Security-Net: Making national accounts work for everyone
EXTON, Pa.—In existence for nearly 20 years, Security-Net is a $388 million national integration company made up of 19 independent integrators. Nineteen independent companies working together makes for a formidable national accounts provider, executives from member companies tell Security Systems News.
“There are no weak branch offices,” said Matthew Ladd, CEO of The Protection Bureau.
The company has an impressive list of national account customers including Sallie Mae, a project led by The Protection Bureau that involved 10 member companies, and an ongoing project with WellPoint, one of the largest health benefits companies in the country, which involves 12 member companies.
WellPoint is a “total retrofit, upgrade and standardization of the electronic security systems including access, video, intercom, visitor management and some intrusion as well,” said Skip Sampson, VP of Koorsen Security Technology, the lead partner on that project. The initial deal involved 120 sites, but more are being added all of the time because of acquisitions.
How can all of these different independent companies actually function as one national provider? The organization is very carefully structured, Ladd said.
“We have pre-set rules of engagement,” he said. “We have a pricing model, so there’s no question when a project comes in.”
“The Security-Net concept is that both the project and the labor [are] turnkey, so we keep each other profitable,” Ladd said. “We do not ask any [partner] to take a project that could be a potential loss.”
Also, importantly, “we deal at the owner’s level. If there’s an issue, there’s one throat to grab. … Whatever the issue is, we vow to treat a partner’s customer as well, if not better, than our own customer … and we drive that mentality through to our employees.”
John Krumme, president and CEO of member company Cam-Dex Security Corp., said having a Security-Net partner in charge of a site in another region of the country is “invaluable.”
As an example, he cited a Security-Net partner working on a Cam-Dex-led project in Fort Worth, Texas. “There were tons of fire code issues … [that partner] who is very familiar with local codes … literally walked into the fire marshal’s office to get clarification [on the codes] so that the project could be pushed along and stay on schedule,” he said. “That’s the kind of importance [Security-Net] partners place on each other’s projects.”
The lead partner provides a project manager who oversees the entire project in all locations.
Security-Net has a centralized server system with special software for coordination and communications on any group project. All members have access to the same documents. So, for example, from the shop drawings to the as-built drawings, all parties can see when changes are made during the course of the project.
“If The Protection Bureau is the lead partner, their project managers and the other project managers all work on the same document, so when the project is done they all look the same, the systems are all wired the same,” Ladd explained.
The client also has access to the system so the client’s security director can keep the company CEO up to date on progress.
Ladd said that Security-Net competitors develop national account deals at the corporate level and then they’re “thrown to the branches. … There’s no loyalty to the client.” Often those branches don’t want to dedicate their best resources to a national account project, especially if there are lower-than-normal profits, he said.
At Security-Net, member company employees have their own groups: Tech-Net, comprised of head engineers and integration specialists from each company who share design solutions, troubleshooting tips and technology updates; and Sales-Net, which includes senior security consultants and integration specialists from each company who are aligned to develop national sales.
Sampson said Koorsen joined Security-Net for regional account fulfillment eight years ago. He said the group sharing of best practices is helpful. “Sometimes a trend starts on the East Coast or West Coast [which we’ll hear from other members],” he said. With newer technology, members share advice, warnings and fixes, he added.
Dave Alessandrini, VP of Pasek Corp. in Boston, has been a member of Security-Net for three years. The partners “are a known entity,” he said. “It’s like having a remote office, and you get the same response if you call someone in the group [as if you called someone in your own company].”
Working on a project the scale of WellPoint is a good learning and training opportunity for his company and employees, Alessandrini said.
This relationship also opens up other opportunities for Pasek outside of Security-Net projects, he said.
“We can use our [Security-Net] work as a reference,” Alessandrini said.