Steve and Alistair have worked in the Global Marketing Solutions sector for the last 25 years, designing outsourced solutions for some of the world’s largest spenders in the Marketing Services and Marketing Material space (such as Unilever, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, etc.) for the likes of Williams Lea (now Tag), Adare International, Charterhouse (now Indicia), and more recently ASL. In their day these solutions helped to shape this $bn sector and to this day form the basis of the outsourcing model that is adopted extensively across the globe. Looking back, these solutions (some local, some regional, some global) are actually a fairly basic procurement model, combining People, Process, Technology (buying platforms) and a pre-qualified Supply Chain to deliver a buying function.

For many years, like the wider Procurement world, the Marketing Services sector has used the information that’s generated around every buying transaction to provide simple, one dimensional MANAGEMENT INFORMATION – a report that provides nothing more than an historical record of what’s been bought, when, by who and for which division or Brand or Country, etc.

As innovators, Steve and Alistair have always questioned the outsourcing model and approach, looking to keep the wheels of evolution turning. In 2020 having helped to grow a new outsourcing business from a standing start to a $200m run rate business in under 18 months, they decided to investigate an area that had been a genuine frustration from many years. This DATA that sat around every transaction.

They were convinced that the one-dimensional buying models utilised by almost every singly marketing services organisation across the global market place was leading client organisations to waste a significant amount of the budget they were spending to promote their brands, products and services. They were convinced that if they could get under the skin of every buying activity and the associated behaviours then they would be able to see a different picture. Working with a print management company in Australia, they asked Aaron (then a data scientist for a Financial Institution) to analyse the data from over 30 organisations. In his spare time Aaron created specific algorithms for each category, focussed on identifying price variance at a specification level. The results were staggering – revealing that these major global organisations were indeed wasting between 16% and 53% (with the worst example wasting 71%) of their overall budget. Extensive testing showed that the algorithms had an accuracy of over 99.95%.

Aaron left his role in the City to join Steve and Alistair………and Axiom was born!

From an initial focus on this area of BUDGET WASTAGE, the team quickly realised that the same Machine Learning approach could be applied to the measurement of key ESG criteria. Enabling for the first time ever, ESG to be driven by real data, rather than hugely inaccurate “industry standards”. This is a game changer for an industry that has been struggling to meet clients’ expectations in this increasingly important area. Axiom now gives these organisations the opportunity to adopt a science-based approach to measuring and reporting ESG.

Towards the end of 2020, the focused shifted to the development of the Axiom platform. The detailed, forensic analysis of data attributes evolved into the creation of a PROCUREMENT-INTELLIGENCE engine to not only deliver automated insights across historical spend data, BUT to power all future transactions, using AI to guide the buyer according to specific business rules within the platform.

For the first time ever, this allowed the buyer to see in real-time the market-price of the product that there are about to buy as well as a detailed breakdown of its impact on the environment. Buyers can make changes to the specification or the location of production and see the cost and ESG impact, instantly.

Axiom may have started in the world of Marketing Materials, but our clients have seen the broader potential and have taken us into other categories in both Indirect and Direct Procurement, including Packaging, Electronic Components, Lab Supplies, MRO, Market Research and IT Consumables. As a Tech and AI company, we’re channel agnostic, working directly with Brands, with third-party procurement experts, management consultants, buying & sourcing platforms and outsourcing companies.

Our Vision sees a future where every procurement decision is informed by data and powered by AI – what we call PROCUREMENT-INTELLIGENCE. A future where waste and guess-work are a thing of the past.