Editor’s Note: This is the second-part of a conversation between Executive Mosaic and leaders at AMERICAN SYSTEMS involved in the company’s late 2012 purchase of SAIC‘s testing and evaluation business.
How did you build the SAIC employees into AMERICAN SYSTEMS' current business and operational processes? What did the SAIC/T&E operations bring that was new to AMERICAN SYSTEMS, and how have you incorporated those elements into AMERICAN SYSTEMS?
Jason Frye, VP/GM, Human Capital & Managed Services
Because we dropped the T&E Group whole cloth directly into the HC&MS organization, our primary focus during the first several months was integration with the back office and our reporting processes. Service delivery to customers never skipped a beat. The management team that came over was very experienced and easily picked up and ran with the changes necessary to work within our processes.
I also must give them credit for the leadership they showed in working hard to recognize the differences, adapting quickly, and driving change within their organization. From the AMERICAN SYSTEMS perspective, it is always nice to have a large experienced group come in and work with our systems and processes. It gives us an opportunity to hear first-hand how our approach holds up and how we might improve.
In addition to some customer-specific processes that we intend to use across the HC&MS business unit, I am working with the T&E management team to share their feedback throughout the Company, continuing our long-standing commitment to continuous improvement. Both AMERICAN SYSTEMS and the seller have been known for their strong customer relationships, keeping contracts through numerous competitive recompetes.
We intend for that to continue.
How did you handle the transition of customer relationships? Does the T&E team bring new relationships and deepen current relationships?
Absolutely, in fact that is one of the major attractions we saw early in the process. Prior to the close, Jason and I travelled to visit with many of the key customers. We asked them about performance on the contract, and wanted to get a sense of what they thought about the sale of the business to AMERICAN SYSTEMS.
All of these customers had similar responses that were very positive toward the workforce and to the transaction. In fact, their prevailing response can be summed up best with the phrase“¦“Don't mess this up!“
We assured them that our intent was to provide an environment in which the group could continue to perform and deliver with excellence, expand their reach through elimination of potential OCI, and reach back into additional AMERICAN SYSTEMS capability. We were fortunate to increase our presence in some customer areas where AMERICAN SYSTEMS was well known.
In these areas, we were able to increase the range of services that we were delivering. This did deepen our relationship through an increased ability to support the mission.
The acquisition also brought several new important customers to us, and we are working to introduce them to, and deliver to them, the full breadth of our capabilities. The superb reputation and experience of the T&E Group has positioned us very well for these conversations.
How will AMERICAN SYSTEMS continue to work to integrate the T&E business into its business?
Integration continues and I think it could take a year or so to fully integrate the team into our business. As we are getting to know one another better, the nuances and richness of the capabilities and customer relationships will continue to emerge. With emergence comes a deeper understanding of how the whole will become greater than the sum of the parts.
This will be when we accomplish true integration. My experience is that the cultural integration can usually take the longest time; but from what I have seen, this is going very well. Because many of the transitioning employees had been part of an ESOP program previously, and had an enjoyable experience with it, they were very attracted to the fact that we are an ESOP company, and I think this helped.
Also, AMERICAN SYSTEMS is a company that is looking to grow in the T&E business. As such, this group is a strategic element of the Company. This is, in itself, empowering. In summary, AMERICAN SYSTEMS is very pleased to have these new employees join us.
The breadth of capabilities now enjoyed by the combined capability operating under a common strategic vision and an integrated leadership team will allow us to be the industry-leading T&E provider for years to come.