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Mike Horsten : Technology versus knowledge

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Mike Horsten explains why having access to reliable information matters. 

After working for technology companies for the last 35+ years i decided to do it differently this time. I decided that sharing is better than keeping information to yourself. Specially in our the printing industry and textile markets, knowledge is kept close to the heart. Just in case the competitor is looking, might steal my idea or whatever reasoning you would like to come up with.

Although it’s understandable that you are doing this, it’s not helping you nor your company. There is an old statement “Sharing is caring”. So in the spirit of this I have restarted writing about technology and the changes that have been appearing in the last few years. I will be happy to write about industry questions and drop me a mail if you have a topic. Can’t guarantee your subject is going to be the next one but I will do my best.

So knowledge is important, well it all depends how you look at it, normally I would agree but I think the personal network is more important these days. How you can get reliable information is faster via your personal networks. No, it is not via Google or other internet search sites but just ask people you know. When you look at the internet forums, local and international tradeshows and open houses these are great places where you can get the accurate information you are looking for. All you would be needing now is how to solve your problem. By the way problems are not problems but only challenges, so you can overcome them. Just ask.

Let’s take the textile market, it’s a hot subject and we all want to go into textiles. Why because it’s the hot thing, everybody is going into this new market. Just imagine, softsign, frames, sportswear, fashion!, all really exciting and possible high margins. We are unfortunately new to textiles but we can get the information from vendors, they talk about easy color-matching, simple heat pressing, substrates, fabrics, ridged media and papers are all available via lots of sources. This is true, but what works with what. Well that is a challenge as the complexity in this case is not only the printing side but the finishing side and there are no books.

People just underestimate the complex workflows that come to the textile market. It’s just starts with simple things like the design. There are multiple sizes in a sportwear shirt, do you have the 3D imaging software, do you know how to layout the shirts. Ok there are software packages on the market that can do this, but the cost is not as low as you might think.

What calander do I pick, oil drum based or Infrared version. What size, in width and in diameter of the drum. How are you going to cut the fabrics, flatbed, laser or by hand.

Do you have a sewing person in your company to do the sewing. Or a professional aluminum saw, no not the one from the DIY store, but a real one for cutting the frames. Because you do want to cut those 6 meter lengths for the frames right. Then we still need to fit the fabric to the frame. Fabrics stretch and move they are not like vinyl or hardboard forex. So yes we might find some challenges along the way.

So who can help you. The vendor speaks about his product only, the reseller about his products but how do you get the ROI you want. Consultancy is one way, the other way is to read.

Just remember there are two types of consultants, the ones that say yes to you and the critical ones. If you need the right guidance use the last one. Critical and straight to the point is the cheaper and better way. There are solutions and answers at hand you just need to find the right knowledge.

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