Sjm – ‘words & clay’

Sarah J Miller runs a business producing beautiful ceramic decorations and witty graphic gifts. Based at Cockpit Arts in London, the business was established in 2000 and now employs a staff of 3 people engaged in product design, manufacture, sales and despatch.

The business has grown significantly and Sarah realised that their organisation and working practices, particularly on the production side, needed to catch up with the way sales have expanded. Nigel was called in to help sjm as part of the ‘Commercialising Creative Content’ project run by Cockpit Arts and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Improving efficiency was a priority in order to:
• Keep up with demand
• Maximise profitability
• Make the most of limited studio space

All of these aims were achieved over a remarkably short period of time and a very small number of practical sessions involving Nigel and the sjm team. The sessions concentrated on learning and applying ‘lean’ principles in the workshop.

The sjm team put what they learnt into immediate practice by a straight-forward re-organisation of the workshop layout, making changes to the way things are stored and the way various operations are carried out.

After monitoring the outcome Sarah estimates that they have improved productivity by as much as a third (33%).

“We are better able to respond to high customer demand during busy periods such as the run-up to Christmas, we should even be able to manage without temporary labour to help with the pre-Christmas rush; we no longer need to work late into the evening; we have better stock control and are in a far better position to plan ahead.” Says Sarah.

Sarah J Miller in her studio John Jones
The sjm team working on improving their procedures

Read more creative industries case studies