A Year Later, GE Interlogix Is Still on Track

My how time flies, especially when your mission is to be the electronic security industry’s leading manufacturer and solutions provider. A year ago this month, I interviewed Ken Boyda (see “Interlogix Boosts Its GE-Wiz Factor” in the August 2002 issue) to enlighten readers about GE’s designs in the security industry in the wake of its purchase of Interlogix.

Nearly one year later, as I attended GE Interlogix’s dealer convention—the 2003 Security Pro Conference—in Lake Tahoe, Nev., I wondered if everything was coming along as planned. One thing is for sure, being acquired did little to deter Interlogix’s role as a consolidator. Since GE took over, additions have included InfoGraphic Systems, International Fiber Systems (IFS), Fiber Options, IonTrack and, most recently, Monitoring Automation Systems (MAS).

Speaking via prerecorded video, GE Industrial Systems (the division GE Interlogix falls under) President/CEO Lloyd Trotter kicked the event off by telling the assembled throng: “I am so excited about what we have accomplished in a just a year. Our working together is going to be great moving forward. We are going where few can follow.”

GE Interlogix executives made it abundantly clear that the company is zeroed in on customer service and technology, and shared its Six Sigma approach (adopted by GE in the late 1990s) to achieving excellence. As Senior Vice President David Friesema explained during a question/answer session, the company is focused on “lean manufacturing.”

The dealers I spoke with were excited about their relationship with GE and the powerful branding and products it affords them. The main bone of contention was on the customer service side, where some complained about problems with deliveries and returns. GE representatives admitted those areas need improvement and said the company was aggressively addressing them.

Boyda, GE Interlogix president and CEO, followed Trotter and covered a lot of ground during his presentation. He stated GE Interlogix has 485
engineers dedicated to security and that it intends to concentrate on more consolidation, new technologies, loyalty programs, and new solutions and applications.

Afterwards, I took the opportunity to catch up with Boyda. I first asked him if the MAS acquisition signaled a move into the monitoring arena, to which he reiterated what he had told me a year prior: “GE Interlogix has no interest in the monitoring or installation business.”

I asked Boyda several other questions that follow.

What has gone as expected since last year?
Our focus on technology and innovation has remained consistent during the past year, and we continue to pursue growth – both internally and through acquisitions. As expected, the financial resources and research capabilities available through GE have helped us increase our activity level, even through extremely challenging market conditions.

What has turned out differently than anticipated?

No one could have anticipated the impact of the war in Iraq and the global SARS epidemic, but successful businesses expect the unexpected. We’ve maintained our focus on customers and our core business strategy, so we’ve been able to blunt the impact of those disruptions better than most companies. On the upside, the benefits of joining GE have far exceeded our expectations. In addition to investment and R&D resources, we’re seeing significant benefits from collaborating with other GE businesses on new business and opportunities.

How have things progressed overall?
By any standard, we’ve made excellent progress during the past year. We’ve completed some key acquisitions and introduced game-changing products, like Facility Commander.

What do you expect to see moving forward?
Security is a critical growth platform, so I expect opportunities will continue to expand and accelerate. We’re committed to develop or acquire technologies that extend the depth and breadth of the security solutions we offer to our customers. We’ll continue to develop closer relationships with our customers and end users by working closely with our channel partners to understand and fulfill their different needs.

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