A consortium of four Oregon nurseries announced a year-long effort to learn and apply principles of Lean — also known as the “Toyota Production System.” Lean is a 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.
Smith Gardens, Robinson Nursery, PRT Oregon and Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas currently make up the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which is organized by new OAN members The Peters Company. Other nursery operations that wish to participate are welcome to join.
The first consortium session was held on February 3. Two teams focused on a planting process, targeting the time it takes to change from one product type to the next, and the time and steps starting up the line at the beginning of each day. The goal was to cut these times in half.
The teams exceeded these expectations, reducing changeover time by 67 percent and startup by 56 percent. If a crew is able to apply the changes recommended by the teams, the company expects to benefit from staff time savings equivalent to $16,000 in the next six months.
“The challenge of Lean is sustaining the gains over the long term,” said consortium instructor Rick Peters. “It takes strong leadership and tenacity to make significant, ongoing improvements in an organization.”
Nursery operations interested in joining the consortium can contact Elizabeth Peters at 503-250-2235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.