‘Lean’ nurseries boost productivity

Mateusz Perkowski of the Capital Press newspaper recently highlighted ways nurseries have effectively applied Lean principles in the past year.

The story quoted three businesses who have deployed Lean principles to identify and reduce waste in processes: Peoria Gardens of Albany, Weyerhaeuser Turner Regeneration, and JLPN of Salem. Here’s an excerpt:

“In retrospect, the inefficiencies at Peoria Gardens near Corvallis, Ore., were hiding in plain sight.

Though the problems now seem glaring, the nursery’s managers and workers never noticed simply because that’s how things had always been done, said Ben Verhoeven, the company’s president.

The company’s eyes were opened to these issues last year while participating in the Oregon Lean Consortium, which helps nurseries and other businesses adopt the waste-cutting principles of “lean” production.

By “co-locating” all the necessary equipment in one place and clarifying each worker’s role in “sticking” cuttings into containers, Peoria Gardens developed a continuous flow of filling the plug trays with new plants. Trays were made available as needed, reducing the wait time and unnecessary inventory.

With these simple changes, the nursery was able to cut its “sticking” crew from 20 to 11 people, a labor reduction of 45%. Meanwhile, the amount of time required to plant each cutting decreased from about 8 seconds to 4.5 seconds per plug tray cell.”

Read the full story online here.


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