CM Shredders has had a presence in the region for four decades.
Company: CM Shredders has been operating in the Sarasota-Bradenton for about 40 years. The manufacturer of industrial shredders and tire recycling systems, acquired by Bengal Machine in late 2018, has been on a growth track recently, seeing about a 20% increase in revenue in 2019. After about a 10% drop-off in 2020, officials say CM Shredders is back on track and expecting 15% to 20% growth in 2021. Executives decline to disclose specific revenue data.
Product: With a facility on Whitfield Avenue in Manatee County, not far from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, CM Shredders makes industrial shredders for tire recycling and industrial waste. The company’s machines can be found in almost 30 countries worldwide. A recycler that makes rubber mulch or rubberized playground surfacing from old tires might use one of CM Shredders’ machines to grind up those tires. The company’s expansion into the industrial waste sector a few years ago, offering machinery for processing paper, plastics and other recyclables, has helped drive recent growth.
Pandemic shift: CM Shredders adopted the standard safety protocols to keep its employees safe but still working during the pandemic. It benefited from the website redo it had completed pre-pandemic that shifted the firm to more of an e-marketing platform. “The timing couldn’t have been better,” says Charlie Astafan, the general manager of CM Shredders. “When the world shut down, we saw the traffic on our website really, really amp up.” The company also used the slower period during spring 2020 to take a look at its operations in a way that’s hard to do when a business is operating on all cylinders.
Best move for efficiency: During the pandemic, CM Shredders invested about $1 million into new equipment to increase capacity. “We were fortunate,” says Astafan, 56. “When we came into the COVID-19 pandemic, we had an extremely high backlog and were really concerned we going to lose orders because we didn’t have the capability on capacity. But the slowdown we saw for about two months allowed us to get caught up.”
Now with the new equipment that came online recently, Astafan estimates the company can double its capacity. “That’s pretty substantial,” he says. “So we’re in a very good spot.” CM Shredders also used the installation of the new equipment to reorganize its factory area to further increase efficiency.
Best move for productivity: One key to boost productivity, Astafan says, beyond new equipment, is employee retention. CM Shredders, which employs about 40 people, offers a competitive wage, strong benefits package and fully air-conditioned facility. The company also offers employees scheduling flexibility when they need to take care of doctor’s appointments or family needs. “We don’t have much of a turnover rate,” Astafan says. “So I’m pretty sure we’re doing the right things.”
'When we came into the COVID-19 pandemic, we had an extremely high backlog and were really concerned we going to lose orders because we didn’t have the capability on capacity. But the slowdown we saw for about two months allowed us to get caught up.' Charlie Astafan, CM Shredders
The company actually added staff during 2020. “We were picking people up throughout the pandemic,” Astafan says. Many people nationwide with excess cash during the pandemic were taking care of home and personal to-dos, such as maybe buying new tires for their car. “That is one thing that drives our business, people buying tires,” Astafan says. “People were home and had money and were doing things they wouldn’t normally do just because life gets in the way.”