Silverpoint Press broadens its appeal with a touch of print showmanship

PrintWeek India, April 7 - Ramu Ramanathan documents the trajectory of a printing company that has carefully created its brand, bit by bit over the past few decades

07 Apr 2010 | By Ramu Ramanathan

It was a grand evening. A jazz band, hundreds of print buyers who wined and dined, a gallery for excellence in print awards. A room which showcased the award winning print jobs along with the details of the work.

Recently Silverpoint Press bagged top international print awards comprising of Asian, Sappi, Fedrigoni and Sinarmas print awards. Silverpoint Press also was awarded Printweek India's Business Magazine Printer of the Year Award and 23 awards at the NAEP. Shabbir Muchhala who was host for the evening is pleased. "These awards will help to raise our profile in the new India where we are seeking new opportunities."

During the cool evening at Jade Garden, a Silverpoint audio-visual was screened. It was an impressive compilation of print buyers. The company's confidence aids it in targeting customers that are further afield. Thanks to the success of its marketing, company turnover has doubled during the past five years and growth is up so far this year. It's no wonder that Silverpoint's next-gen director Shabbir Muchhala says the business has "done solidly" in the slowdown.

Variety of services

A decade ago, I had chatted with Muchhala, who has a background in marketing. "I was appalled at the level of service when I first got here," he says. "There was this perception that print is a declining business, both with its presentation and quality. It had to be turned around."

Today, a few years later, according to Saifee Makasarwala, the COO of Silverpoint, things are "extremely efficient". "We talk continuously to suppliers and we have a very committed team and quick turnaround for enquiries," he adds.

In 2006, Silverpoint launched it web offset unit in Nerul, which had a Harris M 1000 press and a five-unit Albert heatset press. In 2002, Silverpoint was one of the first presses to adopt CTP. At that time, only 12 CTP systems had been installed in India. Silverpoint collaborated with a CTP provider to bolster its requirements. Just as it has collaborated with all leading specialty paper providers in recent times.

These high-impact collaborations have been a key to their success, Muchhala believes. "There is such a gulf between print and doing R&D on print jobs. These partnerships enable us to capitalise on our recent growth, and look at newer development beyond day-to-day running of the press."

Muchhala feels, these strategies maintain "competitive scale". He adds, "We can create print jobs for customers. This protects our company from stagnation. Also, it exposes us to clients who we wouldn't come into contact with." Silverpoint is keen to explore properly funded, high impact collaborations complemented by investments in a raft of machines.

Expansion project

In May 2008, Silverpoint embarked upon an expansion plan with a 50,000 sqft facility at Mahape in Navi Mumbai. The unit brought its pre-press, press and post-press facilities "under one roof". The temperature controlled and dust-free shopfloor added a Ryobi 920 four-colour press and a Heidelberg CD LX (extended delivery) five-colour press.

The unit is connected with a dedicated lease line to the head office. Pre-flighting is done at the Lower Parel head office and print files are sent to the Mahape unit. The plant has a video-conferencing facility. Silverpoint has created fully furnished accommodation facilities. "Most of our clients prefer to walk in with their files, check the proofs, supervise the print and exit with their initial copies," says Muchhala.

At times, the company produces a rare job, as in the case of a book printed on Sonia Gandhi for Reliance Industries.  "Only three copies with more than thousand pages of value-added finishing on specialty paper."

Production panache

Silverpoint's printing expertise can be attributed to its familiarity with quality-driven corporate collaterals, which account for over 40% of its sales. 30% of its sales come from publications and magazines and the rest from commercial printing.

Today, Silverpoint has attained mastery over the process. The menu cards for the Taj Group use a variety of finishing techniques. Metallic foils, holograms and Swarovski Crystals have been applied for visual purposes, while embossing and die-cutting has been used for 3D or pop-up designs.

"Business has jumped." In an increasingly crowded and competitive market, Silverpoint believes that finishing a job off with a bit of a flourish can make all the difference.


Founded in 1975
Specialty Coffee table books, magazines, brochures.
Location Lower Parel in Mumbai; Mahape and Nerul in Navi Mumbai
Equipment Agfa thermal CTP; two Heidelberg 102 five-colour with coater, a Heidelberg four-colour, a Ryobi 924 four-colour and a Heidelberg SORSZ two-colour sheetfed presses; Harris M1000 four-colour and KBA Albert four-colour web presses; a raft of Muller Martini, Kolbus, Perfecta and Welbound post-press machinery
Staff 250+