The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium helped one of its cohorts realize a 182 percent productivity gain at its first rapid improvement activity for 2017. The event was held in February at JLPN Inc., a deciduous ornamental tree liner grower in Salem, Oregon.

Three teams focused on a grading process, targeting the extra time and steps involved in the process. Company leaders determined to double productivity. The teams far exceeded these expectations, reducing the crew size by nearly 20 percent and increasing units per worker hour from 162 to 466 on one seedling variety.

“Implementing Lean practices at JLPN has become an entirely new skill set—just as crucial as the skills required to grow tree liners—that creates value for our customers,” said John Lewis, JLPN President. “The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium has been our educational driving force, helping us create higher quality product while eliminating waste in our processes.”

Members of the Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium have committed to learning and applying the principles of lean together for one year. Top practitioners in each company meet for one-day rapid improvement sessions at a hosting nursery each month.

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. Initial results are often dramatic. It is common to see productivity improvements from 40 – 70 percent the first time Lean principles are effectively deployed in an area.

Seven companies are involved in the consortium this year: Eshraghi Nurseries, JLPN, Marion Ag Service, PRT Oregon, Robinson Nursery, Smith Gardens Aurora, and Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas. Companies interested in participating can contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-250-2235 or epeters@petersco.net for information and an application form.

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