VEGNET Gippsland, the three-year project delivering capacity building services to Gippsland’s vegetable industry, collaborated with Doing Business Better to provide a free, half-day training course on process mapping and LEAN principles for vegetable growers and others involved in horticulture and the supply chain.
South Gippsland Shire provided the venue at Memorial Hall, Leongatha, for 15 growers from across Gippsland and further afield at Baxter and Clyde to attend and broaden their knowledge of ways to identify systemic waste and improve productivity and profitability.
Industry Development Officer at the East Gippsland Food Cluster for Gippsland’s vegetable industry, Shayne Hyman, said feedback from growers was very positive with a 90 per cent relevance rating for the businesses represented at the training course.
“Some growers present had never considered how mapping and streamlining simple processes in the field or greenhouse, in the pack house and in the office would return to them a dividend for their efforts.”
Participants worked their way through a program designed to improve control of the cost of production from waste identification through understanding the value stream and ‘push versus pull’ to the management of good ideas.
On average, 76 per cent new information or knowledge was gained according to the attendees with comments including:
• “This is the most relevant training course I would recommend to my workplace”
• “It was great – definitely got me thinking of new ideas and processes that could be improved in our department.”
• “Great event for the limited time we had.”
“Naturally, half a day of training provides an introduction to the value of process mapping but that value is increased when growers with different scales of operation, different crops and markets, and a variety of skills and experience, come together in the one place to work on a common technique,” Ms Hyman said.
“Add to that the snippets of information about new varieties of produce, workforce changes and personal anecdotes and I’m sure everyone left believing that half a day away from the business and working ‘on’ the business was a worthwhile investment.”
Funds for the workshop came from the vegetable levy and the Australian Government, administered by Horticulture Innovation Australia.
Capacity building ensures growers have access to the latest R&D to improve business performance.
The East Gippsland Food Cluster Inc is contracted to deliver the vegetable capacity building project right across Gippsland from Phillip Island to Mallacoota.
The Cluster is a not-for-profit, industry member-based organisation supporting the vital needs of agrifood in Gippsland.
Now in its eighth year, the East Gippsland Food Cluster is one of the most successful clusters focussing on the smart specialisation of food production in regional Australia.