Save Money By Being Lean in Horticulture

January 4, 2018

Start your new year with a fresh start that saves time, labor, and money. Greenhouse Grower is a major advocate for lean flow and you’ll see why in this article. We’ll explore exactly what lean flow means, how to incoroprate it into your production line and why investing in labeling automation is your first step.

The Principles of Lean Six Sigma
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Lean Six Sigma, often referred to as “lean,” is a method of removing waste in all forms. Waste of time, money, and tangible items are all included in this systematic restructuring. It’s of Japanese origin and focussess on reducing waste in the following areas:

  • Defects
  • Over-Production
  • Waiting
  • Talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Processing
For Greenhouse Grower, flow works with reduction to create an efficient and smooth process. It’s goo to be a lean greenhouse, nursery, or garden center. It’s better to have lean flow.

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Ways To Incorporate it Into Your Business

Intelligently Curated Product Options

If products don’t sell, replace them with something new that customers will want to see on shelf. Also, if you add a product, remove a product. Customers will get overwhelmed when there are too many choices to decide between, so give them your best plant options. ¬†Be flexible with the trends as well. While not every trend will be ideal for your business, you need to make customers want to come back. If you don’t offer what they are looking for, they will look elsewhere. Why risk losing customers over what worked five years ago?

Consider This…


How many shades of color do you need? A vibrant pink and a light pink could work for your customers, but they don’t care about every hue in between. By reducing unnecessary products, you reduce shipping, labeling and labor. So, ultimately, you make the decision making process easier for your customers, and you make business easier on yourself.

Production Floor Layout

Create a lean flow by finding ways to literally make your production line flow. When products halt on the conveyor, your business wastes time, production capabilities, and labor. So, do you currently have a busy single conveyor line? Add a few offshoots. It creates more room to work and provides time for employees to complete tasks. These changes increase in production and productivity.

The less an employee has to hit a moving target, the better. It increases accuracy and gives your employees time to double checking their work. The offshoot conveyors give employees more time to create a quality product for your customers. 

Keep Track of Production Information

Use a simple whiteboard to plan how many products need to be processed and then how many products are actually processed through the day. Keep track of how many people are available on your line to understand capabilities. Then, if your production is running behind, call in more employees. Data helps make informed decisions, and the whiteboard method reduces time in making those decisions.

Creating Flow Reduces Hold Ups

Imagine a crowded single conveyor where, to double check a product, it also means halting oncoming items on the conveyor. With lean flow, products aren’t held up. When one employee halts their section of the line, the conveyor keeps going. This is what flow is all about. Put systems in place that make every single minute a valuable one.

How Labeling Automation Fits With Lean Six Sigma

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Labeling automation is a crucial part of creating lean flow. Go from this…


To this.

Instead of 4 employees acting as label applicators, use 1 employee to operate the labeling system. Now 3 employees can get back to working on tasks that matter. Imagine how much time you save when hunreds of labels are applied in under a minute. The best part about label applicator systems is that they are added to your conveyor line, where convenient. 


Learn about the labeling and automation solutions that Label Gator offers. See how you can save time, money and labor with our Product Guide. Click here to download the guide.

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