ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in access control solutions for businesses, governments, airports, hospitals, schools and more. These solutions include electromagnetic and digital locks, keypads and card readers, security doors and automated entrances. Headquartered in Sweden, ASSA ABLOY reports global annual sales of approximately USD 9.9 Billion (2020). The Phoenix facility manufactures five of the ASSA ABLOY brands with locations worldwide.
Arizona MEP (AZ MEP) and ASSA ABLOY began their almost three-year relationship after Trey Pitman, senior manager of organizational development and environmental health and safety, connected with the staff after a Lean 101 workshop he attended years ago. Over the years, AZ MEP has partnered with Pitman on business solutions to support the company's growth.
Arizona MEP On-site Hiring and Recruitment Assistance
Recent sales growth of the company's power supply products and relocation of operations from Illinois to Arizona meant the company needed to hire 120 people to meet its operational goals rapidly. ASSA ABLOY's Human Resources team was not prepared to recruit and hire people within the required time frame, so Pitman approached AZ MEP to build a collaborative solution. The solution was to allocate a portion of the senior client advisor's time, who held previous recruitment experience, to extend the company's human resources department. In this capacity, the advisor became the main point of contact for all supporting staffing agencies, accessed talent through local workforce development programs, organized marketing efforts to create awareness of open positions, and interviewed and hired direct employees that applied through the company's website.
"This solution worked for us because we only needed these services for a short time," said Pitman. "The client advisor already knew us and could speak to recruits, as if she was an employee." Accessing these short-term recruitment services through AZ MEP allowed ASSA ABLOY to save $80,000 in recruitment fees and increase sales by 10 million dollars. The company risked losing millions in sales due to insufficient staffing. However, after connecting with AZ MEP, ASSA ABLOY saved 20 employment roles, hired 120 new employees, and retained 30 million dollars in revenue.
Training Partnership Benefits Multiple Manufacturers Within the Community
ASSA ABLOY is a mature Lean organization in its continuous improvement journey and operational excellence. Ongoing employee training makes up an essential part of the company's success. Often the training Pitman was interested in required 20-30 people for the entire day and pulling this many people away from production at the same time was not feasible. To provide the training the company needed, AZ MEP and ASSA ABLOY partnered together to host training at the company's facility and invite other manufacturers to help meet the class size requirements.
"ASSA ABLOY hosts the training at our facility, and I can send five of my people, and AZ MEP brings in other clients to our facility to fill up the class," said Pitman. Companies in attendance also toured the facility, which was mutually beneficial. "We can get feedback about ways to improve, and it exposes other manufacturers to a more mature Lean or continuous improvement operation," concluded Pitman. AZ MEP has hosted multiple public Lean 101 simulation workshops and one Lean for the office environment workshop.
Although the pandemic has halted these joint training sessions, for the time being, AZ MEP has continued to offer virtual leadership training that includes DISC assessments, effective delegation and coaching for development, and project management classes to ASSA ABLOY employees.
Trusted Solutions Provider
For manufacturers large and small, AZ MEP has become a trusted solutions provider for business services and training targeted to manufacturers. AZ MEP is also plugged into the larger business and government ecosystem and often has insight into programs and resources available. "As an advisor, I can help my clients avoid costs that they would have normally incurred," said Tanya Perkins, AZ MEP senior client advisor. "Maybe the client can make a connection or, you can provide a service or tell them that there is a better strategy."
"We have a high-performing team, but sometimes we have a challenge, and we don't know exactly how to overcome it," said Pitman. "My go-to has been to ask my advisor at AZ MEP. While they don't always have a lead, AZ MEP is very connected to resources available across the state and within the Arizona Commerce Authority. They are often able to point us in the right direction at least." By fully utilizing AZ MEP consulting and services, ASSA ABLOY estimates its business savings for the Phoenix facility to be more than $200,000.
"We value our partnership with AZ MEP," concluded Pitman. "We are very fortunate to live in a state where the MEP is well organized, driving its mission and meeting its objective. They enable us to grow more easily and are truly a partner that we can rely on."
- Created 120 new jobs while retaining 20 jobs
- Increased sales by $10 million
- Retained $30 million in sales after filling staffing needs
- Saved $80,000 on recruitment service through Emergency Assistance Program