Our Story of Factoryless Production

Posted on March 20, 2016 by Etosha Lankatilleke | 4 comments

Community Sourced Production, a factory-less approach to manufacturing.

At ApiHappi we strive to create unique products out of traditional handloomed cotton, which include bags, bean bag chairs, etc.. Being in this industry we are often asked one big question….

WHERE IS YOUR FACTORY???
Actually...we don’t have a factory!

Why? Because we believe that there are more innovative systems that we can put in place that would be more ethical and efficient for our community and our company as a whole.

After observing and experimenting with our culture here in Sri Lanka we have come up with an interesting system that we like to call Community Sourced Production.

Community Sourced production is a system where we train artisans to produce our specific designs and then, we enable them to fulfill our orders while working at home.

Here are a few benefits of Community Sourced Production:

  1. Most of our artisans are women. One reason that stops them from going out to work at factories is that they have to stay home to take care of their families. With our system, they are enabled to work at home while fulfilling their household duties.
  2. Our system is Results based. We pay our artisans per bag, not per hour. This allows artisans to earn money based on their capabilities. From our experience with this system, our artisans are able to earn a much higher income than they would, working for a factory.
  3. We don’t need a factory space. We do have a workshop here where we cut the fabric and produce patterns and samples etc. and distribute the work to our network of artisans.
  4. When we train artisans, they have the opportunity to teach others in their surroundings. This increases their production capacity while creating a form of income for the members of the community. Outside of earning an income this also acts a catalyst to bring communities together.
  5. Scalability and Flexibility. The capacity of a factory is generally finite. If the demand is less than the capacity then you are most likely not running at full potential. If the demand is more than the capacity, then you will need to invest in expanding your factory. In our case, we are able to match up wholesale orders with the appropriate artisans allowing us to upscale and downscale at any time.
  6. Our artisans also have the freedom to work on other projects as long as they are able to consistently fulfill their orders. This enables them to earn more of an income.
  7. Reduced Carbon Footprint - We believe that in the long run, our lack of factory space would reduce our company’s carbon foot print by not having large scale machines and cooling/heating systems running. Also, since raw materials are transported to the artisans’ houses, and the finished product is transported back to the workshop, they do not have to “travel to work” every day. Thereby reducing the carbon dioxide contribution through modes of transportation.

Although there are many benefits of community sourced production, like any innovative idea, there are still many challenges to overcome. ApiHappi is still young so we are still learning and experimenting with new ideas every day. Of course traditional business people might look at our production model and think we are out of our minds. In their minds having a large factory performing at full capacity is what is best for efficiency and profits! We like profits too, but here at ApiHappi our main priorities are creating fun products while sustaining a happy community.

 

We welcome your questions and ideas!! Please comment below!

 

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4 Responses

Patricia La Noue
Patricia La Noue

March 22, 2016

I enjoy my beautiful royal blue and beige place mats. Now I will look at them and wonder in whose home they were made, not which factory. I am pleased to know about the goal of lowering the carbon footprint while offering artisans flexibility. Keep up the good work!

Paulo Gregory
Paulo Gregory

March 22, 2016

Cohado is the principle of creating assets and eliminating waste. We at Cohado Enterprises are watching ApiHappi very closely as they are ushering in a new form of Value Enterprise that is committed to supporting community as it evolves a viable business model. Allowing individuals to pursue their talent and to carry forward traditional arts while they care for family and earn living wages is a true manifestation of Cohado. Thank you for your commitment ApiHappi. We love what you are doing and how you are doing it!

Savi
Savi

March 21, 2016

The great thing about Apihappi is that literally it gives you time to incorporate other activities at home for women artisans. Besides being able to work from home, they will also be able to choose their own working hours!!!! Creating an income generating opportunity for the women will help them become happier, healthier individuals – especially, mothers who could take charge of their lives. One of the best methods to reduce poverty and create prosperity for women, families and communities. Good luck Apihappi!

Rodrigo
Rodrigo

March 21, 2016

Apihappi is just great!!! I had the oportunity to visit the Apihappi workshop and see how Etosha and Aparna work and yeah…this place is full of creativity and positive vibes! Love your products, keep on!

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