The journey of a printing press of Selangor, with region’s many first installations to its credit and reaching to the top under the guidance of its mentor Peter Chan.
Mr.Peter Chan is the Executive Director of Superior Press Sdn Bhd based in Selangor State near Kuala Lumpur. The press had a modest beginning – started in 1976 by Peter Chan’s father. From a simple stationary print shop, Superior Press has today expanded to be one of the largest printer in the town, and specializes in commercial and industrial printing on paper, card and board, such as marketing collaterals, annual reports, newsletters, leaflets, magazines, festive “ang pow” packets, board and corrugated packaging. Superior Press was one of the first printers to have installed a four-colour printing machine in Kuala Lumpur. One of their major milestones was reaping the demand surge for commercial printing for the F&B and Tobacco industry in the early 80s. Capitalising on this opportunity, they kept their growth charts moving and then there was the CtP milestone in the 90s. “In mid 1990s we were one of the initial print shop in the country with an in-house CtP,” says Peter.
That was around the time when Peter joined his father after completing his Accounting and Finance degree from Middlesex University, London. “Joining the family business was simple. My father called me one day and asked if I would join the family business after graduated and there I was – into the printing business,” simply puts Peter.
The first Heidelberg CtP in-house for Superior Press
The success of Superior Press is much attributed to Peter’s London education that helped him a great deal in running the press at optimum levels. Likewise, Drupa 2000 was a turning point for him as it encouraged him to plan investing in higher productivity machines. “I tried and explored all major manufacturers including Heidelberg, Manroland, Mitsubishi, Komori and many more. Considering our requirements during that time, I felt Heidelberg to be the one which perfectly fit into our profile of activity. Prepress seemed to be the way to start with and we decided for a Heidelberg Trendsetter CtP,” says Peter. The million-Ringgit investment was a big decision then, considering the fact that there were only one or two presses at that time having a CtP in-house. Soon they realised the need to upgrade their presses as well. Peter had a hard time convincing his father to invest in a new press since it meant almost 3-4 times the cost of getting a reconditioned press. The first press they acquired was a Heidelberg SM 74 which, according to Peter, changed the whole algorithm of running a press for them. “The productivity of the machine was so good that we even converted a few bigger format jobs to the new SM 74,” he claims. That year they clocked about 45 million impressions on the new machine which was also a revelation for the whole team at Superior. But they didn’t expect the more surprising, which was to follow – they reduced their estimated RoI period. The expected 4-5 years were astonishingly cut down to 1.5 years in which they fully recovered their investment. Peter was so impressed that he readily made up his mind to buy another Heidelberg – this time a bigger format Heidelberg CD 102 which he added just a year after.
Deciding on the Heidelberg 8-colour SM 102-8P perfector machine
Next major opportunity for Superior Press struck with the telecom boom and resulting competition among telecom service providers vying for customers with newer schemes every other day. All these promotions needed printing and Superior was there with the capacity as well as the capability to meet those demands. “One day a telecom company offered SMS at 7 cents and the very next day its competitor offered it at 6 cents and we keep printing the price slash leaflets again and again,” recounts Peter. The demand was so high that Superior wasn’t able to meet them. “We had to think harder and wider to find a solution and then came in the Heidelberg 8-colour SM 102-8P perfector machine – the perfect solution for all the troubles being faced by us,” declares Peter.
“Though the SM 102-8P did cost us a bomb – over eight million Ringgits which was about two and a half times the cost of a 4-colour machine, yet our backward calculations convinced us that this was the machine for us to actually go ahead and we eventually did,” he adds as he praises Mr. Bent, earstwhile MD of Heidelberg Malaysia Sdn Bhd, for his advice to go for this Heidelberg mammoth.
“Early 2000, we were proud to own the first of its kind machine in the whole of South East Asia and even Hong Kong and Singapore which were then considered the majors in printing in the whole region,” prides Peter on their special feat.
The bigger premises at Selangor
Soon they felt the need for bigger premises as it was becoming ever harder for them to handle the increased logistics due to increased capacity. Same year they bought the present Selangor premises – a 180,000 square feet working place. Peter didn’t find it practical to move their existing 8-colour machine as that could mean loss of production and customers. And another 8-colour was added to install at the new premises. “It seemed a crazy decision but eventually the decision paid well to the satisfaction of both our customers as well as my mentor, my father,” he smiles. They kept adding many more machines and equipment to the state-of-the-art facility which today boasts an array of Heidelbergs, Web presses; a Komori System 38S, a Toshiba 546 cutoff for textbooks and a new Heidelberg 5 colour with coater among many other finishing and converting solutions.
One of the key elements of Superior Press’ success is planning. Peter devotedly plans his daily activities as he spends his morning hours planning the various tenders and quotations whereas the afternoons are spent with the sales, relationship and marketing team. Apart from his printing business, he has invested in a few other ventures as well including real estate. “Trends change very quickly and it is important to innovate and expand. It is equally important to work on one’s own ideas with passion and sincerity,” concludes Peter whose passion to follow his ideas devotedly has indeed helped him take Superior Press to the top.