Carroll Communications—recently awarded a new Department of VA contract in Texas (for the Installation of new Access Control/Physical Security Card Readers)—has been using The FHR Network and their own Financial Health Rating to advance those partnerships across the globe.
In the second instalment of our spotlight with Byron Carroll, President & Founder of Carroll Communications, I go deeper—covering how they collaborate with one of the largest aerospace and defense companies in the world, how they’ve integrated RapidRatings’ data and analytics internally, and all the flavors of recognition they’ve received as a result.
How do you use your rating?
So we do a lot with ours.
We really use it as a first strike to set ourselves up for success with a new customer. Because our customers are primarily helping us supply the US federal government, the supply chains we contribute to are not only mission critical—but there are literal lives on the line. We have to be able to meaningfully and securely work across our supply chains to deliver the essential things that our men and women in uniform need. And deadlines are extremely real; they're not soft. So delivering on time, while protecting our supply chains is something that our partners—and ourselves—take extremely seriously.
And as a supplier, supplying large primes that are supporting the federal government, we want to make sure that we're extremely solid, that we are financially healthy, because there's always going to be hiccups. Fortunately, we are in a good financial position to mitigate those hiccups whenever they happen.
But how do we demonstrate that?
How do we demonstrate to primes and the end-customer that we are strong?
Many companies didn’t make it out of 2020. And those that did, might be in a difficult position still. We need to understand that, both as a supplier to primes and contractor. That way we can help foresee issues and work with our own suppliers—and everyone else contributing to the chain. The FHR Network gives us an unbiased view into the financial strength of our suppliers and how well they're doing overall. And that gives us a lot of confidence in producing the products that we produce, making the deadlines that we need to make and protecting our reputation, as well as our other partners’ reputations.
This current environment is all about being predictable.
And it sounds like you're in a really healthy, upticking spiral—getting new business, making the business that you have stickier, and then getting recognition—all feeding back into a grand loop. Tell me a little bit about some of the recognition and accolades Carroll’s received.
I am very fortunate to lead and be part of the team here. They're the ones who I really have to thank for many of the wonderful things that have happened this past year.
Very recently, we were recognized by General Dynamics Mission Systems as their “Supplier and Services of The Year”. That’s a huge accolade from a top-notch company in the world, and one with extremely high standards. And to be able to get that recognition—I'm very proud our team achieved that and I’m super humbled because there are a lot of great competitors vying for that title.
We were also recognized by Corning Optical, a North Carolina-based manufacturing company that makes fiber optic cabling. They added us to their “Top 10” partners listing in 2020, which gives us a lot of leverage with current and new partnerships.
And on another note: the American Red Cross. They recognized us as an “Outstanding Service Provider & Partner in 2020”. While many companies had to close facilities, we were able to hold a number of blood drives in this community and really tried to promote them.
So, we had a lot of really good things happen and understanding and communicating our financial health has helped make a lot of this recognition, in one way or another, possible—including renewal of our Department of Defense Protégé of General Dynamics Mission Systems status.
To that end, what would you say about your partnership with RapidRatings?
It's really awesome.
Our relationship with RapidRatings started in 2019, when one of our bedrock partners—General Dynamics Mission Systems—asked us to do a RapidRatings assessment. And as a younger division of this company, our financials were young as well.
You know, we were definitely sheepish about doing it. My background is in sales and business development versus financial and accounting arenas. And so naturally, I was wary of an assessment that analyzed our financials in an advanced way.
But after being urged by General Dynamics Mission Systems, well, I'm really glad we did it. It turned out to be a very, very good thing for us as company. I couldn’t be more proud of our financial health rating and what we can do with it across the board—not only with General Dynamics Mission Systems, but also other partnerships, other customers, suppliers, to my employees, and the teammates, here at Carroll. We really get some mileage out of it.
And it has set a benchmark for my company; a marker in the sand to help us improve. You really can't manage anything that you're not measuring. And so RapidRatings gave us the ability to measure our financial health and say, “Hey, we're going to get better from here.” And we have done that.
We went through our third RapidRatings assessment just last month. And each year, we've gotten better.
Internally, too, while it's really easy for outward-facing executives to get a lot of touchdowns and to get a lot of opportunities to show how good they're doing—the folks on the inside, here, work just as hard. The RapidRatings assessment gives them a good (and well-earned) milestone.
Shifting gears a little bit and looking ahead to the next year, what are you most looking forward to?
We definitely hope to exceed our revenue growth in 2021, as we head into federal buying season right now. The federal government spends the majority of their money over the summer. And so a lot of everything we do is getting teed up to be successful—right now.
We've also been working extremely hard to expand internationally. Recently, we went live with two new websites, one in Arabic and one in Spanish.
Meanwhile, we're always looking to grow our team. We're in constant “recruiting mode”—looking for the best-of-the-best to come in and join our team.
And I guess most of all, we’re looking forward to being able to serve our men and women in uniform in a better and stronger way. We're extremely passionate about that—getting those folks (who deserve the best) the best tools, while continuing to be an ethical, professional supplier to our federal government.