What’s the saying? “The more things change, the more they stay the same” or “That’s how we have always done it.” Change is hard, because it challenges you to re-think, examine how you have been doing your work, why you have been doing it that way, and is it really working? The other way this can be difficult is when you have been largely successful, why would you change what you are doing? The fear is the same – what if we there was a better way, and we didn’t see it? Frankly, change is just hard for people – the routine is what gives them comfort.
When Lone Star Communications purchased ArCom Systems in October 2018, we faced these questions in several ways; the software platform we used, the way we approached customer service, how we managed customer expectations, how we communicate internally and externally, right down to the mundane tasks of billing. Over the course of two years, a lot of changes have taken place that allowed us to push ourselves to new heights and achieve successes we talked about but couldn’t quite reach. It hasn’t always been easy, but the outcomes have been worth the work.
I know what you are thinking, "So, what is your point?" Here it is: The pace of change in the life safety industry is somewhere around a Level V in white water rafting which entails long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing; large waves, complex, gushing rapids, twisting and spinning, which delivers the consummate adrenaline rush.
This requires all of us to be nimble, forward thinking, and ready to change as the expectations and needs of our customers change; what they need from us, the products we go to market with, the messaging we need, how we go to market, the verticals we operate in, and the verticals we don’t operate in currently. The days of installing some boxes and gadgets and waving goodbye have come and gone. Our systems connect to the internet, and soon they won’t require a cable to do so, which makes the cyber component continue to rise and demand attention. Customers want additional value and what change they should incorporate in their businesses.
Subscriptions, easy on/off remote services, 5G, IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), wearables, big data - this is all happening now, and unlike the recent past, our customers are well informed. They are searching for companies willing to be partners, guiding them through the changes. I encourage you to get plugged in, research, read white papers, ask the SPC (Strategic Planning Committee) questions and make suggestions.
We must push each other, examine what we do and continue to stretch ourselves. Most of the companies we all watch, and enjoy the services of, embrace taking leaps into new verticals, recognizing the changing demands of their customers. They also know adapting is required to keep driving business. Netflix started as DVD by mail. Apple started with home computers. Amazon started by selling books online. What happened to Kodak, Circuit City, and Blockbuster?
The outcomes and growth opportunities for Lone Star Communications are too many to list, but it will require each of us to know, accept, and take on the responsibility of being willing and able to…. change.
- Kevin Henderson, Chief Operating Officer