December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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70 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 Trends in Technology T aking inventory at the end of the year seems natural, which makes this the perfect time to evaluate where the technology of our industry as a whole has taken us and how this may affect the coming year. Here, we examine the latest advancements throughout the decorated apparel industry and see where it is headed. DIGITAL ERA Perhaps the biggest change to the indus- try within recent years has been increased access to the Internet and the ways it has changed how we operate our day-to-day business and interact with customers. On the shop side, machines are inher- ently technological in most cases; how- ever, many now offer technology that is engrained in our daily lives. For instance, many machines include wireless controls, either from a touch-screen pad or apps connected to designated tablets and smart- phones. This allows operators to change settings from a different machine within the shop, managers to track productivity while out on sales calls, or authorized em- ployees to pinpoint problems on running equipment while away at lunch. For in- stance, says Ben Robinson, Stahls' Hotro- nix, equipment now offers preset settings, which allows for most frequently used or common jobs to be saved and stored for easy recall. Another example, offers Jerid Hill, Belquette, Internet connectivity al- lows a machine to monitor its own activi- ty, and if there is an error or malfunction, the machine will send an email to regis- tered personnel and alert them of possible issues. What's more, these interactive logs help shops better manage their daily activ- ity, which allows for more accurate pricing and job capabilities. The ability to connect to the Internet in all facets of our lives is also changing how we produce, approve, and complete orders. As JP Hunt, InkSoft, explains, ad- vancements in user interface has made it easier to include the customer in every step of the design process. Web stores are easily created and updated, allowing shops to re- The state of technology in apparel decorating B Y C A R LY H O L L M A N - L O N G

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