Smarthort Strategic Centres

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About Smarthort Strategic Centres

The SmartHort Strategic Centres were designed to help 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. 

Consultancy Fedden USP lead the training, sharing insight on practical management and how to implement Lean. 

Growers who attended the Smarthort Strategic Centre workshops also ran projects in their own businesses and sharing their own lessons throughout the year to improve efficiencies. These projects included:

  • Meshing - combining the process to un-peg, wind up mesh and remove hoops
  • Picking and cleaning multiline packing - reducing walking and movement of packer
  • Onion grading - trialling auto box filling
  • Transplanter / potter

Three SmartHort Strategic Centres were brought into the Farm Excellence programme for Horticulture.

About Volmary Ltd:

  • An independent, growing family business that propagates many millions of bedding plants, perennials, shrubs, vegetables and herbs
  • Based in Wisbech, near Cambridge
  • Stick over 2m cuttings a week during peak production at the Wisbech site
  • Almost 70% of their business takes place in just 3 months of the year
  • Dealing with these seasonal peaks, with a challenging labour market (30% of seasonal staff offered employment in 2019 didn’t turn up to work), was one of the reasons they signed up to the SmartHort programme.

14 growers from six businesses attended four workshops being held throughout 2019 and 2020. 

Volmary will be focusing on implementing Lean changes to the following areas of their business: 

  • Sticking
  • Potting
  • Workplace organisation

About Thomas Thomson:

  • Soft fruit grower, mainly blueberries and cherries
  • Based in Blairgowrie, Perthshire
  • Season from late July to late October
  • Growing and packing on site
  • 15 permanent staff and over 400 seasonal workers

12 growers from six businesses are attending four workshops being held throughout 2019 and 2020. 

Thomas Thomson will be focusing on implementing Lean changes to their picking process.

About Haygrove:

  • Grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries and blackberries 
  • Situated near Ledbury, Herefordshire
  • Employ 650 staff at peak
  • 60 crop producing hectares
  • As well as farms in UK, also have farms in South Africa, Portugal and China.

29 growers from ten businesses are attending four workshops being held throughout 2019 and 2020. 

Haygrove will be focusing on implementing Lean changes to their picking process.



Learn more about the principles of Lean management by watching the videos of the SmartHort Lean Modules.

Visit the Smarthort page to access more information about managing labour and efficiences in your business.

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