Tom Raffield benefits from BIG investment and support.
Artisan furniture and lighting company, Tom Raffield, is taking business to the next level, thanks to a £20,000 grant from BIG Productivity.
A new mezzanine area is due to be installed at the Falmouth-based firm’s premises in Church View Business Park.
The extra level will maximise the space in the unit, allowing the 28-strong team at Tom Raffield to expand storage and increase manufacture of their unique designs.
The company, set up 14 years ago as a cottage industry in Tom’s back garden, creates handcrafted lighting, furniture and accessories using the low-energy, low-waste technique of steam bending wood.
Chris Pritchard, Head of Operations at Tom Raffield, said: “As the business continues to grow and we handcraft our range alongside developing new designs, we’d like to expand our space and ensure the flow is efficient through our workshop teams. The grant from BIG has allowed us to create a small mezzanine area which will really help us to maximise the room we have here.”
Chris added: “If we can hold more stock and access materials faster, we can also offer a quicker service to our customers. We are about a month away from having the mezzanine level installed, which is really exciting.”
In the longer term, the team at Tom Raffield, are set to benefit from support from BIG’s Advanced Advisory Service (AAS).
The service offers strategic, non-financial support to Cornish SMEs on projects that will be a catalyst for growth. The service provides 12 hours of free professional advice from a team of experienced consultants.
Chris and the team at Tom Raffield worked with consultant Jon Hurrell to review their current software and its limitations, identifying important criteria and defining a brief for what they wanted the software to do for the business.
Although installing the mezzanine has taken priority, Chris said they will be using the advice they received through the AAS as the business develops further.
Chris added: “The whole process enabled us to take an objective look, from an industry-wide context, at how we work and what we want our software system to do. For us it’s about visibility in the manufacturing process – it’s about understanding where our inventory is, the efficiency of our space and teams in the workshop and trying to reduce any blocks in production.
“I would recommend contacting BIG Productivity to local businesses. The process of applying to was simple and it’s been really smooth along the way, which has allowed us to take the business forward in the way we want.”
Lyn Newby, BIG Productivity’s programme manager, said: “The team at Tom Raffield have made great use of the funding they received, putting it towards a project they knew would have immediate and tangible benefits for their business.
“And through the Advanced Advisory Service, with its 12 hours of free advice and support from an experienced consultant, the company has been able to set up longer term goals that will increase efficiency and value.
“The advisory service is still open for Cornish SMEs so get in touch if you think your business could benefit.”
BIG Productivity is a £3.1m fund that offers grants from £2,500 up to £50,000 to qualifying small and medium-sized businesses in Cornwall to boost their productivity.
BIG Productivity is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme and is delivered by Cornwall Council.