How to Make Agriculture More Profitable
Can a management philosophy from the Japanese car industry really make farming in North American more profitable? Yes it can, according to researchers at the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (JTI), who have studied how the Lean production model can successfully be introduced into milk, pork and grain production.
Centered on preserving value with less work and based on a production system created by Toyota in Japan, Lean is a system optimization management philosophy successfully used for many years in the manufacturing industry; as well as more recently in other areas, such as health care and public administration. The key motivation for employing Lean production in agriculture is that it reduces waste in terms of resources and time, while at the same time creating added value – for the customer, the business and the employees. In a nutshell Lean means fine-tune operations to improve efficiency.
Lean manufacturing philosophy is based on making use of employees’ commitment and good ideas – those who know the system best – to find more efficient ways to get the job done. This involvement is integral as any changes to work processes and company culture must come from within and be firmly established ‘on the floor’. At the same time, new ideas and working methods will also affect the work environment. Therefore buy-in from those that it will directly impact is vital.
However, while it may sound like a one-size-fits-all solution, Lean production is all about individual business development, and must be adapted differently every time to suit each farm or agricultural operation. The fact that one way of system optimization works on one farm does not mean that it will also work on the next, as the physical and psychosocial work environments will differ.
For more information about Lean, or if you have any questions regarding system optimization and efficiency, please Contact Us