Common Sense^2 — How to Apply Lean Principles to the Farm

Rob Hannam speaking on TechTour LIVE.

What do you want to improve on your farm this spring?

As part of TechTour LIVE last month, Rob Hannam of Synthesis Agri-Food Network encouraged farmers to apply “lean” principles to their farm operations. As he explains in the video below, “lean” is a philosophy for reducing loss and waste from a process.

There are five main steps that can be applied to any farm-related process, whether it’s bookkeeping or seeding or marketing:

1. Identify value
2. Map the value stream
3. Create consistent flow (count, measure, make visual)
4. Identify solutions (spaghetti diagram, ask 5 whys)
5. Strive for perfection (and then go back to number 1)

Hannam suggests identifying which processes add the most value, and then going through these steps to reduce waste and the odds of mistakes happening.

Hang on, you might say. That sounds like what people used to call “common sense.”

“It’s common sense at the next level. What I called it for the group here is common sense squared,” he says. “How do I get to that next level? I start measuring, I start writing it down. That’s the next step.”

Rob explains how lean principles can be applied to your farm:

Related: Trim the Waste: Program Applies Lean Principles to Farm Management


Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor for Real Agriculture based near Altona, Manitoba. Prior to joining Real Ag he spent more than 10 years working in radio. He farms with his father near Rosenfeld, MB and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin


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