> Articles > Axiom
Group Vs. Intier
ahead despite court case with Intier
president, Rocco Di Serio, vice-president and Herbert Jahn,
vice-president of Axiom Group Inc. stand beneath several of
its LightSpheres, a consumer and commercial product
showcasing the company's commitment to developing new
markets and innovation.
By: Tom Venetis, r
Axiom Group Inc. is not a company
to rest on its laurels. Instead, it is forging ahead into new
markets by using the engineering, tooling and molding expertise it
has built up over many years working for the automotive industry.
The Aurora, Ont.-based company
started up in 1987 as H&R Custom Moulds Ltd., providing tooling
and moldmaking expertise to such companies as IBM Corp., Xerox Corp.
and Northern Telecom. The quality of the company's work was soon
noticed, and according to Rocco Di Serio, one of the three owners
and vice-president of Axiom, the company was recommended to Windo-Motion,
a division of Intier Automotive Closures Inc., to help the company
with its window regulators. Window regulators are the mechanical
mechanisms used to raise and lower car windows.
Newmarket, Ont.-based Intier is a
public company with controlling interest residing in Magna
"It was a repair job at first,
and then some prototyping and tooling work for the molds," said
Herbert Jahn, vice-president and another one of the owners of Axiom.
"We were told that since we did such a good job on the
prototypes (that's why) they asked about production. (Windo-Motion)
thought we knew the parts and the work needed [better] than anyone
else . . . (and) Windo-Motion has kept us very busy; it seemed we
had little time for a lot of other things."
Working with a committed buyer
provided lots of benefits, helpeing Axiom win design and preferred
supplier awards, but the firm decided it was time to use its
expertise to diversify into new markets.
Thus, Axiom's LightShapes -- a
provider of decorative indoor and outdoor lighting solutions -- was
One of the firm's flagship
products, LightSpheres, are large 15-inch spheres made up of 32
snap-together hexagons and pentagons to form a decorative lighting
fixture. Molded from UV-resistant clear acrylic, LightSpheres are
made to withstand a variety of different environments. So far, the
product has received a good commercial response, Rizzo said.
Axiom recently patented a
technology for making 300-micron screen filters, which could be used
in filtration cartridges in heating and ventilation systems in
automobiles, for example. Axiom developed a one-step method for
manufacturing these cartridges and screen filters, without
compromising the integrity of the micron screen.
Rizzo said this work proves Axiom
is a dynamic and skilled firm, something he wants to make sure
others understand, particularly in the wake of the court case
between Axiom and Intier.
Last year, Intier, which according
to Axiom, represents about 80 per cent of the sales for its plastic
division and over 60 per cent of the company's revenue, announced it
would not guarantee any more long-term business and demanded price
reductions of 31.8 per cent.
This shocked Di Serio, considering
that Axiom had an excellent business relationship with Intier, he
said. For example, Axiom won Intier's Preferred Supplier of the Year
Award in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Di Serio said Axiom also
successfully worked to meet Intier's demands for cost reductions and
for increased capacity by opening a facility in Italy.
According to documents filed by
Axiom and Intier with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Intier
claimed Axiom was not price competitive. Intier claimed it had asked
for the 31.8 per cent price deduction from the majority of its
suppliers. This figure was based on competitive quotes in the
industry, according to the court documents.
Axiom, in the court documents,
argued that the Chinese and Canadian suppliers Intier quoted as
being able to take over Axiom tools and molds to supply Intier at a
lower cost were not asked to quote under the same terms and
conditions as Axiom.
Di Serio said Intier's demands
would adversely harm the company and the only reason he can give for
Intier's action was to punish Axiom for finding alternative
suppliers of certified resins, suppliers which were not recommended
Because of the ongoing litigation,
Intier, through its legal representative Chaitons LLP, said it would
not be appropriate to comment on the case at this time.