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A brand on the move

Built on a commitment by founder Carmelo Licciardi to develop and distribute affordable quality products, Acmeda has gained a reputation as a one-stop shop for window furnishing fabricators.

Acmeda’s successful range of products is underpinned by extensive research and development (R&D) undertaken at its Melbourne headquarters, and innovative designs based on industry trends and client needs.

“The heart of the company’s ‘brains trust’ – management, design, R&D and basic production – operates from a purpose built office and warehouse in the growing industrial area of Broadmeadows, just north of the CBD,” says Carmelo.

While the majority of Acmeda’s 80-plus workforce is based at the company’s headquarters, a sales team and warehouse facilities are also based in Perth and Brisbane to strategically service the nation.

Still operating with the same ethos of a family owned and operated business, Acmeda is now poised for growth, having taken its staff on a six month journey of management re-structuring.

After more than two decades on the cutting edge of design, development and distribution, Carmelo describes recent management decisions as a, “transformation from a small family owned and operated business to a brand that is ready to secure a global market.”

While Carmelo, a self-confessed numbers man with a love of mechanics and technology, remains in the business he built from the ground up in 1989, a new management team has been created from within.

Ready to take on the challenges and goals the company has set, Adam will lead the team into new markets while retaining a firm hold on its Australian roots. The future has been mapped out in a new brand strategy embedded in the foundations of a family-owned company that focuses on innovation and the adoption of a new culture. At the core of this strategy is a tagline that captures the true essence of Acmeda, brings to life its reason for existing and can be attributed to its success: ‘Precision in Motion’.

“We are experts in leading edge mechanisms, responsible for the motion of the blind,” Adam says. “The key to succeeding is precision. It signifies quality and market leading technology.”

Raised in the industry, Adam’s interest in business, flair for sales and marketing and engineering intuition saw him play a role in growing Acmeda alongside his father and mother Carmel. Working his way through Acmeda’s operations from warehousing to management over the past decade, his next task is to lead the company as it continues to ride the ever-changing economic climate by extending the business beyond contract and domestic markets and into the global arena.

The history

From working in his parents’ fabricating business to establishing a component distribution company with his brothers, founding Acmeda and growing it into a complete solutions provider, Carmelo Licciardi used his finance background to give a business edge to his engineering instincts.

In the 1970s, when the Licciardi family arrived in Australia from Italy, youngest brother Joseph discovered a new product, vertical louvre drapes. A discussion amongst the family led to the first container of disassembled components for this new fashion trend arriving from Italy with no manual and no instructions.

It took patience, and about three weeks of head scratching, but after much trial and error the assembly challenges were overcome and the family business became one of Australia’s first manufacturers of a product whose on-trend status would last more than 20 years. The three brothers went on to establish Lidi, fabricating and distributing high end window furnishings to the market.

After 15 years, Carmelo left to establish a company that focused on research and development and providing hardware solutions; conceived to be at the forefront of design and innovation, Acmeda has been a key player in some of the biggest landmarks of the industry.

Among these was the company’s launch of timber (cedar) venetians in the mid 1990s and one of the first chain control winders, window furnishing solutions at first considered too expensive by the rest of the industry. Carmelo did not give up, intent on pushing Acmeda to become recognised as a brand that demanded the highest quality from manufacturers.

“I had a gut feeling about roller blinds, especially about the chain control winder,” Carmelo says. “So I spent months testing the synchronisation and quality myself at our Taiwanese manufacturing plant and two years on, and much trial and error, we succeeded.”

Carmelo attributes Acmeda’s successful shift from fabricator to developer to its ability to listen. “Our clients appreciate having someone listen and make a product that is high quality and that sells,” he says.

“It has also made my wishes of combining engineering with the practical implementation of ideas come true.”

Innovation and investment

Acmeda is synonymous with innovation and its R&D efforts continue to produce quality products that offer a complete solution to the window furnishing industry. Over the next 12-18 months, a range of new products will be rolled-out that live up to Acmeda’s Precision in Motion promise. The recently launched RB09 system is just one success story of more to come. This next generation chain control system is stronger, smoother, quieter and faster than its predecessors. Boasting a screwless assembly and offering fewer components, the system reduces customer’s stock levels, decreases labour and reduces environmental impact.

“In a class of its own because of functional operations, easy installation and aesthetics (such as its slender design and smaller light gaps), RB09 demonstrates Acmeda’s commitment to listening to client needs, investment in the industry and skills that revolutionise hardware systems,” Adam says.

Acmeda has also transformed the installation of roller blinds by introducing the easy lock system that allows a one-step snap lock blind installation.

“Most of Acmeda’s intelligent designs are patented to ensure Intellectual Property (IP) is protected,” Adam says. “We have a strong philosophy to protect our IP, which gives surety of long term supply for our clients and reduces the risk of similar cheap inferior products entering the market.

“By continuing to reinvest in the company and in the industry through our R&D efforts, we are able to give our customers products that they can use to grow their own market.”

Local company, global ambitions

Already a global operation, with Acmeda Taiwan operating as the company’s manufacturing and assembly plant and a second distribution facility in Europe, Acmeda is actively exploring overseas markets for its products.

“After a decade as an industry leader in Australia and New Zealand, it is a natural progression for us to continue our growth by exploring overseas markets,” Adam says.

“Acmeda has all the structures in place to continue offering high quality products and customer service in Australia and New Zealand while being able to offer tailored hardware systems that are a complete solution for Europe, Asia, Middle East, Russia and the Americas.”

Next year Acmeda will again have a presence at the biggest international tri-annual industry trade show, R+T, where the company will unveil its new branding and product range. A team of Acmeda experts will travel to Stuttgart for the five-day event to showcase its new innovations and demonstrate products, for the sixth consecutive time.

“Our investment in R+T 2012 demonstrates our commitment to promoting Australian designs and systems on the world stage and to understanding the international window furnishings market,” Adam says.

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