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.