A year characterized by business challenges
Internationally active fabrics manufacturer Création Baumann looks back on a year in business that began with six successful months, to be followed by a second semester characterized by the onset of the worldwide economic crisis. In all markets, primarily contract business was marked by pronounced reserve in the second half of the year. In comparison to the preceding year, billed gross turnover of merchandise shipped ex Switzerland dropped by 2.6%. In comparison to 2008, consolidated turnover decreased by 7.2% to reach CHF 65.7 million -not least of all, due to the adverse developments of the Euro, Dollar, and Yen exchange rates. The company’s export share amounted to 74%. Despite the weakened profit situation, however, investments amounting to CHF 1.45 million continued to be made in 2008.
Course of business -product fields
The product fields Fabrics, Systems, and Adhesive Textiles as well as business with industrial customers developed very differently: The Living Line collection -aligned towards the requirements of the residential market -was highly successful in 2008, with an increase in growth rates of 6.3%. Contrary to this, the Création Baumann collection suffered a drop in sales of 5.3%. All in all, fabric sales dropped by 3.8%. Systems -our range of interior shading products destined for contract business -slumped by almost 15%. Gecko, however, our self-adhesive textile for glass surfaces, launched in 2007, developed favorably. Sales of this innovative, adhesive fabric surpassed the sales volume of the preceding year. Our industrial customers field also developed positively.
In Switzerland, our domestic market, we were able to maintain sales figures in the private customers market, where primarily sales of our Living Line and Gecko products increased to our great satisfaction. This development, however, proved to be insufficient to compensate for the drop in the sales of Systems products and the slumping of contract market business that lead to an overall decrease in turnover of 5%. Our most important export markets developed inconsistently: In Germany, the excellent results of the previous year in the contract market field could only barely be reached in 2008. All export markets suffered from an, in part, very pronounced slump in contract business; whereas private customer market shares could be held. Our U.S. subsidiary, Création Baumann Inc., was able to increase its sales figures slightly. Given the fact that contract business accounts for a significant turnover share in the majority of our export markets, all subsidiaries (Japan, France, Italy, Spain, England, and Sweden) suffered from sales losses with the exception of our Belgium subsidiary that -to our great satisfaction -was able to increase turnover significantly thanks to a very important government order.
All, in all, the company invested approx. CHF 1.45 million in real estate, logistics, IT, and production. Amongst others, Création Baumann acquired and installed a state-of-the-art laser cutting table, an energysaving jet dyeing device, and a new production planning software solution. All investments could be financed with income generated by the company.
For Création Baumann, the current crisis also represents an opportunity. For years now, for instance, the company has been interested in acquiring office space in New York’s D&D Building. Because company management considers the U.S. market to be highly promising in the long term, Création Baumann thus seized the opportunity to lease free space and to open a showroom in New York in June 2009. The opening of a new showroom in Madrid has been planned for the second half of the year 2009. At the beginning of this year, the company also opened new showrooms in Tokyo and Sweden. Philippe Baumann outlined the company’s goals for the business year underway: “Similar to many other companies, we began this year with double digit drops in sales and the introduction of cost-cutting measures. Our overall goal, however, remained clear: Especially before the background of the current economic crisis, we wish to enhance product and market development as well as improving further upon customer services. As a proprietor-run SME, we are at the advantage of being able to adopt a long-term strategy and to continue to invest in our core competencies -even if this does not lead to an improvement of our profit situation in the short term.
Despite the crisis, sustainability remains very important to Création Baumann. The company’s environmental management system according to ISO standard 2008, in place since 2000, was completed by the introduction of a process-oriented quality management system in 2008. In the spring of this year, Création Baumann was audited and recertified according to the ISO standards 9001/14001. The corresponding integrated management system (IMS) contributes to establishing more effective production processes, committing fewer mistakes, ensuring a more economic use of resources, and causing less environmental emissions. To great detail, a new brochure documents the company’s numerous efforts of many years in view of ensuring sustainability.
Création Baumann in figures: Business Report as PDF