After a very successful year of improvements, The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium is now open to new members. Greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — are invited to join the 2017 program year.

The consortium brings together improvement leaders from multiple companies to learn and apply Lean principles to their organizations. “It is very helpful to have trained individuals who are able to see the waste quickly and have bias for action to eliminate it,” said Andres Alamillo, Continuous Improvement Manager for Smith Gardens.

Five companies participate in the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium today: Smith Gardens Aurora, Robinson Nursery, PRT Oregon, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, and JLPN Liners. Improvement gains have exceeded expectations. These include the following:

  • Container planting process
    • 49% productivity increase
    • 100% quality improvement
    • 88% reduction in machine downtime
  • Hanging baskets selecting process
    • 206% productivity increase
    • 86% setup time reduction
    • 79% reduced cost per unit
  • Transplanting machine changeover
    • Reduced changeover time, defects, and cost by 67%
  • Daily crew startup
    • Cut startup time in half
    • Reduced per-unit cost by 56%

“I am continually impressed with the quality of people in this group and their ability to get results,” said Chris Robinson, Nursery Manager at Robinson Nursery. “Every time I do one of these events I think there is no possible way we’ll meet our goals – and sure enough, we exceed them.”

What is Lean?

Lean is a proven 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. An effectively managed Lean consortium not only brings results, but delivers a strong message of long-term commitment to employee development and continuous improvement.

The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium gained national attention this year with a cover feature in the June issue of Nursery Management magazine. The feature walks through a day with the consortium, looking at how the team makes improvements to a process in a company. Tom Fessler of Woodburn Nursery and Azaleas is pictured on the cover.

“Being part of the Lean Consortium has allowed us to collaborate with folks in the nursery industry in ways that would not have happened otherwise,” said Alamillo. “We look forward to 2017.”

Get involved

For more information about how consortium works, visit Companies interested in participating in the Oregon program should contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-250-2235 or


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>