In 1980 Brudden Equipamentos employed 10 people and concentrated on supplying the gardening industry. The company developed and produced spray equipment and lawnmowers for small rural enterprises, concentrating on comfort, safety and practicality. Steadily increasing its range, Brudden invested in machinery to manufacture plastic products independently.
Towards the end of the decade, however, Brudden was having difficulties and needed to branch out in order to stay afloat. In 1988, the existing company president, Takashi Nishimura, found the solution in the form of a study of the gymnasium equipment market. The report revealed that the market was still comparatively untapped in Brazil, and Nishimura sensed enormous potential. This led to the manufacture of the company’s first fitness machines that same year, under the brand Brudden Movement.
With little experience in biomechanics, Brudden sought the guidance and expertise of Professor Geraldo Massucato, director of the faculty of Physical Education at São Paulo University. It was with his help that the company developed a range of equipment and by 1990, Brudden employed 100 people.
PIONEERS IN FITNESS EQUIPMENT
In 1992 the company launched the first electromagnetic recumbent exercise bike in Brazil, and three years later, a line of professional treadmills. A continued partnership with the biomechanics department at the university and the development of this line, produced the first ever shock absorber control treadmill in the country, in 2003.
Meanwhile, Brudden Equipamentos gardening equipment had not been forgotten. The line of agricultural sprays had grown to include high-pressure sprays and models that greatly improved conditions and methods for the user. Similarly, Brudden had started producing a range of grass cutting equipment for a variety of applications. Electric and gas powered rotation blades increased the machines’ performance.
In 1995 (the same year the first treadmills were marketed) Brudden became the licensed representative of the Japanese gardening tool brand, Shindaiwa. The range of equipment complemented that already manufactured by the company, completing a broad spectrum of well designed, tools, such as chainsaws, leaf blowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, specialized coffee harvesting tools, and multifunctional tool kits.
“Our brands really come under the same umbrella,” explains Operations Manager, Márcio Soares. “People who invest in health-preserving tools to care for their gardens and environment, generally value healthy living and quality of life; that is the heart of our business.”
The development of the concept inspired the fourth and final brand, Brudden Náutica, which manufactures canoes and kayaks.
In 2005 Brudden turned its attention to becoming a globally recognized brand, investing heavily in design and processes, and establishing distribution contacts abroad.
In addition to the South American countries, Brudden’s products are currently sold through two agents in Europe, eight in Asia and one in the USA. The distributors work mainly with the Movement brand, although some tools, for example those used for cultivating coffee, are also exported. Agricultural spray equipment is also sold to the North American market. Sales in these countries account for approximately 15 percent of the total annual revenue, which, says Nishimura, will be an estimated $75 million in 2008.
Today, Brudden Movement is responsible for 60 percent of business, and Brudden Equipamentos, 40 percent.
Over the last five years Brudden reports an average 15 percent increase in turnover; success that Soares attributes to a unique and well-trained sales staff, high quality new product lines and the universal increase in awareness of health and fitness issues. “Brudden Movement operates in a segmented market, providing mainly cardiovascular equipment, for which we have a 60 percent market share in Brazil,” says Soares. “The brand works entirely with the level of information people have about fitness, and their capacity to invest in what is considered a luxury.”
WINNING THE COMPETITION
Dominance in the domestic market leaves Brudden Movement worry-free with regards to national competitors. The main challenges are presented by international companies. “The current economic situation in Brazil, with the real strong against the dollar, leaves us facing certain difficulties with low-priced imports,” explains Nishimura.
Brudden’s strategy remains solid across the board; Shindaiwa and Brudden Equipamentos enjoy 20 percent and 30 percent market shares respectively, and the company underscores its success with innovation and excellent after-sales service.
In addition to standard manufacturing processes, such as injection of plastics, a team of 25 engineers develop production machinery and product features, which are planned, designed and built at one of the two company’s two facilities. Unique soldering materials and techniques, as well as lubrication systems for treadmills, are exclusive to Brudden. Brudden Equipamentos’ gardening line is manufactured at the 14,000-square-meter unit in Pompeia in São Paulo state. Also housing the head office, the facility produces the parts for the Movement line, which are then sent to the 4,000 squaremeter subsidiary in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, where the fitness machines are made. The company has a total of 400 employees.
All products are sold in the same way, through the network of distributors, to the agricultural industry, gardening superstores, health clubs, clinics and gyms. “About 60 percent of all gyms in Brazil have our elliptical trainers,” says Nishimura.
INNOVATION FOR THE FUTURE
This year, Brudden Movement launched its ‘Next’ line of digital weight training equipment, which eliminates the need for towers of weights on machines and controls loads centrally, allowing more space, less noise and greater safety in gyms. “We are investing $4 million dollars in designing and developing new product lines,” says Nishimura. One of the latest treadmills has a marathon program, which allows users to select a marathon from around the world and follow its course, complete with real distances and up or downhill gradients.
Also this year, the company has been selected by the “Hall Of Fame” design catalogue, for the 2005 fitness equipment line.
“Investing in our future means investing in our clients,” says Soares. “We are not interested in one contract, or one sale, but in long term relationships with our clients. We are concerned with well-being, on all levels!”
Although this concern does extend to environmentally friendly practices (the unit in Manaus has recently been IS certified), Soares points out that “Brudden is, first and foremost, a 100 percent ethical company; and that covers clients, staff, operations, contracts, environment and all business.”
United by their concern for people and their well-being, the brands continue to succeed in Brazil and abroad. Having grown through identifying opportunities and with the continued innovation within this central concept, Brudden is well equipped for the future.