Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

As we tack a new calendar to the wall, it’s time to turn attention to all that is new in the world. First—and I’m quite sure it’s at the top of your list—is that Pantone’s Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid. The color experts assure us that this “enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple, and pink undertones…inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love, and health.” That’s an uplifting thought for the New Year, but I don’t think I’ll repaint my living room just yet.

There are a lot of exciting new opportunities available on the technology end of things, too. While I was at the NAQP Owners Conference last fall, the hottest topic by far was 3D printing. Paul Strack of CustomXM brought his nifty 3D squirrel that had captured everyone’s imagination at the Integrated Print Forum back in the summer. (The same squirrel that was immortalized in Steve Johnson’s column in the September issue of QP.) A panel discussion paired with the live 3D printing demonstration at the Vendor Showcase sparked an ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of the process and ideas for promising applications.

If you’re crazy for apps, there are loads of new ones available to make your work life more mobile. From paper and ink apps to inventory control and workflow tracking, you can bring more tasks to your small screens than ever before. This adds to the mobility and flexibility of busy print executives. Mobile apps that mesh with your estimating software give an edge to salespeople who can quote job costs on the spot.

Want to get more involved than just using someone else’s app? Create your own—or better yet, create one for your customer. The perceived value of being able to create something as cool as an app that is unique to your customer’s business is another way to differentiate your company in a big way. Want to do something that’s so cool it’s downright polar? Give augmented reality a whirl. Sure these new technologies have a pretty steep learning curve, but just helps to lessen the competition.

You may prefer to start a little closer to your comfort zone. Personalized marketing services are still an untapped profit center for most print providers, and the profit margins are outstanding. The thing that makes this so appealing is that most of you already have everything you need to produce these jobs. Read more about it in John Giles’ Digital Original column on page 22.

No matter how you decide to grow your company in 2014, everyone here at QP wishes you the best of luck. We’ll keep the information flowing to help you succeed in whatever you choose to do. Happy New Year!