BE 100s 2012 Company of the Year: Act-1 Group

Service Leadership

Act-1 Group CEO Janice Bryant-Howroyd and son Brett, the company's vice president of global development

Covering an array of industries and serving corporate giants such as Merck, Sempra Energy, and AT&T, Bryant Howroyd has mapped out an expansion strategy based on  understanding the demands of a changing work environment, anticipating client needs–in many cases, beyond its  core business objectives–and then providing customized services that deliver maximum results. Even as this recent economy has wrecked companies, large and small, Bryant Howroyd continues to grow her business, increasing its international presence and posting $1.8 billion in revenues for 2011.

“As a business owner, I’ve seen many companies fail and just as many suffer through the recent economy,” she says. “We’ve actually grown our business over this economy. I believe that’s because we’re delivering efficiencies to organizations in ways that they may not have previously been open to or thought about as relative to their growth plan and we’re doing it in a very cost-effective manner.

“Over 30 years in this industry has taught me a lot about how people look for work,” she continues. “It’s taught me equally if not more about how companies need to achieve work. And so delivering great results for companies through technology and solutions processes has really caused us to gain advantage in what has been a tepid and in many instances hard economy for many of those in our own industry.”

Bryant Howroyd’s competitive edge comes from creating and owning a variety of services, all driven by proprietary technology solutions. That approach has given ACT-1 the flexibility to not only develop solutions to specific client requests but to adjust and manage the costs. Technology has helped it coordinate multiple objectives in line with client goals. “Being able to integrate [our technology offerings] into a large global company becomes a powerful sell,” says Bryant. “It’s a very strategic approach that we’ve always taken.”

Colleagues and associates all credit ACT-1’s success to Bryant Howroyd’s dynamic foresight and her ability to understand the specifics of job execution. Her consistent performance, innovative talents, and vision have moved her company beyond resilience in this tough economy to being a leader in the multibillion-dollar staffing industry.  It is why Bryant Howroyd’s ACT-1 has been named Black Enterprise Industrial/Service Company of the Year.

Service Strategy
The job market has changed significantly in the past 30 years: It’s become a more global economy. Technology has increased the rate at which business tasks are performed and the level at which employees need to be prepared. Contingent workers, which have grown significantly in the past half decade, now represent roughly 26% of the workforce. The cost of executive travel is, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s recent Business Travel Quarterly Outlook, projected to rise 4.6% just this year. All of these factors are forcing corporate managers to find ways to complete tasks while dramatically cutting profit-depleting costs. When Bryant Howroyd launched ACT-1 in 1978, the firm focused on staffing permanent and temporary workers. And although such services continue to be its core business, it has developed into a vertically integrated operation that can provide any service or solution to meet a given company’s human capital needs.

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