The Lean Way

The HTA’s Lean Initiative continues to grow from strength to strength with a new lean menu now available outlining the workshops, audits and bootcamps available to help your business adopt lean.

Over the past few years over 60 HTA member garden centres and nurseries have benefitted from taking a lean approach to their businesses. The average saving per business is £50,000 which clearly demonstrates the tangible benefit of taking on the principles of lean. Pioneered by large manufacturing companies, such as Toyota, lean helps to improve productivity as well as reduce lead time and costs.

HTA Lean consultant Neil Fedden, said “In the current economic climate no business can afford to be complacent about increasing costs and competition. Lean provides a healthy business option for the garden centres that achieves real and lasting results including cost savings.”

Two companies to benefit from lean are Wiltshire based Whitehall Garden Centre and their supplier Allensmore Nurseries based in Herefordshire. Both companies undertook a 4-day Lean Implementation Workshop to look at how they could make improvements within their own businesses but also work together more closely to make it easier to order and replenish stocks thereby increasing sales potential.

As a result Allensmore Nurseries identified £55K per annum savings by improving the flow of products through their despatch area as well as introducing continuous improvement meetings to allow staff at all levels to solve reoccurring problems permanently. Whitehall Garden Centre identified £100K of slow moving stock which they plan on working with their suppliers to reduce and replace with faster moving stock – for the benefit of all.

Another business reaping the benefits of lean is Oakover Nurseries based in Ashford, Kent. Their aim was to engage staff in continuous improvement in order to reduce operational costs and improve customer service levels. One of the improvements to come out of lean for them is an increase in throughput in the potting areas by providing visual and multi-lingual instructions allowing agency staff to safely and efficiently operate the potting machines.

Brian Fraser, sales and business manager of Oakover Nuseries said, “All of the lean workshops have produced efficiencies for our business in addition to making our working practices simpler providing an even bigger benefit for our employees. Lean for me is about the business solving its own created problems.”

For a copy of the Lean Menu or to find out more about Lean please contact HTA Lean Consultant Neil Fedden. Tel: 07899 971183. Email:

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