A new AHDB SmartHort Centre setup to tackle current labour challenges could help growers boost labour productivity by 25 – 40 per cent.
The initiative will see berry grower and polytunnel maker Haygrove link up with Lincolnshire propagators Volmary, as hosts for the new strategic centres over the next 12 months.
AHDB stated that growers who engage with the programme could expect to see labour and productivity improvements between 25-40 per cent.
Productivity consultants Fedden USP will lead the training to drive business improvement, sharing insight on practical management, which growers can apply to their businesses.
Grace Emeny, senior knowledge exchange manager at AHDB said: “We’re really excited to see how the first of our Strategic SmartHort Centres develop – both Haygrove and Volmary are going to be brilliant ambassadors for the programme of work.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of their projects on production efficiency and labour management, and sharing that insight with the rest of industry.”
Neil Fedden, of Fedden USP, said a practical based approached using various elements of the “LEAN” method will be demonstrated at a number of events throughout the 12-month period.
Some of the topics covered will include process mapping and waste identification, encouraging continuous improvement across the company, visual management boards and metrics to check improvements, as well as practical problem solving.
Fedden explains: “This is a unique opportunity to take part in a ‘live’ case study for the application of LEAN tools and techniques within the successful businesses. The aim of the programme is a practical demonstration of how LEAN can be applied to improve productivity and sustain the improvements.”
The initiative forms part of the AHDB Farm Excellence network, each site will have workshops where they will be encouraged to have an open and honest discussion around business changes, and will be open to all horticultural sectors.