Product lifecycle management
A PDM is a tool helping in managing a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured product. In other terms, the tool helps gathering all the information on the product (from fabrics to measurements) to be shared with the suppliers in order to have a simplier manufacturing process.
The Techpacker app has been built to enable a clothing designer to send a detailed blueprint, containing all the crucial specifications and measurements, to a manufacturer. It aims at removing the miscommunications than can occur with some existing rival software programmes, and to enable clothing companies to reduce product development times.
“This application provides a platform for designers and factories to work together. It allows the designer to communicate what they want clearly to the factory. And so the factory can deliver what the designer wants.” Ms Tam told BBC.
Josie Tam, co-founder of Teckpacker talks about how she came up with her app to standardise design communication.
Techpacker wants to provide an open source, creative common library for fashion designers by sharing materials, measurements and sketches. As this library expands, it will reduce the data entry for designers by half and make Techpacker a visual experience. Techpacker comes as a relief to designers who’ve grown tired of wasting time on data entry instead of designing amazing fashion pieces; as well as experiencing the pain of getting samples back from factories that don’t even come close to their expectations.
The freemium service includes a paid-subscription cloud-based service offering small and medium fashion companies a real alternative to paying thousands of dollars for outdated industry-specific software that is difficult to learn and use.
Founded in July 2014, this ambitious fashion tech startup was born out of the need for an affordable and convenient product lifecycle management (PLM) software for designers. “We were trying to help a friend from the US get some shirts made in China,” recalls CEO and co-founder Saral Kochar. “We were wasting our time with quality issues and spiraling costs – mostly from a failure to communicate our design requirements effectively. So we started working on a solution.” They ended up with an up-to-date web-based application which allows users to create, access and modify detailed product profiles – or “tech-packs” as they’re called in the industry – using any device, anywhere. The app has a simple, user-focused interface that’s as easy to use as consumer apps like Pinterest and Instagram, allowing visually-minded designers an escape from spreadsheet-induced nightmares. With about 500 customers using their tool, Techpacker is on its good way to success!
ITW | SAYAM KOCHAR, co-founder at Techpacker
Clausette: You founded Techpacker a year ago now, could you tell us how it has been going since?
Sayam Kochar: Things have been going well for us at Techpacker. We have seen a progressive rate of designers and manufacturers connecting with us. Industry in general has been very supportive on our initiative to bring an affordable, easy to use PDM solution for mid-small scale brands. We often get feedbacks from our users in forms of suggestions and also the problems they encounter while using the app. And that engagement with users is very motivating for us. It proves that they do find or foresee a solution to their problems through our platform.
But like every start-up we did too had many challenges and limitations. And that in fact is the case with anything when you have to prove yourself.
C.: With the experience gained with your first customers, how do you see the next few months? Are you working on updates?
S.K.: Since the day one we have been very receptive to our users suggestions and feedbacks. It has been instrumental in our development process. We take their opinions seriously, make regular improvements and users see that and they come back. We have a dedicated page on our website where we log weekly system updates with the names of the users who suggested those ideas. Currently we are working on new functionalities that we will roll out very soon and hope to impress our current and prospective users.
C.: In a long term vision (years), how do you see Techpacker growing?
S.K.: I think there are endless opportunities in the world of data. Designers are now rapidly digitizing their design work. It’s convenient for them to create, communicate and re-use their ideas this way. But they use so many different apps, software and browsers that it becomes a bit messy. I think Techpacker will grow into catering that data management need for these designers. Plus designing data is not limited to fashion garments only. There are many other product categories that Techpacker could grow into like shoes, bags, accessories and non-fashion products like toy design, helmet designs etc.
C.: Thank you for your time Sayam! Anything you’d like to add?
Soon we are launching collaborative tools on Techpacker that will enable users to add their factories and colleagues and work-together on the platform, you can follow our journey on our Facebook page!