Mantovanibenne’s eagle soars high againPublished 2/3 at 16:08
Mantovanibenne’s story is that of courage and resilience. A market leader in demolition attachments for many years, it all but lost everything when an earthquake rocked its home city of Mirandola. But like the proverbial “Phoenix from the Ashes” Mantovanibenne resurrected itself from the rubble to become stronger than ever. Andrei Bushmarin reports.
On 29 May 2012, an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale ripped through the city of Mirandola, Emilia-Romagna, killing 17 and leaving 14,000 people homeless. It also destroyed many factories and industrial buildings in the area. Mantovanibenne’s facilities were among the most heavily affected. The fact that it took the company only about a year to get itself back on track is nothing short of miracle.
A market leader since 1963
Mantovanibenne was established by Alberto Mantovani back in 1963 to produce excavator buckets, hence the company’s name (“benna” means “bucket” in Italian). Having mastered the CNC (computer numerical control) technology at the end of the 1980s, Mantovanibenne diversified into demolition where it quickly became a trendsetter and a market leader. The company was also growing internationally: in 1997 it opened its first overseas sales and service branch in Toulouse, France. Ever since its opening, France and south Europe remained an important market for the Italian manufacturer. At the turn of the millennium, Mantovanibenne commissioned a factory in Bulgaria that specialized in grapples, buckets and quick couplers for 10 to 35t excavators. In 2010 the company launched Zhejiang Mantovani Machinery (ZMM) facility in China to produce crushers and pulverisers for the Asian and North American markets. Munich-based MBI Deutschland was the latest addition to Mantovanibenne’s international assets. Operational since August 2013, MBI Deutschland caters to the needs of German and mid-European customers.
Trial by earthquake
In manufacturing business even a day of downtime costs thousands of euros so when the earthquake destroyed all but the entire plant, some less-than-compassionate competitors rashly wrote Mantovanibenne off. But the company had a different opinion. Solid as a rock, Alberto Mantovani was the first to say: "we must not stop". Using containers as offices and relocating as much manufacturing as they could to Bulgaria and China, Mantovanibenne galvanized into action. Alberto's son Paolo Mantovani, who held the position of sales and marketing director at the time, travelled tirelessly all over the world reassuring the existing customers and winning over new ones. His sister Roberta picked up the administrative side of business, running day-to-day operations. It did take a lot of gumption and stamina to reverse the tide but eventually Mantovanibenne managed to turn a catastrophe into a triumph. Not only the company's turnover grew that year but it also conceived and implemented the idea of now industry-famous scrap shear SH 2000 Eagle II.
In December 2013 Mantovanibenne restored the Mirandola facility to its full capacity. Having helped navigate the company through the worst crisis in its history, Alberto Mantovani decided it was his time to retire. The retirement though turned out to be symbolic because even after passing the baton to Paolo and Roberta he remained involved in the company's activities. By 2014 Mantovanibenne fully recovered from the shock and resumed growth. To make up for the lost time, the company worked frantically putting out at least three new products every year. This hectic work schedule somehow did not affect the quality of new attachments. On the contrary, it helped the manufacturer retain its focus. Some of Mantovanibenne best-known tools were produced in recent years. One good example is the CRH440 crusher featuring a booster system, which was recognized with an innovation award in 2015.
Mantovanibenne is one of the most successful family-owned companies in the demolition attachment business. Now fronted by a charismatic and well liked in the industry Paolo Mantovani, it has already started preparations for a generational change. Paolo’s two sons Lorenzo and Jacopo, aged 25 and 20 respectively, will start learning the ropes of the family business later this year. At the moment they are doing the internship at major international firms.