Service Without Boundaries

ACS Integrated Service Provider

For ACS, there are no limits to what the company is willing and able to provide its many clients across a diverse range of market sectors, including security, cleaning and energy efficiency consulting for clients in the commercial, mining, and government fields. Established in 1991 by Warren Hughes, Managing Director, as a humble one-man operation, the company has grown significantly, and today employs more than 650 staff in more than seventy sites.

Warren started business as an oyster farmer before working as a doorman in clubs to make ends meet. With the encouragement of a family friend, he decided to go in to business in 1991 providing doormen for a local hotel. Through the 1990s, the business grew to offer door services for a number of locations, eventually expanding to include a number of cleaning contracts with regional shopping centres.

By the early 2000s, ACS Integrated Service Provider landed a lucrative security and cleaning contract with the Department of Defence maintaining some sensitive sites. “Part of the contract there was to clean naval ships coming and going from Garden Island, and that was the start he really needed,” says Paul Collins, Chief Executive Officer, describing the importance of the company’s early developments.

By 2010, the company had continued to grow organically, incorporating a diverse range of services to meet the needs of clients, including traffic control, ground maintenance, and catering services, which the company provided for the Caltex Oil Refinery.

Continued changes in the Australian marketplace have encouraged the company’s growth into new and exciting territory, with ACS building relationships and winning contracts in the mining and resource sector in Australia developing, constructing, and maintaining temporary mining camps in remote locations, particularly the gas fields of Queensland and Western Australia.

The incredibly diverse range of services the company has developed all grow from the philosophy of founder Warren Hughes, who envisioned a service provider operating without boundaries to provide high quality service and well-trained labour to meet the particular needs of all clients. “Many companies out there will buy our labour, but for most of our contracts we not only supply the labour, but also manage the labour to achieve certain standards in the contract,” Paul explains.

And whether ACS is providing cleaning, security, or catering staff, Paul suggests the philosophy is the same.

With this focus, the company has been able to provide services and solutions for a range of clients, keeping its portfolio diverse and growth steady. Paul sees the company’s core business as one of adding value for clients, wherever that value may be made available. A recent major development for the company has been in partnering with new and existing clients to provide energy efficiency services in terms of light use, refrigeration, and air conditioning. “The supply of labour is a soft service, but there are other things we can help our clients with in reducing their running costs; that’s where the energy efficiency programs come into it.”

Developments in the mining and resources industry have been a major growth driver for the company as it continues to develop into new markets, seeing significant revenue from new relationships as it provides camp maintenance services for major clients. These contracts represent significant returns for the company, and the team expects to see an additional ten million dollars this year in mining sector contract revenue alone.

“We’ll turn over this year a gross revenue of about 30 million,” shares Paul. “With the mining sector revenue, that will go over the forty million mark, which adds another third on top of our revenue. That’s still a growing part of our business, and we haven’t scratched the surface yet.”

Paul attributes this ongoing growth and success not only to the vision of the company’s management team, but to the importance the company places on creating a work environment that values and encourages employees at all levels to succeed.

The four pillars on which the company has built its business plan include profit, growth, client satisfaction, and the company’s people, with the company’s people clearly at the top. “Our number one priority in our business plan is our people,” explains Paul. “Making sure the way they’re treated, and what they are offered in terms of development and training and their future, is solid – that’s number one.”

With this focus comes client satisfaction, which Paul identifies as the number two priority in ACS integrated Service Provider’s business plan. Though profit is clearly the motivator of business, Paul suggests that unless you have happy people and happy clients, you are not going to make any money. “That’s how we’ve changed around our business plan,” he says, “by adding greater employment recognition incentives and offering employees better qualified certificate courses, and realistic career paths both within the company and outside it.”

Paul describes situations in the past where employees, after being trained by ACS have gone on to greater roles outside of the company, often taking the company along with them to become clients in the future. “People who have grown through the company see our commitment to staff and clients and we’ve had some success in that regard.”

Not only has the company come to be known for the quality of its people; it is also recognised for the quality of its processes, having recently achieved ISO accreditation in safety, environment, and management.

Paul is clearly proud of what the company has achieved in terms of the in-house development of its ISO procedures, saying, “many companies will have consultants come in and write procedures, but we organically developed everything that’s within our ISO certification. It was our own team who put their heads together to create the accreditation.”

With its ISO accreditation, the company can boast the highest quality processes and systems, which it can leverage as a marketing tool; it opens a number of doors to contract opportunities providing services for government and other blue-chip companies.

The company’s ongoing commitment to quality, service, and training has also attracted the recognition of a number of industry bodies, landing the company numerous awards. “We won the inaugural Central Coast Business Awards Business of the Year, large business of the year, and CEO of the year awards, and we are quite proud of that,” exclaims Paul, though he is perhaps most personally satisfied with recognition received from the National Employment Services Association, which awarded ACS Integrated Systems Provider with the Company of the Year award in recognition of the organisation’s commitment to employment and training.

The company’s commitment to the innovative application of labour and its well developed business strategy continue to steer ACS toward new and exciting opportunities, with a renewed focus on getting out into the market instead of waiting for the market to come to them. “We have sat around the 23 to 30 million dollar mark and we’ve been comfortable with that,” Paul shares, “but times are changing and we’ve realised that we have to grow bigger than that to be competitive, hence us going out to the market more and not just growing geographically, but also growing in revenue and growing in the services we provide.”

Long a market leader in the innovative application of labour, more and more the company is also taking the lead in the application of technology to improve processes and operate more efficiently and effectively. “We’ve jumped on board with web-based systems and the use of apps to collect and collate data which helps us better assess what we do and change, when necessary, our operational approach, which is more efficient and provides an answer that we are looking for,” says Paul.

For example, ACS has developed a first of its kind application to track data and reduce the number of slip and fall accidents across the many shopping centre facilities the company is responsible for. “We’ve been able to identify an anomaly of where incidents are occurring and where we’re deploying our staff so we can now redeploy our staff to those hotspot areas to reduce the incidents of people slipping and getting hurt.”

To continue its organic growth, Paul describes the company’s vision for the future. “The plan is to expand our services in terms of our offer, primarily in the mining sector, but our other services such as civil works, general catering, traffic control, and security and cleaning services within that sector.”

The continued development of a greater range of hard services, such as fire and HVAC, will mean that clients will be afforded an even greater range of services by the company, making ACS a truly one-stop shop solution for clients looking to streamline their organisations. “A lot of clients are looking for a one-stop shop,” Paul explains. “So we’re looking at growing our business in the types of services we provide facilities to meet these needs.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 5:30 PM AEDT