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Applying lean and supply chain optimization to nursery operations

As a full-service provider of lean business and supply chain consulting services, FlowVision works with various clients, including multiple nurseries, to optimize processes and reduce labor requirements. With its nursery clients, FlowVision focuses on implementing lean in propagation, production, and shipping. For propagation, FlowVision applies a progressive technique to sticking where a team of people put together one tray rather than having one person per tray.

“By working in an assembly line environment, growers can increase productivity by 25-40% and have a better stick production than if one person sticking the whole tray themselves,” says founding partner Gary Cortes.

FlowVision also applies lean methods to transplanting, although it depends on the number of plugs inserted per pot. For greenhouse processes, Gary explains that lean can be applied when designing a new greenhouse or in an existing greenhouse, meaning that all growers can benefit from lean concepts.

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Optimization of shipping and rack management
FlowVision has developed lean and supply management processes for shipping and order preparation. Through FlowVision’s supermarket system, growers bring their product into the shipping area which becomes the “supermarket”. Workers are then given a shopping list or rack sheet, which indicates where to find the product to be loaded onto a rack. Once loaded, the racks are all positioned near the loading dock to get loaded.

According to Gary, the supermarket system allows growers to reduce the amount of non-value-added work by reducing the travel time in the pulling process. Based on actual implementations growers achieve a 20-30% labor savings with the supermarket system. For customers without rolling racks thus unable to fully implement the supermarket system, FlowVision uses a pre-stage method where racks  are lined up and workers use rack sheets to deliver plants to certain racks.

Both the supermarket system and pre-stage systems work hand-in-hand with FlowVision’s patented Rack Item Optimizer (RIO), which uses a patented algorithm to calculate the number of racks are needed per order and optimizes product placement on said racks. FlowVision is consistently looking to improve its product offering and has recently upgraded RIO to include new features.

“We just introduced a new availability module, since growers don’t always know how much they have. Sometimes, sales are made then the grower realizes they don’t have enough product. This new module makes it easy to see how much you have. If there is not enough inventory to fulfill the orders, RIO gives the user a warning message “Not enough inventory”. It also allows growers to track crop progress,” says Gary.

FlowVision at Cultivate’21- Booth 1609
FlowVision will be demoing this new module at its Cultivate’21 booth, #1609. FlowVision will also be involved with two sessions at Cultivate’21: lean in sales and marketing and a joint presentation with CC Racks on load consolidation.

Lean Flow in Sales and Marketing
Sunday, July 11 - 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

Load Consolidation Program that Helps Growers and Retailers
Tuesday, July 13 - 9:30 am - 10:30 am

For more information:

FlowVision LLC
7535 Crooked Oak Ct
Parker, CO 80134 USA
T: (970) 262-6536
[email protected]