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US: Oregon Lean Consortium now open to new members

After a successful year of improvements, the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium is now open to new members. Greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — are invited to join the 2018 program year.

The consortium brings together improvement leaders from multiple companies to learn and apply Lean principles to their organizations. “It is very helpful to have trained individuals who are able to see the waste quickly and have bias for action to eliminate it,” said Andres Alamillo, Continuous Improvement Manager for Smith Gardens.

Seven companies participate in the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium today: Smith Gardens Aurora, Marion Ag Service, Robinson Nursery, PRT Oregon, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, Eshraghi Nursery, and JLPN Liners. Improvement gains have exceeded expectations. These include the following:
  • 182% productivity increase on a bareroot tree seedling grading process
  • Container grading process
    • Reduced changeover time by 82%
    • Increased productivity by 74%
    • Reduced operator travel by 5,000 feet
  • Sales order processing
    • Cut process steps by more than half
    • Reduced rework 92%
    • Improved value-added ratio by 112%
  • 67% reduction in safety/ergonomics issues on a seedling container laydown process
  • Staging for shipping
    • Improved productivity 122%
    • Reduced operator travel 97%
    • Reduced crew size nearly 30%
“I am continually impressed with the quality of people in this group and their ability to get results,” said Chris Robinson, Nursery Manager at Robinson Nursery. “Every time we do one of these events I think there is no possible way we’ll meet our goals – and sure enough, we exceed them.”

What is Lean?
Lean is a proven method for eliminating waste that results in more value to customers, delivered at a lower cost, in a shorter time, with fewer defects and less human effort. Deployed effectively, Lean not only reduces waste but delivers a strong message of long-term commitment to employee development and continuous improvement.

“Implementing Lean practices at JLPN has become an entirely new skill set — just as crucial as the skills required to grow tree liners — that creates value for our customers,” said John Lewis, JLPN President. “The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium has been our educational driving force, helping us create higher quality product while eliminating waste in our processes.”

Get involved
For more information about how consortium works, visit Companies interested in joining the Oregon program should contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-250-2235 or for information and an application form.

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