Are Tech Packs Necessary for Footwear Manufacturing in China?

Many start ups new to footwear manufacturing industry have no idea what they will need to provide to their manufacturers for the first time. They might have the misconception that specification sheets, hand drawings or CAD drawings are required by manufacturers. As a matter of fact, most shoes manufacturers don’t need those files for design reference, instead, the files they need are usually presented in the form of tech packs, containing everything you need to tell your shoes manufacturer.

What are tech packs?

Tech packs are digital illustrations of your designs that show construction, proportions, relevant views and other information to a manufacturer so they can turn the idea into shoes. A tech pack should provide your manufacturer with clear and easy to understand information to make your shoes, and give you an accurate quote. The more detailed a tech pack is, the less room for mistakes and frustrations.

If you don’t have a tech pack for your design, have no idea how to prepare one and don’t even have an in-house designer, ask your shoes manufacturer if they can recommend a tech pack designer to you. Alternatively, there’re many online platforms like freelancer, people per hour where you can easily outsource your tech pack to a footwear designer.

What are the functions of tech packs?

* Communicate all the details of the design by shoes designer, i.e., the construction of the shoes, what color of every part, what specified materials to use

* Provide sufficient information with which the shoes factory can give an accurate quote

* Cut off guess works, and ensure a smooth manufacturing process to get ideal end products

* Reference standard for quality inspection

The best starting point to convey an idea, tech packs are essentially important when you’re developing a new concept with details, and many shoes manufacturers in China won’t take the work unless you can provide a clear tech pack. Besides, to get an accurate quote, you should have a tech pack. However, there’re some other circumstances where tech packs are redundant.

When do you need a tech pack?

* To obtain an accurate quote from your shoes manufacturer

* Private label shoes that require lots of customization

A tech pack is an integral part if you’re creating a private label line of footwear from scratch, like the customization of the outsole. It’s the most effective way to cut off guess works, provide clear information to your manufacturer, and ensure the shoes in your mind are the shoes that come off the assembly line.

When don’t you need a tech pack?

* Buying stocks

* Making minor changes based on existing models

If you’re replicating an existing sample with some minor changes such as changes of materials, small twists of design, your manufacturer may be able to work it out without a tech pack. If your changes are complicated, a tech pack is necessary to avoid things going in the wrong direction. Many new buyers tend to think explaining to the manufacturer would do, the truth is, it greatly increases the chances of guess works. You manufacturer might say “Yes” to your explanation, however, the culture of saying “yes” in China sometimes just mean “With respect I’m listening to you”, it doesn’t necessarily mean they understand exactly what you mean. Besides, they serve various customers, when other orders come in at the same time with yours, it’s easy they mess things up if they can’t find any prominent guidance like a tech pack.

What should be included in a tech pack for shoes?

* Last

A solid form based on which a shoe is built. A tech pack should include the design, shape and volume of desired shoes, so the footwear manufacturer can choose the right shoes last to achieve the best fit.

* Finishing

One of the most important processes, finishing plays a decisive role on how the final products would look like. The heels/sales are attached, trimmed and cleaned for a smooth finish in the finishing process. Make sure finishing is included in the tech pack if you want your shoes to look great.

* Other Details

Other details should also be provided, for example, what kinds of materials to be used, laces, soles, lining, etc. Include as detailed information as possible to avoid potential mistakes.

When the production is completed or during the quality inspection process, a tech pack is used to verify whether you get exactly the shoes you ask for. It’s essentially important when producing with Chinese shoes factories. Though it takes additional time to prepare a shoes tech pack at the beginning, it does worth the effort and time in both product development and quality inspection process.

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