How big is United's workforce since the merger?
It is around 11,000 now, on average. Before that, it was around 7,400.
And there were about 187 branches that were consolidated or closed?
Tell me how the integration played out.
First and foremost, we had to put our sales force in the right frame of mind by going through and identifying territories. Before that, we actually had our senior management staff already nailed down. We did that within two weeks of post-close. Then, we went to territory reviews. We wanted to protect our revenue stream, which comes in the form of sales reps, and we consolidated and blended, over an eight-week period, close to 1,000 territories.
That's all about preserving contacts and relationships, right?
Yeah. And then from there, the idea was to take a look at some of the data on customers that we couldn't see before—because of legal requirements, we weren't allowed to—to identify where we had overlap and crossover and to help us identify the branch locations. We had to look at the facilities. We had to look at the managers. Is that manager capable of running a much larger branch? And if not, maybe it was legacy "red" where it was legacy "blue" and vice versa. It was not unusual to see a branch close but [to see] that manager surviving to be the manager of the new market.
And when you close locations, it may sound like you flick a switch and that's it. It's not. They have people. They have facilities. They have parts. They have equipment. They have units on rent. It's communicating to our customers what's happening. It's moving the equipment that's in the facility to the right facility. You identify at that branch who are the players you want to keep, and you start moving things over. It was just remarkable. Within five weeks of close, we actually converted everybody to one operating system—in one weekend, without a hitch.
So, how long did the whole integration process take?
As we go through each quarter, we continue to update it. We are not done, and we still have more to do. But the heavy lifting was over primarily in the third quarter. Our team had been practicing and playing the scenario for some time. It's like the military, where you practice, practice, practice, and then one day someone says, "This isn't a practice anymore."
You mentioned "red" and "blue" stores, referencing RSC's and United's respective colors. That sounds like the election we just went through.