Coral Gables cost-tracking company restructures management, product line
By Leslie Kraft
Coral Gables' Equitrac, which manufactures products to help businesses track document and telephone costs, has restructured its management and product line and hopes to double its revenues within five years.
Equitrac, founded in 1977 as a regional distributor of copier-control systems, has assembled a new management team to broaden its customer reach from large law firms and architecture, construction and engineering groups to include general office companies, banks and educational institutions, a company official said.
The company hopes to reach smaller companies through new product development, said Michael R. Rich, president and chief executive officer. New Equitrac products track costs associated with research tools, telephone calling cards and mobile telephones, he said.
The company - which has about 80% market share in the top 200 law firms in the US, according to Mr. Rich - has $60 million to $70 million in annual revenues, Mr. Rich said. It became publicly traded on the Nasdaq in 1992 and went private in 1999 in a leveraged buyout involving Cornerstone Equity Investors.
Equitrac earns from the sale, maintenance and upgrades of its systems. Sales average $20,000 but are as low as $3,000, officials said.
"I was brought in because the top-line revenue was not meeting expectations largely because the company was selling to a mature market," said Mr. Rich, who was chairman of network and call-management firm NetSpeak Corp. before he was hired by Equitrac a year ago. "My goal is to take the company to the next level in growth expansion through product and service development and enhancement."
Executives hired by Mr. Rich in the past few months include Neville O' Reilly, senior vice president of strategy and market planning; Gary Blenis, senior vice president of product operations; James Kwock, senior vice president of marketing and global alliances; and John Johansky, senior vice president of sales.
Founder George Wilson retired last year, Equitrac officials said.
Equitrac, which has 420 employees and manufacturing facilities in the Doral area, plans to expand into South Africa and Australia. The company serves 10,000 customers from 24 offices throughout the US and in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Germany. The group's Miami office and manufacturing facilities have about 100 employees.
Miami law firm Steel Hector & Davis, which has 200 attorneys, uses Equitrac's products to track costs in several offices.
"Our clients prefer to know that they are paying for expenses that relate specifically to their individual needs and usage of resources," said Anthony Lozano, the law firm's chief operating officer and executive director. "Equitrac allows us to electronically track and recover the client-specific costs associated with equipment-related services, using
a method that is far more efficient and accurate than any manual process."
Cost tracking and recovery are significant issues for British law firms, said Charles Christiansen, a writer with United Kingdom publication Legal Technical Insider.
"There is a definite trend toward more accountability to the extent that firms even want to know the person who is making the copies - not just for whom they are being made," Mr. Christiansen said. "Even if firms do not charge the client for each cost they incur, they still want to know where the money is being spent."