A tech pack is a document containing all the technical information about your product. It’s an essential document for both designers and production teams when producing new collections, as it helps clearly communicate every little detail about what you are making, to your manufacturer.
Many designers, however, often overlook or rush through this document dismissing it as unimportant, leading to communication breakdowns further down the line and avoidable costly mistakes and delays. Read on to find out exactly why techpacks are so important.
SupplyCompass allows you to collaborate with your team to create moodboards and tech packs in minutes, which you can share directly with your manufacturing partner.
What does a good tech pack include?
- Technical drawings, CAD, construction notes, dimensions and fit log: Annotated flat drawings showing a front and back view and close-ups of any design details such as packets, pleats, etc., seams, bartacks, stitching details and a table with all product dimensions and the size and placement of each component.
- Quantities & sizing: A table indicating the quantities you are looking for and the size split.
- Materials: Information on each key raw material that makes up your product, with name, colourways, composition, weight, finish, and a nominated supplier if you have one.
- Components: Information on each component that makes up your product – embroideries, prints, labels, buttons, tags, threads, trims, fastenings and embellishments.
- Sample and fit feedback
- Order details: Desired delivery date, bulk production delivery address and details on how you want your products packaged and packed.
Why is a tech pack important?
1. Reduces mistakes and improves communication
Tech packs make communication between you and your manufacturer easier and clearer, reducing misunderstandings and mistakes. A strong tech pack is even more important when manufacturing abroad, across time zones, language and cultural differences and are considered a universal system for enabling production.
You can ensure that the garment you have designed is made to your exact specification. Your clothing manufacturer will be able to use all the technical drawings, measurements and details of components that you provide to accurately replicate your design. In this way, it reduces the risk that a mistake will happen during sampling and bulk production.
2. Acts as a production manual
Usually, you have a single point of contact at a factory who looks after the entirety of your order; from designing, sourcing, sampling and production. However, during this process, your product passes through many different people and departments within the factory and they all need to be working from the same document or platform as each other. Revisions and details will inevitably get lost or misinterpreted if not all in the same document or platform, so your tech pack essentially becomes an instruction manual bringing clarity, consistency and cohesion throughout the production process.
3. Reduces lead times and avoids delays.
A design that comes with a detailed pack shortens sampling lead times, avoids mistakes and ultimately helps you bring your product to market quicker. It also helps the factory effectively plan the manpower and resources needed, and block out production capacity well ahead of time.
If you send a comprehensive tech pack along with a request for an initial quote, your manufacturer can break down your costs into materials, component and labour costs and will be able to cost more accurately and quickly, which means more control over cash flow. All of this information helps you work out margins and identify whether you need to make fundamental changes to your collection before you begin pattern making, sourcing and sampling.
5. Saves time with future collections
A tech pack can be referred back to at any time. When starting the next collection, slight changes to certain elements of your product are sufficient and tech packs can easily be reused.
What are the best tools for creating a Tech Pack?
Microsoft Excel and Adobe Illustrator are the most common programs used for creating tech packs. Although these are great tools that are easily customisable and quick for teams to learn, it’s not built with the unique and complex needs of fashion production and product development in mind. Although it may seem easier at first to create a tech pack in Adobe, Excel or Powerpoint, problems arise with these tools as the product evolves through the product development process; when edits are made, versions attached and sent via email.
What are the key challenges with current tools?
- Harder for Collaboration: Tech Packs are collaborative documents, both your team and your manufacturers need to edit, comment or modify. This is not so easy to do on read-only attachments, .pdfs, or offline documents. Comments and changes need to be made in real-time.
- Risk of making costly mistakes: Tech packs made using Excel or similar tools are either attached or uploaded to a platform like We Transfer and embedded as a link and sent via email. It increases the possibility of the files not being sent to the right individuals, or in some cases, the link expiring! This method also makes it easy to attach the wrong version, too many attachments being sent or a critical bit of sample feedback forgotten. These small human errors can be very costly.
- Miscommunication: Manufacturers have to get used to the unique tech packs for every brand they produce for — it’s easier for them if there is a certain degree of standardization across all the tech packs they receive from every brand.
Digital tech packs are the future
Digital tech packs have similar functionality to those made on tools like Excel or Google Sheets, but because they are created, shared and modified in a cloud-based software used by both brands and manufacturers. Teams can create digital tech packs in minutes through the SupplyCompass Platform
Top 5 benefits of digital tech packs
- Faster to create
- Intuitive to use
- Easy to share
- Real-time collaboration
- Single source of truth