Neil Fedden, owner and managing consultant at Hampshire-based Lean business specialists, Fedden USP, will be leading three new Strategic SmartHort Centres that are being set-up by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The three centres are being set-up to address the current labour challenges in the sector and could boost labour productivity for attendees by between 25% and 40%. The centres will be hosted by fruit growers Haygrove in Herefordshire, Cambridgeshire plant propagators Volmary and Thomas Thomson fruit growers in Perthshire.
Fedden will deliver a series of Lean training workshops at each of the centres, which will have a very practical focus. They will cover not just the theory of Lean and Lean business improvement techniques, but also how the tools and techniques can be implemented on a daily basis to build productivity improvements in areas such as lifting, dispatch, picking, packing and propagation.
Fedden will present four days of workshops to a group of between 25 and 40 business leaders from a variety of horticultural companies over a 12-month period at each host site. The workshops will focus on the best ways to make significant and sustainable changes within the companies attending and each of the participants will be supported in developing action plans for the implementation of Lean in their own business.
Some of the topics covered will include process mapping and waste identification, practical problem solving techniques, how to encourage continuous improvement across the company and visual management boards and metrics to check improvements. Workshop participants will also be given the opportunity to attend additional Apprenticeship Levy funded training on Lean/Business Improvement to gain a Level 2 national recognised qualification. This consists of a further six days of training and 12 days of onsite implementation support.
Mr Fedden commented: “There is a lot of concern over labour availability and quality in this sector and Lean improvements could prove vital to the future success of a company. The programme is open to all horticultural businesses and offers a unique opportunity to take part in a ‘live’ case study to see how Lean tools and techniques can contribute to the success of a business.”
The first workshop has been announced to be taking place at Volmary on 23-24 July.