“Lean” principles originally developed to increase efficiency and reduce waste in the automobile manufacturing sector are being applied in many other business and process-related sectors, including primary agriculture.
Toyota is often credited as the first company to develop and intentionally implement Lean principles in their assembly lines decades ago. Last year, the Agri-Food Management Institute, working together with the Synthesis Agri-Food Network, launched the AgLean Master Class program to help farmers follow these practices and improve their operational efficiency.
- Identify value.
- Identify the value stream
— what creates value?
- Create a better flow.
- Establish pull.
- Strive for perfection.
“Lean principles are a set of essentially five steps that can apply into any process, whether it’s a manufacturing process, a business process, or an office process,” explains Garth Baxter, a coach with the AgLean Master Class program in the video below.
These steps help producers identify and eliminate the root causes of waste on a farm, whether it’s equipment downtime or other efficiencies that add to a farm’s cost of production, he explains.
A new six-month AgLean class is set to begin in September (enrolment is limited to 12 farmers or on-farm processors.) Participants in the program spend a total of four days in a classroom setting, with telephone coaching scheduled between the face-to-face meetings. As Baxter explains, each participant selects and works on improving a specific project or process in their business.
Editor disclosure: RealAg’s Bernard Tobin is also a part-time consultant with the Synthesis Network.