"Our mindset is focused on space utilization and efficiency," says Andrew White, General Manager at Humphris Nursery, one of the largest wholesale plant production enterprises in Australia. At their Mooroolbark site, Powerplants has installed the WPS SmartFlo system and side shift benches. The system has been up and running for a year now, and White reflects on its benefits, as well as their recent focus on indoor plants.
The WPS SmartFlo system at Humphris Nursery's Woori greenhouse
Improving space utilization
The WPS SmartFlo system is a conveyer belt system that allows Humphris Nursery to move their potted plants around much more efficiently and easily. "We are focused on maximizing our space utilization and efficiency. Large walkways don't generate an income, so we wondered how we could get around that. Our company is run over four sites, so efficiency is an important aspect for us, which we aim to keep improving on. Therefore, Humphris' owner Barry Humphris has been going to IPM Essen for years, searching for new technologies and ideas. And because of this new SmartFlo system, our efficiency has improved. Whereas our 10,000 square meter greenhouse used to be worked by around fifteen people, only four people need to operate it now. Therefore, the system enabled us to achieve our objective of operating efficiently, with minimal staff."
Barry Humphris, owner of Humphris Nursery
Locally grown indoor plants
While Humphris Nursery has a diverse range of products, White adds that they have recently been focusing on adding an indoor plant range. "Indoor plants are new for us, but these subtropical plants have been doing really well lately. In Australia, there are only a few growers producing these plants here in the southern states, they would normally have to get shipped over 2,500 km from growers in the northern states. Therefore, we are providing a more local supply. We anticipate these plants are a great opportunity for our future as demand for indoor plants continues, particularly with the ongoing trend of homes with small or no gardens and bringing 'green' indoors."
"Improving skills is the biggest challenge"
White shares that for Humphris Nursery, improving the team's overall horticultural skills has been the biggest challenge. "We are a family business with growing production facilities over four sites. We can sometimes run into logistical issues and are still continuing to improve our business management skills. We have been growing rapidly these past five years, and with any rapid growth, internal processes have to be improved. Therefore, these last 12 months, we have been focusing on continuously improving our management style. In order to improve plant quality, it is also the process behind the plant that counts. Therefore, it is important for us to work with partners like Powerplants, as they have the skills to improve our business."
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