Find resources from the SmartHort programme which includes information on managing labour efficiencies, labour shortages, lean principles, and emerging technology, innovation and robotics for horticulture.

Labour and business management

Calculate your business labour efficiency

Self-assess your company’s labour performance and identify training and resource needs.

Calculate efficiencies

The champion approach

Introducing champions to your business can make an impact on your productivity. Find out more and watch the induction video targetted to your seasonal workers before they step out into the field to help them become a champion picker.

The Champion approach to labour efficiency

Growing Champions in the next generation of pickers

Video: Becoming a champion picker

4 top tips for attracting the best employees

The Association of Labour Providers’ Head of Policy Gillian Haythornthwaite explains how you can attract the best employees to your business.

Attract the pick of the crop

Five ways to keep your workforce returning year after year

Chris Rose, Management Consultant and fruit specialist, provides five top tips that could help retain your seasonal labour and encourage workers to return to your business next year.

Read more

Grow your own workforce

Coronavirus had a significant impact on the availability of seasonal labour for horticulture. We spoke to G’s Marketing Director, Anthony Gardiner, about their marketing campaign to recruit British workers into their business to help plug the gaps.

Grow your workforce

Video: Using your time effectively

This webinar looks at the benefits of taking a step back and assessing what you do in your day-to-day activities. We hear from a farmer who has carried out a 'time log' to see where time-saving improvements can be made, leading to a better work-life balance and more opportunity to concentrate on other important tasks.

Watch this webinar

Video: Operating in a reduced labour market

Listen again to AHDB and a panel of experts talk about the 2020 seasonal labour situation of the horticulture sector and the impact that Covid-19 had on growers operating in a reduced labour market.

Watch this webinar

Using root cause analysis to identify issues

Root cause analysis is a method used to identify the root cause of issues in your business, i.e. why problems occur in the first place. Adopting the technique will eliminate issues from your business and prevent time, money, and resource from being wasted.

Root cause analysis

Lean management

Find resources all about lean management, which is a systematic approach for eliminating wasted effort from all business processes to improve profits.

Principles of lean management

Download this useful poster which outlines the basic principles of lean management.

Lean principles

Lean management for farmers and growers

Find more details and guidance on the lean management principles and how to use and implement them improve your business efficiencies.

More on lean management

Lean: driving waste out of business

Why should you implement lean into your business? Find out here.

Read more

Lean, labour and Lego: Boosting labour productivity in horticulture

How can playing with Lego boost labour productivity in horticulture?

Find out more

Video: Using LEAN techniques to improve labour efficiency in horticulture

In this webinar, Gracie Emeny, AHDB's Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager who leads the SmartHORT programme, hosts a discussion on how LEAN management can help to improve the labour efficiency in horticulture. Joining the discussion are Neil Fedden and David Crowfoot from Fedden USP, experts in LEAN management.

Watch this webinar

Lean modules

This practical online course provides a step by step guide through the application of Lean theory within your business. Through four modules it will help you improve labour productivity, reduce business waste and build your capacity to grow the business.

Access the modules videos

Putting Lean into practice

Three SmartHort Strategic Centres helped growers address the challenges around labour and its rising cost. 

The hosts acted as live case studies to demonstrate how implementing lean principals can help make labour and productivity improvements of between 25-40 per cent. 

Read about the benefits achieved by our SmartHort strategic centre hosts

Technology and robotics

Bespoke autonomous guided vehicles designed for horticulture

Read about the autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) that is being developed that could help transform the horticultural sector and help tackle the labour shortage.

Autonomous guided vehicle

Technology and the future of horticulture: a view from Canada

As part of our SmartHort project to accelerate the uptake of automation and robotics in UK horticulture, we spoke to Saber Miresmailli, Founder & CEO of Ecoation, an AgTech company based in Canada.

A view from Canada

Automation and robotics in 6 Dutch horticultural nurseries

How have nurseries in the Netherlands embedded automation in their businesses?

Automation in Holland

SmartHort Conference

The SmartHort conference examined the potential of new technologies in light of current labour shortages in UK horticulture. Find the recordings and copies of all the presenations.

Smarthort conference