HTA introduces lean techniques

UK horticulture companies adopt efficiency techniques developed by the Japanese automotive industry

More than 40 horticulture companies are using lean techniques, pioneered in the Japanese car industry in the 1950s. Average savings have been £50,000. Delegates to the first HTA tree and hedging group seminar last week heard from head of operations Neil Fedden of engineering federation EEF South about how the lean system worked. Fedden said he was surprised when the HTA asked his organisation how members could benefit from the industrial technique. Four nurseries — Coblands, Hillier, Fairweather’s and Lowater — trialled the system. After taster sessions, experts took nursery staff through aspects of their businesses, examining ways to save money and increase efficiency. The programme covered areas including product development, waste reduction, retailing and dispatch. Fedden said: “After working with garden retailers, growers and landscapers, I have no doubt that lean techniques work in this industry.” HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said: “Lean is about identifying and implementing practical changes that will have immediate, tangible benefits.”

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