In a bid to improve labour efficiencies for horticultural businesses, a campaign has been introduced to encourage the use of lean principles. The AHDB knowledge exchange programme aims to highlight the increase of labour costs and doubts about labour availability post Brexit.
Case studies are already underway as a first stage of the programme with lean consultants MPL Ltd, who are visiting businesses to identify any areas of improvement that can be made.
A wider survey will then be sent to growers over the summer to decipher labour efficiency potential within a range of businesses to help project the affect on the industry as a whole. Regional lean workshops are then planned for autumn 2017 and spring 2018 to share the findings.
“Automation and robotics may offer longer-term solutions, but with increased pressures from rising labour costs due to the National Living Wage and concerns about availability of labour following the Brexit decision, many growers are looking for solutions to help with their labour costs now.” Debbie Wilson, knowledge exchange manager at AHDB.
Tom Hulme of A C Hulme Ltd added “Other than the weather, labour costs and availability are our biggest challenge but also our biggest opportunity. We signed up as we want to understand different ways to look at productivity and also benchmark ourselves against others in the industry. The visit confirmed that we are on the right track but need to stay focused on efficiencies.”
Availability of the lean survey for AHDB Horticulture growers will be summer 2017