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A Gem in the Rough: Behind the Success of Classic Stripes

(August 2011) posted on Tue Sep 13, 2011

Find out what it takes to become—and remain—among the biggest and best in a crowded and competitive country.

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By Mike Young

Mike Young

I cannot begin to think what the delegation of special visitors must have thought when they arrived at the company’s compound earlier, especially as the first spectacle encountered immediately was a fully restored locomotive (Figure 1), perhaps the only one owned by a private citizen—in this case, the company’s CEO, Kishore Musale. Now long retired and resting on its own tracks, Loco 4369 flaunts its majestic glory alongside an equal—Classic Stripes’ large imposing factory. If this awe-inspiring sight that really blew me away was parked right outside, what must it be like inside the building?

The entire plant is effectively one huge clean room, save for the lobby/reception area, offices, cafeteria, and shipping department. The company proudly touts itself as the world’s largest screen printer of its type, and I have no qualms to the contrary from what I saw. Due to its enormous production capability to provide more than 15 million sets of automotive and graphic decals of all types annually, typically averaging five colors, it probably is the world’s biggest—period! It is certainly one of the most pleasant and organized screen-printing factories I have ever visited. The facility is laid out for an optimized workflow in 130,000 sq ft of actual production space (Figure 2); although management claims they are running out of room quickly.

The plant boasts some of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art collection of high-end printing machinery at varying automation levels, covering several sizes of flatbeds, cylinders, and roll-to-rolls to handle various substrates with either solvent or UV-based coatings. From my perspective, a similar thoughtfulness had apparently applied to their equally imposing fleet of pre-press processing equipment, as well as those to fully support their enormous post-printing operation, and a wide range of finishing and fulfillment services—including a number of necessary quality-assurance requirements. In the case of their polyurethane doming operation, the company has one of the few worldwide hands-free, in-line, conveyorized doming lines, complete with robotic arms and multi-nozzle dispensing systems, to produce more than 200,000 domed labels in a single eight-hour shift.


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