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DC Group: Coast-to-coast Solutions for Power Management
DC Group is a power management company that provides critical power maintenance to data centers, telecommunication companies, hospitals and other businesses that require uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to keep respective operations running smoothly. DC Group started out in 1969, serving IBM mainframes. The company has expanded greatly since that time.
“The incoming power had to be converted to 400H to serve the mainframes,” says Jon Frank, CEO of DC Group. “Motor generators would convert the power from 60H to 100H, and this company was taking that through the net conversion. There was a niche for that. Throughout the years the mainframe system went away as computer companies figured out to utilize 60H systems.”
Around the same transitional period, the need for backup power was growing. Brownouts, storms and other interruptions demonstrated businesses needed solutions for UPS. “It became a coordinating piece to have that stability to run those servers,” Frank continues. “We shifted our focus to that service and worked locally throughout the ’80s and in the ’90s we went international with businesses like Sprint, Emerson, HP, Johnson Controls and Northwest Airlines, among others.”
As the new millennium was looming, the power industry started to explode. “Online services were big and growing,” explains Frank. “You were starting to see more data centers and critical equipment.” As the Y2K bug scare (aka the Year 2000 problem) grew, the DC Group team started to work toward expanding infrastructure for the coming technological era.
“We needed a service company that could supplement manufacturers and support equipment,” says Frank. “Since then, we have become the premier service company, serving Microsoft, Oracle and HP. These companies used to work exclusively with manufacturers, but our service was preferable. Now we’re doing everything from hospitals to naval bases to data centers to Bass Pro Shops. We serve small and large clients because now every company has the need for this service. Power stability is a bigger issue now and people are a little more motivated to purchase a UPS and keep it maintained than they were 10 to 15 years ago.”
These systems are designed to provide seamless power transition to a backup source in the case of an outage. The systems typically last 10 to 15 years in a data center or hospital, and generally come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. “We have over 100 technicians across the country with an average two-hour response time,” says Frank. “We need to be able to have our technicians in there fast. We have service contracts in place because these systems do break down from time to time.”
To keep up with consumer demand, DC Group has introduced several new additions to its product and service line. Communication in this business is key, and the company is keeping customers connected. The team has added a smart phone app, integrated into the D-Tech (detection) software that keeps a client updated on the go with battery age and service issues.
“We have developed a really good dialogue as opposed to the archaic paper system you get from a manufacturer,” details Frank. “The software is free with our contracts. Engineers have a laptop and as they put together a service report, all of that data goes to the home office. From there it gets sent to the email of the site contact. When you pull up the software, it shows past history, year-to-year issues, and failures, and what batteries are low and will need to be changed. It’s a predicating database that keeps things organized. Some sites have over 10,000 batteries. We do have a hardware product that issues alarms and automatically contacts us if something goes offline.”
Market Changes and Management
Unlike many businesses, DC Group is growing during the economic recession. “We were named Inc. Magazine’s Top 500, two years in a row,” says Frank. “We’ve seen growth as high as 33-percent annually because we give a better solution to maintenance. Customers can save 25 percent over the original equipment manufacturer and our renewal rate is around 95 percent. People are now more open to an independent service provider than they have been in the past.”
DC Group does not have to worry about competition. “There are a lot of restaurants in town, but there are only a couple of good ones,” Frank phrases. “We are top tier, with better service than most, and people are attracted to that.”
The company’s success is perpetuating growth. DC Group currently employs around 175 people, and Frank and his team are looking to expand geographically. “We’re extending our service into Canada this year,” he says. “We’re based in Minneapolis, but we are already serving customers across the country.”
With deeply ingrained strategic partnerships and a knack for efficient and quality service, DC Group is well positioned for continued, sustainable growth. The company services all known brands of UPS systems and has established solid relationships with many manufacturers to provide the best prices to its clients. Businesses continue to choose DC Group for UPS service, benefiting from the company’s expertise, as well as its helpful, efficient communication.