Lean management methods for farmers and growers

Lean management, often referred to as 'Lean', is a method to make businesses more efficient. Find out how the principles of Lean can help you to create more value and reduce waste.

As part of our Smart campaigns, we are championing Lean business methods and believe the adoption can help improve productivity for farmers and growers.

What is Lean?

The concept, Lean management stems from Japanese philosophy known as Kaizen, which means ‘change for the better’. The Kaizen philosophy teaches us to make small changes over time, to create improvements within a business, recognising that a small change in the present can make a huge impact in the future.

Lean is a business management methodology based on Kaizen. When implemented, it minimises the waste and maximises the value of a product for the end customer, without compromising quality. Lean encompasses three key concepts:

  1. Delivering more customer value.
  2. Minimising waste.
  3. Continuously improving.

If these concepts are embraced, a culture of continuous improvement is created. Successful implementation of Lean in the agriculture and horticulture industry, requires both management and staff to adopt it. It is crucial that staff are able to differentiate between the processes that add value, and those classified as waste. Staff-led continuous improvement makes sure that achievements are not only sustainable, but that members of staff have the skills to identify future business improvements.

The Lean management philosophy

From car manufacturing to the production of electronic devices, agricultural and horticultural production requires a series of processes. Find out more about the philosophy behind Lean management and how it can help you to maximise value and minimise waste.

Read more about the origins and principles of Lean management

Why use Lean management? An EUPiG case study

The beauty of Lean management is that any industry or business model can adopt it. Importantly, Lean is a proven way to increase the profitability and performance of a business. This is done using a number of Lean methods, designed to investigate the effectiveness of your production line and reduce the least productive areas, in your business.

When implemented, it benefits your customers as well as your team members. As part of the EUPiG programme, Pat O'Keeffe Piggeries implemented Lean, resulting in substantial savings.

Read more about the EUPiG Lean Improvement | Pat O'Keeffe Piggeries Case study

The 5 principles of Lean

When the 5 Lean principles are combined into a company's processes and culture, they create Lean production, manufacturing, and operating systems. By adopting these 5 principles, you can significantly enhance the productivity of your business.

Read more about the 5 principles of Lean

The wastes of Lean

Waste comes in many forms and, collectively, it hinders productivity and the efficiency of your supply chain. By identifying the many forms of waste, you can begin to reduce it.

Waste is any step in a process that does not add value to the customer whether that’s time, wasted skills or excessive transportation. There are three types of waste in Lean management – Muda, Muria, and Muri. This includes the eight wastes, often referred to by the acronym TIMWOODS.

Read more about the wastes of Lean
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