I recently was listening to the American Fashion Podcast and discovered a startup company that aims to be the:
“Birth of a New Kind of PDM (Product Data Management)”
Aptly named, Tech Packer “was built to make life easier for both fashion designers and the factories they work with. It neatly categorizes your design information using common industry standards, making your requirements easy to explain and understand.”
Having spent more than my fair share of time creating, editing and managing tech packs in Excel and other PDM / PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) softwares, I’m always excited to see what new solutions are available. I’m the first to admit that Excel is a painful and tedious method to the madness, but often the most accessible for many fashion designers and companies to use for tech pack creation. It’s cheap, has been around forever, and most people know how to use it, so at the end of the day it’s often the most common used solution for many smaller designers and companies.
Many of the PDM / PLM solutions that do exist are often cost prohibitive, so when I saw that Tech Packer is still currently in beta and available for free, I jumped on it. Now read carefully: “still in beta”. I will always proceed cautiously and won’t dive right in nor am I ready to convert all my customers into Tech Packer customers, but I’m happy to give it a spin and see what they’re doing (and keep an eye on their progress so I can decide when to jump on board full time).
Here’s what I discovered…
Clean User Friendly Interface
The site is modern set up in a logical way that is easy to navigate and allows for quick and easy creation of new styles with additional callouts for detail sketches, materials (BOM: Bill of Materials), and Measurements (POM: Point of Measure)
Quick PDF Creation
With the click of just one button, you can easily generate or preview a PDF of your tech pack – very helpful to see how the end user will experience your file and easily go back and to make any changes or edits if you see something that isn’t super clear (all style details, dates and logos are of course automatically added to each page of the PDF).
As I mentioned above, the current beta version is free – but per the FAQ page premium pricing will set you back just $20 bucks a month – that’s a steal if you ask me.
Here’s what I wish I discovered…
I was very excited to see the Easy Annotation as advertised in their YouTube video – but upon attempting to use it a few different times, it never worked. Clicking on the image of the design simply launched a file upload menu. This feature is very appealing so hopefully they get it back up and running soon.
Drag & Drop Card Assignment
From what I can see, you create a plethora of “cards” which define various trims, fabrics, POMs, etc, for each style. The YouTube video says you can easily “copy and paste” this info to different styles – I haven’t quite figured out how to do this (other than manually copying and pasting?). I’d love to have an interface with all of my cards on one side that I can then drag and drop to all of my tech packs on the other side. Perhaps this is on the to do list or I maybe missed something?
It’s crucial to keep track of changes in a tech pack – so you and your factory know when and what edits were made – whether it was a POM change or color way drop. I did not see anything of this kind, but from what I can see so far, Tech Packer knows the industry so I am sure they know how essential this is and has intentions of adding it.
I’m definitely impressed on many levels and would consider subscribing once they are done with beta testing and add a few more essential features. I am involved in the creation of too many tech packs a year (well over 150) to fully commit right now, but for a budding or small designer whose needs are smaller, I think this is a great solution.
Look forward to watching their growth and one day fully getting on board – I’ll keep you posted as I get new updates on features and releases.