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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

Corporate responsibility
In addition to the company’s mission and doctrine of core values, Classic Stripes is committed to public service as its central benevolent role by way of helping the local populace and environmental concerns in carrying out numerous charitable activities. This includes forming a trust that serves to improve the welfare of the underprivileged. Among other involvements, the trust provides educational help to some 25,000 students across 350 schools throughout the region and even to the extent of reaching out with computers, science laboratories, and modern sports grounds. Most importantly, they do not forget physically and mentally challenged students.

The company also takes its corporate responsibilities further with healthcare activities within the community by providing hearing aids, glasses, medications, and regular medical check-ups. Additionally, some 300 women have been given practical training on how to make candles, papads (crispy flatbread appetizers), detergent powder, liquid soap, agarbattis (incense/floral scents), sticks of chalk, and other useful household items. In the quest to pursue their core values to benefit the environment and beyond, Classic Stripes plants trees on a large scale and assists several institutions with various cultural activities over a wider geographical area.

At the end of a rutted road
With a growing list of prestigious customers to support, such as Toyota, Hero Honda, Volkswagen, Bajaj, Suzuki, General Motors, Yamaha, Hyundai Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Volvo, John Deere, Tata Motors, and Caterpillar—to name but a few—it is no wonder Classic Stripes must continue to function at the optimum level in all their endeavors to maintain marketplace supremacy. If there is one lesson undoubtedly learned from my visit to this company, it is: Look hard enough at the end of a rutted road and you might find a gem somewhere in the rough!

The Top 25 Companies to Work For

After conducting several management and technical seminars during the Screen Print India Expo, which was held in Mumbai (formally Bombay) last December, I visited a nearby printing company upon which more than 40 VIPs from around the world descended. It was an organized plant tour to arguably the largest and most impressive OEM graphic/decal screen-printing company in the world—Classic Stripes Pvt. Ltd (Sidebar: Figure 1). The tour took place at their Pelhar facility, in the suburbs of Mumbai―the largest of four world-class manufacturing operations they operate in India.

Screen-printing companies—or those that use the process, either to manufacture or fabricate a finished product—come in all varying shapes, sizes, specialties, marketplaces, and business models. However, how many screen-printing companies can claim to be the world’s biggest of its type and earn the revered distinction of a listing in the Top 25 Best Places to Work in India―and having the honor of being the second most desirable company to work for in 2007. Without a doubt, this is an incredible feat for any company, one that they are extremely proud of, especially when surveyed from more than a million officially registered enterprises throughout the country. Any reservations concerning the worthiness of such an official accolade can be put to rest; as surveys are conducted under the auspice of Great Places to Work Institute (USA), in partnership with Business World magazine.

Such an exceptional achievement is seen as even more remarkable when considering the Top 25 distinction has been bestowed upon Classic Stripes for the past six consecutive years. In reality, this company is something else in the superlative world of screen printing, as your writer discovered during his lengthy visit long after the special international visitors had departed for home.

Suffice to say; at the end of a rutted road directly north and away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai’s sprawling metro area was a real gem to be found. This gemstone was none other than Classic Stripes, an ISO 90001:2000 (Systems), ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental), and OHSAS 18001:1999 (Occupational, Health & Safety) certified OEM screen printer. With a strong presence in a diversified portfolio, they are a premium provider of automotive decals (motorbikes, cars, and SUVs), dashboard instrumentation, fleet graphics, POP/POS signage, large-format four-color process, electroluminescents, and domed labels.

Established in 1987 and employing more than 950 people today with an average age of 28―a third of which are females, they have secured more than 70% share of the domestic market in their automotive-decal specialty. To entrench their position further as a successful global player they now boast a presence in the UK, USA (Milwaukee, WI), and the Middle East to solidify present markets and embrace other industrial markets showing signs of exceptional growth.


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