SimplexGrinnell’s Jim Spicer speaks

Spicer talks about cultural change, better business processes
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

LAS VEGAS--SimplexGrinnell president Jim Spicer took some time out at the NFPA show to talk to Security Systems News about what’s going on inside SimplexGrinnell and how that’s affecting those outside of SimplexGrinnell.

With the company for 15 years, Spicer served as vice president of business operations before being named president last October.

SimplexGrinnell has undergone what Spicer called a “cultural change over the past four years,” as they’ve worked to improve their reputation by developing “solid sales, design and installation processes.”

Following [Tyco International CEO] Ed Breen’s lead, SimplexGrinnell implemented a Six Sigma program to “develop solid sales and delivery processes, and we have begun focusing on post-installation service processes.”

What kind of results have they seen? “Increased revenue and improved profitability from projects,” Spicer said.

One of the ways SimplexGrinnell measures improvement is its “customer advocacy program.” Simplex hired an outside group to survey customers about how they feel about Simplex’s products and services. This data, revenue growth and accounts receivable “are the main metrics we use to measure our progress in providing the best products and services possible,” Spicer explained. “From 2006 [when the program began] to 2007, we increased customer advocacy by five percent.”

This year Simplex developed and launched its own customer satisfaction training program; employees who deal directly with customers attend off-site training seminar and monthly follow-up training sessions for one year.

“Ultimately, we would like to take all employees through this program. It is a multi-year endeavor,” Spicer said. SimplexGrinnell shares its customer satisfaction annual report with employees and customers, and was handing copies out at the NFPA show. Employees like that kind of transparency as do customers, Spicer said. “Feedback on the customer satisfaction training program has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Everyone is raving about it and many districts are calling to see if they can be moved forward in the roll out schedule.”