Lean production – our most innovative and exciting production model to date

Lean production - our most innovative and exciting production model to date

 24th Nov 2021 |  Blog |  Margaret Ring

The background to our decision to move to a lean production model
As many of our Customers, Shareholders and Friends probably know, we have proudly shipped Secret Products (the name we give to our Ranges of clothing and homeware) from India to all corners of the world for a number of years. We are sure, however, that you won't be surprised when we say that since the global pandemic began, things have changed enormously.

One major change has been the reduction in the number of flights leaving India that has translated into the cost of transportation increasing significantly, to the point where for now, it has become too expensive for us to ship from India. As a business, we needed to look at alternative ways to get our goods to Customers and we have taken the decision to move the fulfilment of Secret Products to our unit in West Sussex in the UK, as this is the most cost effective way forward for us at present.

We were of course, initially disappointed about this, knowing that we could no longer hold stock in our Indian unit. However, on reflection, we soon realised that it was actually a blessing in disguise and a way that we could realise one of our business dreams, to begin lean production.

What is lean production?
In simple terms, it's about producing only what has been ordered by our Customers, retailers and wholesalers.

What are the benefits? 
As no stock is held it makes good economic sense. Couple this with the reduced environmental impact that making to order brings and it's a smart way to manufacture, supporting the sustainable fashion and homeware concept- something we are passionate about.

What does this mean for our Maker Community? 
For the next 3 months, from now until the end of December 2021, each order that is placed will be 'made to order' by the women of our Maker Community, who will receive a good income for each Secret Product they stitch. In short, every order will drive immediate business for the women and the money they earn will be paid into their bank accounts on the 15th of each month, meaning they can budget confidently to support their children and families.

The women constantly tell us 2 things...  
Firstly, they don't want handouts, they are business women who want to earn their income and that is exactly what they do as Secret Projects Makers.

Secondly, they want to know more about Secret Projects Customers who they lovingly stitch for. Making to order and holding no stock gives a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the women exactly who they are making the items for, their names and where they live!

The women of our Maker Community lie at the very heart of Secret Projects and providing on-going and sustainable income generating opportunities for each one is our sole purpose and we constantly strive to find new, innovative ways of production to support this aim.  Lean production is our most exciting production model to date and we believe it will be a highly effective way forward for our business and to help the women earn much needed income following the effects of the pandemic on the population and communities.

We are delighted to begin lean production with another exciting development for Secret Projects - Business in a Box at Christmas time. Read more about this here.


Our first destash!

Our first destash!

What to do on a rainy Sunday? Hold our very first destash! You may be asking what a destash is?  In short, it's a call out to people to go through old . . . sewing supplies and fabric etc. and donate it to a good cause. With that good cause being Secret Projects! We set up in the Pulborough Village Hall (which is close to where our Business Unit is), and, through various advertising methods, the word had spread and we were delighted to welcome scores of people who came along with their very gratefully received donations. Donations weren't just brought in on the day, we had parcels sent to us and others dropped supplies round to our CEO's house in Pulborough ahead of the official destash day. In total we collected 325 kilos of delici0us pre-loved sewing supplies. Much of the fabric donated has been sorted and will be made up into our ever popular and best selling scrap packs available through our eBay and Etsy Stores. In fact, we now have over 30 different scrap packs to purchase and more will be added, so do keep visiting our stores. We are still taking donations and if you do have any fabric or pre-loved sewing supplies, please do get in touch via fritha@secretprojects.org And of course the most enormous thank you everyone who donated to, and also helped us run our very first destash! More to come! Let's hear it for destashing!   Image: offering a cup of tea to all who came along to the destash was one way of us saying a big thank you.
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We would LOVE you to donate any unwanted sewing supplies to us!

We would LOVE you to donate any unwanted sewing supplies to us!

We can make such good use of your pre-loved sewing supplies We have added various items of pre-loved sewing supplies to our online stores, including . . . scrap fabrics and buttons for the past few years and it has developed into a small but very good source of income for our Community Benefit Society. The pre-loved sewing supplies market is only getting stronger and is something we are keen to develop and grow and are therefore putting out an 'ask' to our customers and supporters (and of course, anyone else who reads this!) for your old sewing items. We would LOVE them! Ideas for sewing supplies donations! From scrap fabric, to buttons, to pins, to needles, to embroidery equipment, we would adore to talk to you about what you have. Sewing items can often have sentimental value - in fact, our Comms Manager, Margaret was just telling us about a pin cushion she has of her mother's that she could only give away to someone who would really appreciate, and make good use of. Maybe this has resonated with you. So, if you do have sewing supplies you would like to donate, please email Fritha Vincent Mason at: fritha@secretprojects.org. We would just LOVE your pre-loved sewing supplies!  
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The 2024 AGM of SPCBS will take place on 24th January 1-2pm UK time

The 2024 AGM of SPCBS will take place on 24th January 1-2pm UK time

The 2024 Annual General Meeting of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society We are delighted to announce that 2024 The Annual General Meeting of . . . Secret Projects Community Benefit Society will take place on January 24th at 1-2pm UK time. All Shareholders are warmly invited and notification and the agenda plus financial information have been sent out. Please do check inboxes and junk folders and if not received, please email: invest@secreprojects.org. We very much look forward to seeing our Shareholders and providing an update on our progress over the last year.    
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