Supplier Spotlight: A-Lert Building Systems Inc.

A-Lert Building Systems Inc., a supplier of pre-engineered building systems for self-storage and other industries, has 30 years of experience in the manufacture and installation of a wide range of structures. Products include single- and multistory buildings, standard and climate-controlled. Services include facility design and site planning, engineer-stamped drawings, and quick materials delivery and on-site construction. A-Lerts range of offerings and track record is undeniably impressive, but success has really stemmed from the companys values, says Neil Berry, division president.

In 1995, A-Lert became a division of Centurion Industries Inc., a nationwide supplier of diversified metal fabrication and industrial construction. As part of Centurion, we have deepened our technical and architectural bench strength by incorporating in-house engineering resources, increased safety measures and employee development, says Berry.

As business grew, A-Lert needed more space to fulfill its commitment to customers. In October, it moved into new headquarters in New Braunfels, Texas. The 48,000-square-foot facility on 10 acres accommodates staff, manufacturing systems, materials and a product showroom. Operations were expanded, and a larger inventory allows the company to offset future increases in the price of materials. Automated equipment was installed for greater manufacturing control and to meet the requirements of unique projects and designs. The company also broadened its product line with new wall, siding and soffit panels and additional color choices.

We offer low-cost, ready-made products available in a short period of time, Berry says. Well also design specific building packages. A building order includes related services that take the project from conception to final construction. A project manager is always made available to supervise the erection process on site.

Core Values for Success

A-Lerts core values drive the company toward its ultimate objective: to excel as an innovative provider with exemplary customer service. Like any successful business, you have to give your customer a great value and great service, Berry says. We work extremely hard to continue meeting both of those goals. Integrity is the corporations foundation, he adds.

We want to be known for doing the right thing the first time, not just the expedient thing. Relationships involve cultivating strong and lasting partnerships with employees, customers, suppliers and other players, he explains. No successful venture is built without good, old-fashioned hard work by committed employees.

Company staff works with the facility owner from project vision to facility opening. Each site goes through an extensive evaluation, starting with an assessment of the building. Before manufacturing, its design is value-engineered, a process that examines every component to determine if its the best choice or if a substitute will provide equal or better performance at lower cost. This keeps development fees to a minimum.

Team Strength

A-Lerts management team consists of Berry; John Bagley, director of operations; and Charlie Cohoon, director of marketing. Its owners are Brad Parish, Randy Shinkle, Kenneth Tharp and Loren Troyer.

The companys greatest strength is its employees, Berry says. A-Lerts growth from a small operation that supplied simple storage units to one that builds multistory, climate-controlled facilities comes from hiring only top candidates. Without question, the future of company is in the hands of our people. Our employees exhibit a strong work ethic and understand the opportunities that come with it.

A-Lert is always concerned with its staff s well-being. Our growth has included a much greater emphasis on safety, Berry says. That safety is ensured through a department that implements OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines and audits compliance.

Training is one of the companys critical core competencies. We believe in Grow a leader, grow a company, says Berry. Key managers attend Centurion University (CU), a corporate in-house education program that provides instruction in several areas including project management, customer service, liability issues, human resources and contract law. At its heart, CU is focused on developing strong leaders. We want all our supervisors, new or veteran, to learn to lead people and manage projects.

Customer Care

Whether helping customers design a maiden project or expand an existing site, A-Lerts team can meet their requirements, Berry says. Each job is supervised by a project manager who coordinates with the customer to ensure the finished product meets expectations.

The storage industry will continue to grow, but the market is becoming saturated as competition increases, leaving only the best suppliers to survive, says Berry. To compete, A-Lert has increased the number of available crews and in-house products and expanded into new markets. But our key marketing tool is our sales representatives and the relationships they build with our customers.

A-Lert is determined to become the foremost provider of self-storage buildings in the United States. We want to be the leader in ensuring the industry gets a quality product, Berry says. We believe our uncompromising commitment to meet customer expectations, every time, all the time, is what set us apart from the competition. For more information, call 800.210.5375; visit

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