In 2003 Richard East developed a company called East Horticulture with the view to creating a business that supplied basic landscape needs: sundries, stone and aggregates. He then set up a partnership with Wyevale Nurseries and employed Richard McKenna to manage the day-to-day running and development of the site. The ethos behind Wyevale East Nurseries was to source a wide range of quality plants from the landscape basics to something a bit different.
The site grew significantly over the years, however, customers got confused over the two businesses being interlinked and didn’t understand where ‘one started and the other finished’. In addition, too many customers were put off by the name, thinking that the business was linked to the Garden Centre Group and, as a result, not all members of the trade believed that Wyevale East could be a credible wholesale business. This led to the merger of East Horticulture (the sundry business) and Wyevale East Nurseries under the new name of Provender Nurseries, which started trading on 2nd January 2013.
Lean Workshop Opportunity & Objectives
Prior to the merger, Fedden USP was called into Wyevale to make improvements to how the business was organised to improve efficiencies and reduce wastage. A Lean Improvement Workshop was held which covered the following topics:
- Basic principles of Lean and its origins
- Putting Together Effective Improvement Teams
- Workplace Organisation Techniques
- Staff-led Continuous Improvement Techniques (Kaizen)
- Process Flow Analysis with the Aim of Improving Productivity
- Carrying Out Lead Time Analysis to Reduce Lead-Times
- Applying Problem Solving Techniques on a Daily Basis
- Creating Standard Operating Procedures to Capture Best Practice
- Root Cause Analysis
- Capacity planning
- Information Waste and process mapping Information Flows
- Preparing Improvement Plans
- Problem Resolution Charts and Visual Management (linking Key Performance Measures to improvement activities)
- Cost/benefit analysis and putting together 1-page improvement projects
- 5 days onsite at company location.
- Interactive workshop, using demonstration and examples specific to the parent company.
- Setting team problem-solving scenarios to demonstrate techniques and apply the learning.
- Training sessions included continuous assessment tests to ensure learning is embedded and applied correctly.
- Workshops encouraged teamwork and enhanced communication techniques.
- The teams had to produce viable business improvement proposals underpinned by cost and benefit analyses.
The projects are ongoing to some extent, but the basic project of organising the tool store saved well over 185 man hours per year. The organisation of the Order Bay is projected to save around 1,180 man-hours per year. The main project focussed on wastage with the aim of reducing the company’s wastage bill of £42k per annum by at least 10%, thereby saving at least £4,200 per year.
Richard Burt, Sales Manager at Provender Nurseries, commented:
“We really like the basic principles behind lean management and being able to place the responsibility of change and therefore ownership in the hands of the team involved on a daily basis. The Staff have benefited from the added benefit of being able to gain an NVQ. After the training the course members were keen to put what they’ve learned into action”.
Grant Baker, Consultant with Fedden USP, added:
“Wyevale embraced the programme and the enthusiasm and commitment of both the management and staff meant that from the first day of training the programme was going to be successful. The team has put in a great effort and I am sure that the projects will continue to deliver improvements in the long run”.