Continuous Improvement in Nova Scotia Agriculture
NSFA, through Farm and Workforce Development, is working towards fostering a culture of “continuous improvement” within our agriculture community. Continuous Improvement seeks to improve processes in your operation by focusing on enhancing the activities that generate the most value while removing as many waste activities as possible.
There are many things out of a farm owners control that can impact their business – increasing input costs, labour shortages and market price for products are just a few. We want to support our members in their efforts to change what they can. With improved products, services, and increased efficiencies; the goal is for our farm operators to do more with less.
Traditional thinking typically tells us, “We’ve managed thus far”, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, “We’ll handle problems as they come up”. With a mindset focused on continuous improvement, this changes to “There is a better way, we just need to find it” and “Tomorrow can be made better by today’s actions”
For a quick, practical demonstration, check out this video on packing food boxes and how CI practices improved the process: Meals Per Hour
Ways continuous improvement practices could be applied to your operation
Standardization of work
Standardizing the work done on your farm helps prevent mistakes, improve quality and reduce costs. An example of how this might be done is through introducing ‘Employee Standard Work’. On a processing line, this might be managed with visuals and show an employee what to do, how to do it, the pace and quality expected as well as how to do it safely.
5S is a ‘lean’ methodology that results in a workplace that is clean, uncluttered, safe, and well organized to help reduce waste and optimize productivity. It’s designed to help build a quality work environment, both physically and mentally. The 5 S’s are: Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.
We have a 5S worksheet available for use HERE
8 Areas of Waste
There are typically 8 ‘areas of waste’ found in operations ; places where where efficiencies could be found. They are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overprocessing, Overproduction, Defects, and Skills.
A quick guide on these 8 areas can be found HERE
Continuous Improvement Learning Opportunities
Check out some of these free, online, self-paced courses on the NSFA SkillsPass Platform:
Lean Productivity: An introduction to productivity in the workplace with six courses presented in 15 minute segments.
Understanding Lean Production: Four courses which include: Applying Value Stream Mapping in Lean Business, Using Lean to Improve Flow and Pull, Using Lean to Perfect Organizational Processes, and Using Lean to Reduce Waste and Streamline Value Flow.
Visit https://nsfa.skillspass.com/ to create an account and enroll
Also available is this Leaner Business Guide offered by the BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada)