Emerson Case Study
- Headquarters: Raleigh, NC
- Acquisition Date: May 2019
- Vertical Market: Risk Management
- Visit Company Website
Emerson is a risk management information systems provider based out of Raleigh, NC. The eRIMS platform from Emerson offers users a robust and dynamic solution to manage risk within their organizations. With modules for incident and claims management, policy management, environmental compliance, driver safety, and more, eRIMS provides a comprehensive look at risk exposures and facilitates risk mitigation, in addition to enabling more strategic decision making.
Rick Wilkins founded Emerson in 1990 and served as the owner of the organization until its sale. Emerson was acquired in May of 2019 and integrated into AssetWorks LLC’s Risk Management business. Upon acquisition, Rick Wilkins retired, and David Sumner served as the COO of the organization through the acquisition. Sumner retired at the end of 2019, six months post-acquisition. Together with AssetWorks, the eRIMS solution continues to grow under the direction of Chris Gutierrez, Integration Manager.
Decision to Sell
Founder and Owner Rick Wilkins was considering retirement and decided that it was time to find an acquirer. One of the benefits of selling to Volaris Group was that Emerson would be part of a large network of companies with experience and expertise to grow the business. Integration manager, Chris Gutierrez explains that, “Volaris would present a way to expand the business where Emerson hasn’t been able to before. Joining Volaris would allow Emerson to take advantage of being part of a larger organization.”
David Sumner, COO of Emerson, and his team were first introduced to Volaris Group in March of 2019. While he was uncertain about meeting with a potential buyer and what that would mean for the future of the organization, Wilkins assured him that he was putting his company in good hands.
The team at Volaris was very friendly, very personable, and very professional. They made a very good impression on us and everyone felt a lot better even after that first meeting.
Emerson’s team of five remained with the company through the acquisition and are still with the organization today.
Because the team was so small, it was important for Gutierrez, Integration Manager, to get to know the people and the team dynamic. He says, “One of things that I like to think about with acquisitions is that you’re not just acquiring a company. You’re also acquiring the people that have established relationships within their company and with their existing customer base for a very long time. It’s important to get to know the people that you will be managing and their customers in order to provide a full integration.” After Gutierrez got to know the Emerson team, he spent time with each employee to determine if their roles were representative of the work they were doing. In doing so, they discovered opportunities to restructure the team to increase efficiency and position the employees for success.
We each got to meet one on one with HR to discuss our main job responsibilities and where we wanted to go in the future with the eRIMS solution. We had a really good chance to show the Volaris team what we had to offer and what our solution did for our customers.
Employees also received benefits and opportunities to grow within Volaris’s network of companies.
In the short time that Sumner stayed with the company post-acquisition, he could immediately see how Emerson was going to benefit in the long-term. He appreciated the temperament and integrity of the Volaris team as well as the investments that were made in future product. Another large benefit to Emerson was having a dedicated marketing team, something that they did not have since 2012.
Pre-acquisition, Emerson lacked a clearly defined market and product offering. The COVID-19 pandemic halted onsite visits and inspections for Emerson, allowing the company had to take time to pivot their strategy for 2020. During this time, Emerson decided to focus on refining their audience and advancing the product forward. They are now working on improving an existing product and developing a road map to take the product to the next level. Chris Gutierrez says, “We’re working with existing customers on change orders, improvements to the application, and infrastructure upgrades. We are laying down the bricks in order for us to be able to deploy improvements to the software down the road.” Working with the experienced AssetWorks team has given the Emerson team access to new ideas and knowledge to help propel their solutions forward. In 2020, the eRIMS product saw an increase on gross maintenance revenue, and was also able to significantly increase gross professional services revenue over 2019.
Overall, the relationship with Emerson’s customers has improved significantly. Since joining AssetWorks, the customers now have access to a customer success team that has standardized the relationship management process. Becoming a part of the AssetWorks Risk Management portfolio has improved the experience for Emerson customers. The teams have worked on a software package that combines appraisal valuation services with the eRIMS solution for a cohesive delivery to customers. Gutierrez says, “Getting to know Emerson and start putting smart business plans and solutions that we can deliver was really big for the company.” A lot of customers are really happy with how the Emerson product is moving forward.”
Joining AssetWorks has opened up new possibilities for the future growth trajectory of the eRIMS solution. In the coming months, the team is working on developing a new product and re-branding their existing solution to the marketplace. AssetWorks plans to continue to grow the Risk Management division through acquiring other companies that are in the same space.