Employee initiatives increase profits at The Protection Bureau

Matthew Ladd says measures have markedly reduced fuel use and other expenditures
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

EXTON, Pa.—Sharing business metrics with employees and seeking input on ways to be more efficient has increased profitability for The Protection Bureau, an integrator based here.

“We have a huge wall on our office filled with graphs and metrics and the employees are challenged to look at them and come back to us with suggestions,” explained Matthew Ladd, CEO and president of The Protection Bureau.

 “The results have been amazing,” Ladd said. For example, an initiative to improve fuel efficiency in company vehicles resulted in a 5 percent to 7 percent decline in what the company paid for gas in the first month of the initiative, Ladd said. 

Next to payroll, fuel is the second-highest expense for the company. Even after the initial drop in fuel costs, “we’ve seen a steady decline, and with gas prices going up, that’s a great savings,” he said.

The metrics that executives share with employees come from business management software that tracks everything from the estimating process to the billing and job costing. “We’ve taken it one step further and tied our business management to our GPS systems in our vehicles. So we can tell where our vehicles are [and when],” Ladd explained. 

“So that instead of a tech wondering [how many miles per gallon] am I getting, the system tells us what they’re getting per gallon. It’s a far more efficient way to gather the data. … [We] report it out and find ways to make it better,” he said.

In addition to gas mileage, The Protection Bureau tracks production numbers “and we challenge installation to hit the revenues, and [hit them] at the right margins. We challenge our service department to have as few callbacks on service calls so they get a one-time fix of an issue,” he said.

Ladd challenged to his service department to close all tickets within 24 hours, a move that allows the company to be much more efficient on billing and get information out to the clients faster. “We’ve seen those numbers drop down and efficiency is much better there,” he said.

Tracking service calls and the types of service calls helps The Protection Bureau discern if “there are certain manufacturers that cause us more service calls than others or certain type of installations that are more profitable for service calls,” he said.

With gas mileage stats and other metrics, “We share it, challenge [employees] and listen to them. What do they see? I have 50-plus employees out in the field every day,” Ladd said. “They have great ideas they bring back to managers or to me.”