Making Niscayah

How’d you like to be the guy tasked with ordering 195,000 business cards?
Sunday, June 1, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--Here in Kansas City lives Ed Meltzer, who’d been happily running the Kansas City branch for Securitas Systems when the news broke that the company would be changing its name to Niscayah, effective July 1, 2008.

He saw that coming. Securitas Systems was eager to break name ties with its former parent company, Securitas, and only had rights to the Securitas name for three years anyway. Maybe he didn’t foresee, however, a future that involved ordering 195,000 business cards, 35,000 first class envelopes, 987 shirts and close to 1,000 new logo patches, somewhere on the order of 67 new corporate signs of varying sizes, 725 decals for vehicles, 4,000 decals for windows, and 13,000 brochures.

“Right now,” he said during a late April phone call, “I have 149 individual tasks that are in some stage of progress.”

Meltzer’s is not a completely unique job. Tom Murdock, for one, has a similar role at UTC Fire & Security’s Red Hawk, eliminating the Initial, Chubb, and various other brands from the Red Hawk portfolio that grew a great deal when UTC purchased Rentokil Initial last year. He can certainly sympathize with changing email addresses that have been the same for 15 years.

But Meltzer’s also in charge of a philosophy shift, one that chief operating officer Marty Guay said has come from the top down and is extremely important to operations going forward. So important, actually, they’ve made a game of it.

“We decided to [reinforce the philosophy shift] through a game called Walk the Talk,” Guay said. “It’s a board game that was developed for us, and it focuses on scenario-based incidents and issues, allowing people to discuss if the company really is doing things or not doing things, or should the company be doing those things. It allows people to focus on how the company does business.”

“It’s one of the first formal opportunities we’ve had to engage the entire workforce,” said Meltzer, “and it gives them a say, lets them flex some influence on how we want to model the company going forward. It’s a rare opportunity when a company gets to reinvent themselves.”