Oracle Elevator Company: Un-generic Growth
- Written by: Oracle Elevator Company: Un-generic Growth
- Produced by: Oracle Elevator Company: Un-generic Growth
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Bill Miller, president and CEO of Oracle Elevator Company (Oracle), founded his rapidly growing business back in 2004. Since that time, the company has increased six-fold in size and scope. Once a small upstart, Oracle can now be found in 19 locations within 11 states across the South, Southeast and Midwest – and has its sights set further west.
The business has been at once successful thanks to being wiser and more experienced than would be expected of its seven years as an entity. This is due to the fact that Oracle Elevator Company is made up of a number of formerly independent elevator companies. “We’ve grown by purchasing small independent merit shop companies and pulling them together to form a national company,” explains Miller.
Miller brings in his own considerable amount of experience prior to this venture. He worked with Otis Elevator for 20 years, seven of which he served as its president of the North American Operations. This thorough knowledge of all aspects of the industry is invaluable for a company that maintains over 8,000 elevators, as well as participates in the modernization of elevators, from simple cosmetic changes of cabs and fixtures to controller changes to more extensive replacements of components.
A Specialized Approach to Non-proprietary Parts
For Oracle’s new construction and major retrofits, “We install generic equipment that can by maintained by anyone,” says Miller. This is unusual, because most companies are large manufacturers who “install only proprietary equipment,” explains Miller. By using proprietary equipment, the manufacturer constricts its customers to an OEM contract and is able to charge “very high maintenance fees.” It’s the opposite with Oracle, however; Oracle’s customers aren’t roped into service contracts, and Oracle charges its customers fees that are on average 40-percent lower than the big manufacturers. As Miller says, “We don’t hold the customer hostage.”
The generic equipment is more efficient and lower in cost than brand name equipment. Yet, Miller confirms that it’s just as good, if not better, and says, “We use only very high quality components.” It can also be repaired and serviced by any company, should a client desire.
Although customers aren’t roped into using Oracle for their elevator servicing, most choose to go with Oracle anyway because of the comprehensive, personalized service. The company currently has contracts throughout 19 major cities nationwide, which keeps Oracle’s 250-plus employees busy.
Oracle’s employees come from the merit companies consumed by Oracle, and also from outside hires. These experienced technicians know how to handle all major brands – Otis, Thyssen, Schindler, Kone, EMAC, Elevator Controls, MCE, and Virginia Controls – which makes Oracle Elevator Company able to service a huge variety of customers with low costs and diverse capabilities.
The customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a relationship with Oracle; its employees are also taken care of, and they are given a wide variety of benefits including health insurance, dental/vision plans, 401k options and generous vacation offerings.
One of the more interesting projects of late for Oracle is a new construction project in Dallas, Texas, for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. It’s a three- to four-year project with 14 new elevator installations, including modern glass-backed elevators. Along with this undertaking, Oracle regularly maintains the elevators in the DART system.
Another new construction project for Oracle includes a six-elevator installation for the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., using machine-room-less traction elevators.
Oracle is just as active in modernization work, which has been done for the Charleston Memorial Hospital in Charleston, W.Va.; the Hilton Head Resort in Hilton Head, S.C.; and the Floridan Hotel in Tampa, Fla. These projects have included both traction and hydraulic elevator upgrades.
For all its projects, Oracle does 100 percent of the construction, installation and servicing. Oracle also makes sure that it is up-to-date on all engineering and building codes, and is in compliance with all safety standards. This is important, as ADA compliance often changes and local jurisdictions vary.
Keeping up with all these differing industry regulations is helped by a knowledgeable team with extensive experience in the elevator industry, and Oracle’s management team comes with a wealth of experience in addition to Miller’s own. For one, Mark Boelhouwer, executive VP, was formerly president of NAES (a group of independent elevator service companies owned by Otis Elevator).
Although Oracle is currently doing work across an extensive area, it continues to look at ways to further expand, in part as a reaction against the recent economic downturn. “We are focused on growth so we won’t have to incur layoffs,” says Miller. “And [we are] looking to expand our geographic footprint.”
Miller attributes the company’s inclination toward growth to its most unique offering – the installation of non-proprietary, value-oriented equipment. “We will continue to grow because more and more customers [now] prefer generic equipment,” says Miller. “We have good growth prospects moving forward.”
This offering is unique and allows customers to avoid high-cost, constrictive contracts with large manufacturers, but it is also undergirded by many things within Oracle: a focus on the service side of business, management’s 150-plus years of combined experience in the industry, and highly proficient elevator technicians. Based on the company’s successful and rapid expansion in the past seven short years, Oracle Elevator Company holds the resources to realize its strategic plans, and business in the West will soon be won.
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