What is one of the best-kept secrets in NW Ohio? In the scope of Value Added Reseller (VAR) companies in the USA, we have the 13th largest VAR right here in Arrowhead Park. Aktion Associates is an ERP software and IT infrastructure provider focused on delivering solutions to the Construction, Distribution and Manufacturing industries. Aktion concentrates on in-demand, next-generation technology, and ERP software solutions. (For non-techies, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) refers to software that manages day-to-day business activities, including accounting, procurement, project management, and supply chain operations.) Aktion partners with technology/solution leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Infor, Acumatica, and Sage.
Aktion was founded in 1979 by Alan K Tope. His initials, AKT, begin the company name. After 41 years, it is still delivering on the original goal: helping customers with technology solutions to make them profitable and successful. Initially, the company was an IBM Business partner and offered hardware, servers, and Concord software.
Current Owner/CEO, Scott Irwin, a University of Toledo graduate, began as a call center intern hired by founder Alan Tope. Mr. Irwin gradually moved into being a sales rep, then division sales manager, president, and now sole owner and CEO. Mr. Irwin is a recognized leader in the VAR business community and often speaks at technology/industry association events. When Mr. Irwin became CEO, he appointed Paul Bachran president of Aktion Associates.
Today, Aktion has nearly 200 employees and four brick and mortar offices: Maumee, North Carolina, New York, and Arizona. About half of the employees report to one of the four offices, and the rest work remotely. Libby Beemer, head of Corporate Communications and Brand, said, “We were fortunate to have the infrastructure for remote working in place when COVID-19 hit. It allowed for a smooth transition to serve our 5000 customers in North America during the pandemic.”
Ms. Beemer has been at Aktion for 21 years, and that is not unusual. The company’s recruitment strategy is to proactively identify candidates with the skills we need and our customers’ demand. “We want people who strive for a career, not just a job,” related Ms. Beemer.
What sets Aktion apart from other technology solution providers?
“If you ask any Aktion employee, “what does Aktion do?” the answer will be – ‘we produce successful go-lives.’ That’s the Aktion difference,” said Ms. Beemer.
“Early on in our history, we set our focus on three industries: construction, distribution, and manufacturing. We’re industry experts in technology for those fields specifically. Our customers look at us as technology advisors for software, servers, and infrastructure to support the entire company,” said Ms. Beemer.
Aktion employees are so knowledgeable about the software they sell that it is not uncommon for them to provide support on behalf of the software authors. Aktion is very customer-focused when sharing their software knowledge. Suppose an ERP software client, for example, chooses to remain on their legacy software, which is still meeting their needs. In that case, Aktion will continue to provide support on the version still being used to run the business. Choice is a philosophy at Aktion, and customers appreciate it; choice of software, choice of licensing, choice of deployment.
Mr. Irwin’s business model for growth includes two paths — organic growth and acquisition. “Over the years, we purchased a dozen companies across the USA. We selected companies with skill sets that very specifically align with our three industries and have the best talent,” shared Ms. Beemer. “As a result, in the past ten years, we’ve seen significant growth. Even with adjustments for this crazy year, we have still delivered on meeting customer expectations, and we’re hiring.”
One of the fastest-growing business segments is Aktion’s Cloud and Managed Services. At their Maumee and NC data centers, Aktion hosts customer software and data and is responsible for this business-critical application’s uptime. Customer resources and data are available 24/7 over the internet (the cloud). Customers realize the benefit of Aktion’s industry and application expertise and the benefits of its staff managing and supporting their ERP software and IT infrastructure.
Regarding community involvement, the company is supportive of employees’ charitable interests. “We like to tell our employees to let Aktion know when they support a charity so we can support it as well. We have been involved with No Kid Hungry, Red Cross blood drives and have sponsored many local events and golf outings. We also like to support local schools and boosters.”
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Ms. Beemer concluded with, “The Arrowhead Park location is perfect for Aktion’s headquarters.
Our employees like it here. In 2008, we only moved 1/4 mile from our original site, the Huntington Bank building at Reynolds and Dussel, to our Woodlands Drive location. We’re close to transportation, and it is easy to go travel to see customers.”
Aktion’s objectives remain the same as they look to the future. Focus on the industries we know, partner with leading technology providers, and hire the best talent. For our customers, continue to deliver the best ERP software available, as well as the support, expertise, and infrastructure necessary.