Air Conditioning Engineering Services (ACES)
In little over a decade, ACES Air has become a well recognised air conditioning and engineering services company in Sydney. Founded in 2001 by Phil Harding and Caine Woodford, the small team was soon not enough for the business that was about to take off. “The management put together a small team up in Sydney and soon found themselves becoming more and more successful because the bar and work ethnic that was set in place was very high and extremely customer focused,” says Robert Kovacs ACES Air’s Melbourne Manager.
With such exceptional standards it is no surprise that ACES Air has grown into what it is today. Despite substantial growth within the business, ACES Air remains a relatively small company. As such, Phil can ensure things are done the way they should be; right the first time around. “It’s great, we’re not a big corporate company, so there isn’t a lot of red tape here. We concentrate very much on the client,” says Kovacs. “We actually have an unusual company structure. We have an inverted company structure. Basically, the Managing Director is at the bottom of the chart and the clients are at the top of it.”
ACES Air provides mechanical services for air conditioning, as well as maintenance, breakdown service, and installation. As trends change, ACES Air changes with them. As providers of air conditioning, ACES Air realises it is important for them to keep an eye on their carbon footprint. As society puts a greater emphasis on power usage, clients in turn are looking for companies which are ‘going green’. “We are definitely working towards making ourselves more efficient. We’re trying to be as green as we possibly can,” says Kovacs. They are always sure to advise clients about the best possible choices when it comes to energy consumption. “ACES Air is looking into better systems, and systems that provide better cooling with less cost,” says Kovacs. This represents the best of both worlds for the company as well as clients.
Never without a challenge
Being relatively new to the market, ACES Air still has room for improvement and growth. They have experienced great success in Sydney and it is now time to move on and recreate their success in other places. Melbourne and Canberra are next on their list in recreating this model. “We are trying to break away from the boutique badge and show the clientele that we’re capable of a little bit more,” says Kovacs. “We want to emulate in Melbourne what we have completed in Sydney.” This task will be a challenge for ACES Air but definitely not a challenge that they aren’t up for. With an average turnover of 35+ million, and over 100 staff members, growing the business will happen gradually, but not without exceptional amounts of hard work and dedication. Two qualities which ACES Air has proved to have.\
The foundation of ACES Air – the employees
A business isn’t a business without an efficient, helpful group of employees. At ACES Air they try to reward their employees in any way possible. Their small gestures are just a simple way of showing their appreciation. “We have monthly meetings with our service technicians and we look to reward them. Whether it’s movie tickets or a night out for dinner,” says Kovacs. “We also have a little wall where we put certificates of merit up.” It’s this sort of recognition within the office that makes staff members feel appreciated. Even more important however, is treating their staff members as equals or even friends. It is this sort of equitable relation that keeps good staff around for years. “We generally have a very good and tight team and we are only as good as the people working in the business,” says Kovacs with pride.
In 2001, the ARA Group was formed to merge a number of companies offering a range of services and products. All companies are well established and are operated independently. “The approach was to have ARA as a head company and then have niche companies underneath that umbrella. They could assist one another, whether it is mechanical services, fire, electrical, or security. However, in doing this, each organisation including ACES is still able to run autonomously,” says Kovacs.
A bright future for ACES
Repeat clientele are the first indication of a job well done. ACES Air wants to be the best in the business without a question, and they are certainly on their way to achieving this, using simple strategies of professionalism and quality. “We’re putting competency and professionalism at a very, very high level. We want our installations, our service, and our overall delivery to be higher and better than anybody else in the business,” says Kovacs. As a result of such effort they have seen a huge response from previous clientele, requesting them to do more work for them.
While growth is always important, ACES Air never wants to lose sight of their main priority – their clients. “We have a personal touch,” says Kovacs. “Unlike a lot of our competitors who probably centralise a lot of their business, we’ve gone the exact opposite route and ensured we have personnel in each state operation. Whenever a client makes a phone call, they’re actually talking to somebody in that state and it is someone who is aware, and who knows what is going on in that exact branch, as opposed to talking to somebody in a different state and trying to get information from all over the place. We’ve probably gone against the trend in that sense. We’ve decentralised to make sure we give better access to our clients.” Therefore, ACES Air never wants to grow to a point where they cannot provide their clients with the highest calibre service. “The whole idea of being in business is to grow the business but not to lose sight of why you’re here in the first place.”
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