Management Today - Spring 2016 - 37


PROFILES
such as Franklin Covey's "Four Disciplines of Execution." The
book helped the company create a common language among
its branches to align and move them forward. "Part of our
philosophy is not to be afraid of using someone else's work,"
Evans says. "We don't have to reinvent everything."
Driving Innovation
AmeriPride analyzed its strengths compared to its competitors to determine how it could best differentiate itself in
the industry, and decided to focus on service. Out of that, the
company found itself also becoming a technology leader.
"We didn't think innovation was going to be a place we
would lead the industry, but we have sort of fallen into that
leadership role over time," Evan admits. "Our goal is to provide better service through technology and so we have made
a lot of digital advancements and have ultimately become an
industry leader in innovation."
In 2008, AmeriPride began equipping each customer
service representative - delivery driver - with handheld
computers, resulting in better communication and less
paper. In addition, customer service managers today have
Dell Venue tablets. "We aren't just doing this because it's
cool or because everyone else is doing it," Saukko says. "We
implement technology if we feel it will help us provide better
service to our customers."
The company also recently launched an online portal providing customers access to their invoices, and to check on
orders and communication with their service reps. Eventually it will allow them to manage inventory levels. "Many of
our customers operate outside normal business hours, and
we became one of the first operators in our industry to offer
24/7 access through a convenient digital tool," Evans says.
"And soon they will be able to go online and change their
inventory levels so their next delivery can be adjusted. I don't
think anyone in the industry has that capability yet."

fabrics. "The food and beverage industry is one of our key
vertical markets," Evans notes. "And we want to provide a
top-of-the-line product for those customers."
AmeriPride also provides uniforms for manufacturing,
healthcare and food processing, as well as flame-resistant
and high-visibility apparel for the oil and gas industry. "We
provide oil and gas businesses with uniforms that meet compliance rules for their industry," Evans says. "In addition, we
know how to launder and repair garments so they maintain
their flame-resistant properties throughout the garment's
life. We also know when it's time to replace them."
The company is always adapting to meet its customers needs. "The more you do to hold on to customers, the
better you will be," Evans says. "Keeping customers leads to
company growth. There are a lot of front-end expenses to acquiring a new customer that pay out over time, but you have
to retain the customer. We must provide new and improved
services and provide real value for their money. We continue
to discover new products and services that better serve our
customers, and that makes them want to stay with us." mt

Customer Service
AmeriPride's focus in 2016 will continue to be on its customers. "Several years ago we would lose over 10 percent of our
customer revenue annually and today we are at about a sever
percent rate," Evans says. "That's been a material change and
our retention rate today is better than many in the industry.
Our biggest push is to keep our customers by providing service that is better than others can provide."
The company this year partnered with Chef Works, the
leading manufacturer and distributor of chef wear and
uniforms for the food and beverage industry, to provide an
extensive lineup of chef apparel in the right styles, colors and
SPRING 2016 MANAGEMENTTODAY-MAGAZINE.COM

37


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Management Today - Spring 2016

Contents
Management Today - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Management Today - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Management Today - Spring 2016 - 1
Management Today - Spring 2016 - Contents
Management Today - Spring 2016 - 3
Management Today - Spring 2016 - 4
Management Today - Spring 2016 - 5
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Management Today - Spring 2016 - Cover3
Management Today - Spring 2016 - Cover4
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