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© farang-dreamstime.com Electronics Production | April 30, 2013

Axiom's advantage? Well, being Axiom

A Welsh EMS with a three year growth streak – culminating in 51% last year. So who is Axiom and what can we expect them in 2013.
When talking to Axiom's managing director, David Davies, about what separates them from their immediate competitors; I can't help but think about a well-oiled team that gets the job done before you have finished placing your order. And with a 51% growth from last year, I can't be that far off with the well-oiled team bit any way. But what is the recipe for success for a company like Axiom?

“I would say that the recipe for our success is our agility. To be able to deliver the high quality product in a short amount of time,” says Mr. Davies.

But as with most companies, there's rarely one specific reason for success, and more of a mindset and a strategy for how they conduct business.

“We don't look at specific markets – we look at the products. It needs to be high IP, high value, high technology and low to medium volume. And they just so happen to be in the defence and aerospace, high end industrial, oil and gas and medical type market places. So we go after a product requirement instead of focusing on which market it's a part of.”

And the reason behind this strategy is the danger of 'over-branding' a company. If a company gets known for doing work in a specific market, it is often excluded from others.

“Without sounding too arrogant – I would say – the recipe for our success is our agility. We are able to see the opportunities. And it's our extreme customer focus, while other CEMs might say 'we can do that in 12 weeks', we say: 'we can do it in four' or whatever the customer requires. Our customers are under time constraints in their end-markets – so it’s all opportunity – if we can deliver, they can see the opportunities, and we benefit from it. So I would say it’s both our extreme customer focus and our agility.”

We started talking about the movement within the market – and how many companies had ventured outside of the UK – while some chose to stay. For Axiom, it was never really an option to leave.

Mr. Davies mentions that some six or seven years ago – some successful UK CEMs – found a need to have a global footprint, or having presence in a low cost region or a manufacturing facility in the state. And with that many lost their message.

“They may have been very successful within the UK, and then over-expanded, and it stretched the culture, and the management. So unless you can bring the talent and the staff – to make sure that you can deliver what you could in the UK – I think that’s where they've struggled,” Mr. Davies concludes.

If we will see Axiom venturing outside of the UK is not certain, one should never say never. But Mr. Davies concludes that their business model works the best as it is right now.

“Do we need to go offshore? Several of our customers are here in the UK, and if they want us to take it offshore we can. But I think, once you introduce 6'000 miles into a supply chain, the flexibility that we offer our customers can’t remain, being able to flex by a 100% with just a few days’ notice; you're not going to deliver that kind of service if your manufacturing capabilities are 6'000 miles away, you just can't.”

When it comes to 2013 –the expectations on Axiom is rather high, especially after a growth of 51%.

“For 2013 the focus is on growth. We have a very strong relationship with our customers and it's about their needs as well as ours. So whether that’s a service – technology – or time to market, it's about making sure that we can deliver their requirements.”

“We worked extremely hard to achieve last year’s growth, and this year is no different. You have to fight and demonstrate why you should be the one winning this piece of business. And this goes back to what I said earlier – you have to be able to stand and look the client in the eyes and say – 'We will deliver this' and actually do so. And so far we have not let any down.”

Investment-wise we can expect quite a bit from the company – both in technology and capacity investments. But Mr. Davies also establishes that investments aren’t just machines and space.

“Our customers are becoming more diverse and more niche, so skill is key. I mean, I can have the best kit in the world, but that does not differentiate us from the other manufacturers. What differentiates us is our people.”

For this year, the company is looking at a somewhat more humble, or rather normal growth of 10% compared to last year's.

“You can ramp up too quick, and if you don't have the right skills, and more importantly, the right culture to satisfy the organisation – yes it will be great short term but – it will all come tumbling down. You need those foundations in place.”

Infographics © Evertiq
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