Kent-based Provender Nurseries was formed on 2 January 2013, following a merger between Wyevale East Nurseries and East Horticulture. The new company is now benefitting from a number of improvements introduced by Gosport-based Lean business specialists Fedden USP, recently Highly Commended in the Small/Medium Business of the Year category of The Portsmouth News Business Excellence Awards.
Customers were confused by the two previous companies as East Horticulture supplied basic landscape needs such as sundries, stone and aggregates, and Wyevale East Nurseries provided a wide range of quality plants from landscape basics to something a bit different; customers were aware that the two businesses were interlinked, but didn’t understand where ‘one started and the other finished’. As a result, Provender Nurseries was formed.
Prior to the merger, Fedden USP was called in to Wyevale to make improvements to how the business was organised to improve efficiencies and reduce wastage. They undertook a five day interactive Lean Improvement Workshop setting team problem solving scenarios to demonstrate lean techniques and apply the learning.
By the end of the training, the teams had to produce viable business improvement proposals and these included re-organising the tool store, which will save well over 185 man hours per year and re-organising the order bay, which is projected to save 1,180 man hours. Attention is now being directed to 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, is delighted with the results of the training commenting: “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 benefitted from the added bonus 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, undertook the training with Wyevale and was impressed with the effort put in by the team, adding: “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. I am sure that the projects will continue to deliver improvements in the long run”.
This is just the latest in a series of successful projects where Fedden USP has been able to assist garden centres and nurseries in a variety of ways. And Fedden now has a new offering which will benefit its clients further – the Lean Academy, which aims to train future LEAN Champions with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make improvements to their own businesses. This hands-on course, delivered in conjunction with MIT Skills, shows participants the practical application of LEAN Principles in today’s business environment in order to improve profits through continuous improvement.
Companies should focus on the development of their employees to create LEAN Champions to lead improvements within their business. As Neil Fedden, Principal Consultant with Fedden USP, explains: “Lean Academy participants will benefit from sharing ideas with other like-minded individuals, learning from best practice site visits to other companies to see how they have implemented and benefitted from LEAN and, at the same time, gaining a National Recognised Qualification. Their businesses are likely to benefit from reduced lead times, productivity improvements and increased customer service levels; in fact, it is worth noting that business savings in excess of £30,000 per year are expected from each delegate”.