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Not all that glitters is gold – it’s true. Sometimes it’s aluminium pigments, as Silberline is well aware. A family-owned company, it is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of these scintillating pigments that are used in a wide variety of applications, from automotive paints and printing inks to plastics, protective coatings and consumer packaged goods.
For more than seven decades, the company has thrived on a passion for innovation in creating the finest aluminium pigments for the brightest, most appealing effects possible.
Silberline’s niche market combined with its longevity were the exact things that attracted Managing Director Asia–Pacific Michael Lowe almost 15 years ago. “Silberline is a very specialised company in a niche market,” he recalls. “Of course, having been around for more than 75 years, I knew it must have been a trusted expert in the field and doing something right.”
Before Michael joined, Silberline had just acquired a business operation in the Shandong area of China. And that’s what he was hired to oversee. “When I was hired to lead the Asia region, one of the main challenges was to chart its growth path,” he shares. “The company had been doing quite well commercially. But with material being imported from either the US or Europe, it really needed to have a footprint to go forward. It needed its own manufacturing commitment in the region, and that’s really where my key challenge began.”
He knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park, but addressing this challenge was essential for the company to continue steadfastly into the future. “With conviction, knowledge and capital, and by ensuring we were doing the process right, we were able to move forward,” Michael says. “Establishing manufacturing operations has been a highlight of my career with the company. And it was achieved as a company, with how we all worked together during a challenging landscape – the acquisition happened during the 2008–09 global financial crisis.”
“We’re adding a lot more environmentally friendly capabilities, helping to improve Silberline’s carbon footprint, and establishing our company as a leader in sustainable solutions.”
In challenging times and when things are running smoothly, Silberline believes that by putting its customers first, success will follow. “We have a strong commitment to our customers,” Michael asserts. “Putting them first has been central to Silberline’s operations all these years. We really live up to a high level of commitment and service as is showcased in our many rounds of customer surveys. It’s the one area where we excel consistently, especially regarding delivery and our product performance. We are committed to delivering on our customers’ expectations and desires.”
Going forward, that devotion won’t change, but the company’s offerings will only improve. It has begun construction on a new plant in China. “It will become one of our global production centres and comprise state-of-the-art technology,” Michael says. “Even more, we’re adding a lot more environmentally friendly capabilities, helping to improve Silberline’s carbon footprint, and establishing our company as a leader in sustainable solutions.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the company still received the approval to build its new plant with completion set for 2023. It’s just one more step it has taken to be more environmentally conscious. In fact, in Michael’s almost 15 years with Silberline, he credits this mounting pressure to be more planet-friendly as the most poignant change in all of those passing years.
“The main change in the industry comes down to the demand for more eco-friendly products and trust in the solution,” he shares. “Especially in the last five years or so, there has been a lot of demand for environmentally friendly and innovative products.”
“Every year, there are a lot of programs we take part in to help anchor ourselves in the community, doing something to benefit it.”
To meet these consumer demands, Silberline has tightened its manufacturing capabilities and evolved its technical platforms to increase production capacity and sales of sustainable product solutions like waterborne and powder coatings and products that are absent of substances of concern.
In being proactive, identifying and addressing both existing and anticipated regulatory changes, Silberline has been able to stay ahead of the curve. Through its commitment to sustainability, the company has been able to reduce its energy and water usage throughout all of its facilities. Even more, the ethical company has been able to reduce waste generation and volatile organic compound emissions by implementing recycling programs.
That’s not the only way Silberline gives back, though. Its commitment to a better world runs deep, impacting the communities around the globe in which it’s present; namely North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia–Pacific. “We value being a part of the community,” Michael says. “Every year, we find ways to give back. For example, in Singapore, our team helps out at the food bank. And we’ve helped communities build roads. Every year, there are a lot of programs we take part in to help anchor ourselves in the community, doing something to benefit it.”
Helping Silberline make an impact around the world is not only its team of talented, giving and hardworking employees, but also its strategic partners. “My team is the reason why, even though the whole world and the region has been affected by the pandemic situation, we have been doing well. I have a very good team that I’m very proud of,” Michael reveals.
“And the strategic partners we have are always there when we need them. In these relationships, we have a shared value, a common interest and an understanding that allows us to work closely together towards our business objectives. And I must say that I really enjoy this kind of closeness and trust that we have developed with our suppliers.”
Safety is Silberline’s number one priority and that means the safety of its employees and the safety of its customers. “We spend all the available assets and resources that we can on the safety of our business,” Michael shares. “Safety is something we will never compromise on; it’s key to everything. And it’s also the reason why even during this great conflict caused by COVID-19, our employees have been kept healthy and our plans have been carried out very well during this pandemic period.”