Adding Value for Both Customers and Employees

Security Sales & Integration

The Big Idea with Ron Davis
July, 2014

Adding Value for Both Customers and Employees

Eric YunagIf you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?

This month we feature Eric Yunag, president and CEO of Dakota Security Systems in Sioux Falls, SD.
Focus on core principles and values and deliver a technology solution that meets those needs. There’s a level of understanding, internally, that directly impacts the business operations of your company and brings value to customers beyond just security.

met Eric Yunag four or five years ago when he attended a seminar I was conducting at an ISC show. He had written to me ahead of time about getting together to discuss any thoughts I might have about developing a business strategy. When I met Yunag in person, I was lost for words. He didn’t (and still doesn’t) look like he was 30 years old — and here he was talking about a strategic business plan. It struck me then, and has been reinforced since, that Yunag is a man who truly plans ahead.
When I asked Yunag about his great idea for integrators who want to get ahead in business, his response was a business school-worthy answer to a common problem that many integrators face, that of the adding value to the business proposition: “Unquestionably you should be focusing on a core set of principles and values that are important for your customer base, because there is nothing that provides value more than understanding your customer, delivering a technoloy solution that meets those needs, on a business level. In other words there’s a level of understanding, internally, that directly impacts the buiness operations and brings value beyond just security.”
I recall an article about what Starbucks was doing to gain added value from its security system, particularly video monitoring. They used the security cameras for employee training and positive reinforcement. Two-way voice components were added, and voila, the basic security system became an employee training tool for management. This is a prime example of providing greater benefit to a customer’s basic security installation.
Yunag’s Dakota Security Systems (DSS) is headquatered in Sioux Falls, SD (as the name suggests there is a beautiful set of waterfalls there). DSS spreads out into a number states with branch offices throughout the Midwest. A large percentage of their customers are in banking and financial services along with a healthy customer base in the health care industry.
If you track the company, for which Yunag has working roughly 15 years and has been president and CEO since 2007, you would see annual steady growth, with revenues approaching $25 million annually. And it is profitable — very profitable. The staff of DSS, numbering more than 120, has been provided extensive amounts of information that help system designers offer alternative solutions to business needs other than core securitiy. In other words, the company adds a whole new dimension to the name “integrator” by integrating not just systems and technology, but also business methodology, employee communications, customer support and almost anything else that would add value to a basic security system.
Yunag has become a poster boy for what young executives are doing to manage their companies effectively. He is frequently invited to speak at industry events, has written columns (Yunag is as SSI Editorial Advisory Board member) and is constantly promoting his company and its services to the public. Privately, he mentors and supports staff members beyond what is normally done in the industry. He has even instituted a profit-sharing plan for the managers and executives who meet or exceed predetermined and mutually agreed-upon goals.

Ron DavisRon Davis is Security Sales & Integration‘s “What’s the Big Idea?” columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.