The 2008 crisis, better known as the “Great Recession”, was a major blow

“It was not normal to have to tell a customer that he would have to wait up to 10 and 12 months to get his machine”. Although it was an open secret that the economic euphoria would explode at any moment, when it happened, it wreaked havoc and affected everyone, even taking with it a huge number of companies, both small and large. CMB was no exception and was hit hard by that crisis. The famous “gradual slowdown” predicted by the politicians of the day, turned overnight into a “free fall” that caught many without a net. The scenario before them was bleak: there was no construction, so no furniture was being made and sold, and consequently no machines were needed to pack what had not been made.

The order book thinned considerably and, overnight, the company went from having a huge waiting list to having practically no orders at all. “It was hard, it was very hard and we were forced to restructure very hard”. In that context, a significant number of CMB team members had to leave their jobs because “it was either that or the company closed down”.

Glimmers of hope amid so much turmoil

The companies that manufactured furniture were falling in a domino effect and, consequently, so were the companies that supplied them with materials to protect the furniture during transport or the sales process. Some of these companies went into bankruptcy proceedings and tried to liquidate the machinery they had in order to make some money. “Then a market for second-hand CMB machines emerged. Our machines were the best sellers because they had a good reputation. People knew that our machines were reliable, tough and aesthetically pleasing. Whoever got hold of a CMB machine in a tender sold it very easily. Because of this, they were highly sought after machines. In the midst of all this disastrous situation, to see that CMB machines still maintained their reputation and had a long list of suitors, gave a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel: the effort of so many years, quality and a job well done, are always rewarded.

“Surfing the COVID-19 crisis was somewhat easier for us”

The crisis that erupted in 2008 lasted a few years. At least the ten that some qualified voices predicted. They were not wrong. Unlike the post-Olympic crisis of Barcelona 92, which lasted about three years and was specific to some sectors, this one dragged on until it became a real journey through the desert. Little by little, CMB got back on its feet, with a smaller team than it had before the crisis and with the reputation of its good work and its excellent quality machines, it managed to hold on thanks to its export mentality, which it has enjoyed since its origins. “Even in bad times, we have never given up the quest for excellence in terms of quality”.

Just when everything seemed to be getting back to normal, another setback. The whole world came to a grinding halt to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, CMB too. “For CMB, the COVID crisis was not as hard as the previous one because we were caught with an already reduced team, an adequate and contained dimension well learned from the previous crisis and in a very demanding situation of optimisation of resources”.

CMB brand present on all continents

And, once again, the famous saying “No evil lasts a hundred years” came true. And, if you don’t throw in the towel, you can endure and endure, you can get out of anything, and from the COVID pandemic, although at times it might have seemed impossible, we also got out of it.  CMB survived the brutal crisis of 2008 and the COVID-19 crisis because it has clients on every continent on the planet. 

Recently, it is doing important business in the North American market and has important customers and distributors in Canada and the United States. Machines manufactured by CMB can be found as far afield as Australia, Russia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Thailand, Eastern Europe, Central Europe and also South America. “CMB sells anywhere in the world where they want to buy from us”.

Constant work, the desire to always be better than the day before and an exquisite customer service are their best letter of introduction. If the packaging machines are of quality, there is no frontier that counts. At present, our efforts are aimed at consolidating our position in the North American market. 

Qué productos industriales se embalan con calor

Two global crises and a few bumps later, CMB has been and is a source of continuous learning

“CMB has taught me much more than anything I could have studied before”. Every day you learn new things and 36 years later, when you look back, you realise how far away is that person who fought tirelessly to achieve his dream of manufacturing good packaging machines to export all over the world. Experiences and learning change us, teach us and make us better.

The importance of relying on a prepared team, trust and one-to-one contact are essential

“The world is the people. CMB would not have got to where it is without the team that works day after day to move the company forward. “I sometimes tell the people I have here that we can be very happy, with everything we have been through, to be able to continue here and have orders from demanding customers on the other side of the world, because they continue to trust us and our machines”.

Thanking the team for their dedication and effort is vital and Juan Barberán does just that. “I have realized that in our work, people and the trust you can have with your people is essential. But I must also say that there are many disappointments. It’s not always easy”. 

There is no time to relax because building a good team is a very, very difficult and time-consuming task.

When the order book is weak, sometimes the wrong decisions can be made

With the perspective that time gives and with the lessons learned, one looks back and thinks that perhaps one should have handled certain situations differently. Learning from the mistakes made to consolidate future steps is undoubtedly a great lesson, the best you could have been given and, clearly, CMB learns from it day after day to move firmly into the future.