan, vice president of HR. “All required training to maintain professional licensing is arranged and paid for by the company.”
To help keep its staff motivated, ASG goes out of its way to recognize and reward superior performance and loyalty. Employees are saluted in the company’s quarterly newsletter with compliments from customers and coworkers. ASG’s President’s Cup Challenge promotes high achievement for sales, management and operations personnel to earn a trip to a tropical destination. And key positions in sales, operations and general management are incentivized with bonus plans for exemplary performance.
Thinking Big Picture
The motivation theme dovetails nicely with the concept of giving back to the community. One of the great values in participating and supporting such endeavors is the positive impression it creates both internally and externally. ASG has progressively developed its efforts in this area since 2002 to the point of winning 2008’s SAMMY Award for Best Community Service Program.
“ASG employees passionately practice volunteerism in the local communities we serve,” says Ryan. “Across the board, our team members use their time, skills and passion to help those in need. We believe volunteerism and charitable contributions strengthen our communities by building networks of hope and trust.”
Many employees participate in a variety of community-focused events, including holiday adopt-a-family, school supply drives, blood drives, Habitat for Humanity and others. In addition to making sizeable financial contributions to charities, ASG routinely gives employees paid time off for philanthropic activities.
While the core of ASG’s strength lies in its concentration on conducting business locally, its leadership understands the importance of reaching out to the entire industry. The company is active in trade associations such as the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and contributes toward legislative and other important causes.
“ASG is committed to making positive contributions for the advancement of the electronic security industry. We believe in the importance of working side by side with other industry leaders, including our competitors, to tackle common issues that confront all companies as well as sharing our knowledge to help foster growth of the industry as a whole,” says Nuccio, who like others within ASG regularly speak at industry functions.
In sum, Installer of the Year ASG Security has the complete package. So much so the company appears virtually impervious to the whims of economy, posting its best year ever in 2009. As Nuccio explains, it’s no accident — it is the result of playing both smart and tough.
“Deals were scarcer than in better times and each and every deal won was a hard-fought victory,” he says. “We are fortunate that every year since 2002 has been our best year ever. When times are tough we simply refocus on the basics of the business.”
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Installer of the Year