Oregon Lean Consortium Reports 2019 Year-End Results

Members of the Oregon Lean Consortium reported significant improvements when they met for final reports in Wilsonville on December 11, 2019.

Leaders from seven Oregon nursery, greenhouse and supplier companies worked together for one year with a professional facilitator to develop skills and apply the principles of Lean in each others’ organizations. The following gains were among the reported improvements:

Read more

Lean Foundations in English and Spanish

The Peters Company is offering two one-day workshops on the foundational principles of Lean–also known as the Toyota Production System. Delivered either in English or Spanish, this introductory workshop uncovers basic concepts that have helped organizations across the globe develop their workforce and dramatically improve their bottom line.

English Language
Thursday, October 10, 2019  
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wilsonville, Oregon
Spanish Language
Friday, October 18, 2019
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wilsonville, Oregon

Students will understand what Lean is, define the value stream and standard work, recite the seven wastes and begin to identify them in processes, and contrast value-added vs. non-value-added activity.

Lean vs. traditional management, understand and apply The Five Whys tool, describe the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle (PDCA), and learn management concepts that create an effective Lean organization.

Define, implement and monitor results of 5S, point of use and visual controls. See how workplace organization eliminates waste. Learn ways to standardize and sustain improvements.

Know the difference between flow and batch, why we strive for one piece flow. Students engage in a fun and popular simulation to learn how flow is established in an organization. 


  • Cost is $500/person, which includes workshop and handbook ($350 Lean Consortium members).
  • Send the company, first and last name, mobile number and email address to epeters@petersco.net
  • Deadline to register: October 1 at 12 noon. No cancellations after that date.

Questions? Call 503-250-2235

Policy Deployment Workshop for Leaders

The Peters Company is offering a high-velocity Policy Deployment workshop for company executives and senior managers on June 12, 2019 in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Many companies “do Lean things” that deliver incremental, scattershot improvements, yet fail to achieve breakthrough results. Every leader faces the challenge of how to translate vision into measurable improvements that transform the organization into a Lean enterprise.

Lean organizations use Policy Deployment to connect annual objectives with the long-term strategy of a company – in a way that makes sense for every employee. Also known as “Hoshin Kanri” or “Hoshin Planning,” it is a disciplined methodology to reliably execute strategic breakthroughs. Policy Deployment links daily activity with leadership’s vision. 

Participants will walk away with a launch point for this powerful planning and deployment process. Key topics:

  • Policy Deployment vs. Management by Objectives 
  • Policy Deployment and Lean Implementation 
  • Strategic and tactical tools 
  • Tips for successful planning and development
  • Aligning functional strategy to 
    business strategy
  • Translating a plan into action

This hands-on workshop shows how to go beyond “doing lean things” to becoming a Lean company. Participants will learn how to choose the right goals for an organization through an effective feedback process. They will understand and begin to work with important tools and concepts, such as the X-Matrix and Catchball. They will discover how to focus and align strategy with resources to accomplish strategic goals.

Who Should Attend: Company executives and senior managers. A team approach is recommended.


Cost is $600/person. Three or more from the same company at $500/person. Discounts available for Lean Consortium members.

For more information and to register, contact Elizabeth Peters at 503-250-2235 or epeters@petersco.net.

DEADLINE: Registrations due June 5. No cancellations after that date.

Keeping Things Moving

“The Lean concept of continuous flow delivers big for Oregon’s nurseries,” reported Jon Bell in the May, 2019 edition of Digger magazine.

“Twenty people to five. A quarter-mile span to 20 feet. One week to 20 minutes. What do these all have in common? They are all some of the head-scratching efficiencies that individual nurseries across Oregon have realized since they’ve implemented one key Lean concept — continuous flow. In short, it means efficiently moving materials through a streamlined production process from start to finish.”

Read the full story here.

Creating Standard Work

Digger magazine’s May, 2019 issue takes an in-depth look at four essential Lean concepts. Writer Jon Bell focused on a make-or-break topic for any organization that wants to sustain Lean over time: Standard Work.

“At its most basic, the Lean concept of standard work is simply defining the most efficient method to accomplish a task or produce a product and then following that method without deviation,” wrote Bell. “It breaks down the methods into detailed, manageable steps that eliminate waste and ensure that every employee is essentially working on the process in the exact same way.”

Read the full story here.

Organizing spaces with 5S

“Many nurseries deploying Lean to make their processes less wasteful have found that organizing work spaces is a crucial part of their approach,” wrote Bill Goloski in the May, 2019 edition of Digger magazine.

“To do this, they are deploying a Lean methodology called “5S.” The letters stand for 1) sort, 2) set in order, 3) shine, 4) standardize and 5) sustain.”

“5S is about creating a culture of respect,” Elizabeth Peters, Lean consultant with The Peters Company, said. “When we have a clean, safe, orderly and visual workplace, we have improved employee morale, less searching for what’s needed, and better productivity.”

Read the full story here.

Identifying Value and Waste

A central focus of Lean is finding process steps that add value, and identifying and reducing those that don’t add value from the customer’s perspective.

In the May, 2019 edition of Digger magazine, Editor Curt Kipp takes a look at how some Oregon nurseries have increased productivity and improved workplace morale by thoughtfully applying this concept in their businesses.

“By reducing waste, companies can make better use of existing resources, improve their throughput and increase their margins,” Kipp wrote. “But to accomplish this, companies must enlist their employees as partners in the process. Otherwise, they risk the perception that it’s all about cutting workforce, when it’s not. It’s about making the most of one’s workforce and other resources.”

Read the full story here.

Digger Magazine Coverage of Oregon Lean Consortium

Digger magazine recently posted news of the Oregon Lean Consortium’s 2019 launch. Check out the story here!

The longstanding industry magazine is published by the Oregon Association of Nurseries, a non-profit trade association that represents more than 700 individual nursery stock producers, retailers, landscapers and related companies serving the nursery and greenhouse industry.

Oregon Lean Consortium launches new program year

The Oregon Lean Consortium welcomed two new companies as it launched its 2019 program year with a planning workshop on January 15. Seven diverse horticulture businesses will work together on process improvement for the next 12 months:

  • Bailey Nurseries, Yamhill
  • Eshraghi Nursery, Hillsboro
  • JLPN Liners, Salem
  • Marion Ag Service, Saint Paul
  • Peoria Gardens, Albany
  • Robinson Nursery, McMinnville
  • Weyerhaeuser Western Regeneration, Aurora/Turner

The Oregon Lean Consortium is a small group of companies that work together to learn lean principles and methods, and then apply them to processes in each other’s businesses over the course of one year.

The Peters Company facilitates these consortiums, delivering all of the training, materials, tools, and event coordination to bring outcomes that exceed participants’ expectations. Some results from the 2018 program year include:

  • 32% productivity increase on a seedling cutting extraction and grading process
  • Reduced order fulfillment process steps from 262 to 126.
  • Increased productivity 108% on a greenhouse plant selecting process

“Last year was filled with exciting kaizen events and results to prove it,“ said Jonathan Villasenor of Robinson Nursery. “2019 will be no exception to the consistent improvements that are yielded from the consortium.”

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. The system engages everyone in the organization to continuously improve. “Our highest gains are from the encouraging attitudes instilled in our employees,” said Chris Lee with Eshraghi Nurseries.

For more information, visit http://petersco.net/consortium. To learn more and get involved, contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-250-2235 or epeters@petersco.net.

Oregon Lean Consortium Open to New Members

After another successful year together, the Oregon Lean Consortium is now open to new members for 2019.

The Oregon Lean Consortium is a tight-knit group of companies that work together to learn Lean principles and methods, and then apply them to processes in each other’s businesses. Each company engages three people who are trained and serve on improvement events—called “kaizen”—at different sites throughout the year.

These kaizen events (highly focused, rapid improvement activities) involve direct, hands-on changes at the hosting company with a professional facilitator. The team makes rapid changes to immediately reduce waste and help create standard work for a process.

“Participating with the Oregon Lean Consortium we started to ask what would it look like if our business was the best at getting better—and what that would look like to our customers,” said Chris Lee, Eshraghi Nurseries’ Shipping and Inventory Manager. “Interactions with other Consortium members help bridge the gap between Lean concepts and tangible results.”

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. The system engages everyone in the organization to continuously improve. “Our highest gains are from the encouraging attitudes Elizabeth and Rick instill in our employees through the seminars and events,” said Lee.

Six companies participate with the Oregon Lean Consortium today: Smith Gardens Aurora, Marion Ag Service, Robinson Nursery, Eshraghi Nursery, JLPN Liners and Weyerhaeuser/Western Regeneration.

Most members leverage the program to develop Lean thinking and leadership capabilities of their staff. “The Lean Consortium has transformed the way I think and operate–not only at work, but in my personal life,” said Anya Hall, Seed Orchard Supervisor with Weyerhaeuser. “I’ve adopted a new way of thinking that strives to organize, optimize, and innovate. I no longer look at processes as a burden, but as an opportunity to eliminate waste and grow professionally. The Consortium has also taught me leadership and shown me the power of teamwork.”

The 2019 Oregon Lean Consortium begins in January. For more information, visit www.petersco.net/consortiumor contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-250-2235 or epeters@petersco.net for an application form.