It was in 1976 when John Huntington moved his family from Connecticut to purchase Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon, New Hampshire. At the time they had 10 employees handling 3 greenhouses covering 20,000 square feet or half an acre.
Today Pleasant View Gardens is in the 3rd generation of the Huntington family running the business. They have grown to 13 acres or almost 600,000 square feet split between 2 locations; one in Loudon, NH with 6 acres, and the other in Pembroke, NH with 7 acres. They now have 280 employees working between the 2 locations.
Pleasant View Gardens has 2 product lines. The first product line are young plants they sell to other greenhouses and growers. The second product line are finished plants they sell to retail and wholesale growers in New England.
“We looked at our operation as if it was a manufacturing facility rather than greenhouse,” said Mike Goyette, Operations Manager for Pleasant View Gardens. “So out of necessity to improve our operating margin, we needed to look at how we do our work more efficiently and more effectively with better balance.”
In order to improve their operating margins Mike knew they had to move into a Lean manufacturing type of environment. But how do they go about doing that? “What we needed to find was a Lean training program that would get our employees involved and get their buy-in throughout the process.”
Around the time Mike was contemplating finding a Lean training program, their HR Manager came across NH MEP and the various training opportunities they provide to manufacturers in New Hampshire. One of those training opportunities was in Lean. They met with an NH MEP Project Manager who helped them develop an on-site Lean Training and Implementation Program to meet their needs.
The training mentored and educated employees at the client’s site in Principles of Lean, Value Stream Mapping, and execution of Kaizen events. The hands-on experience with the mentoring role would create the workforce skills necessary to recreate and expand the Lean continuous improvement culture throughout the organization.
“The number 1 thing we have gotten out of doing Lean is from the visuals,” said Goyette. “5S has had the biggest impact especially with our multilingual workforce. We use many different colors that speak to various processes making them easily understood by everyone.”
“Lean sets and emphasizes the culture that we’re looking for. We want our employees to have the right cadence in their job. Lean teaches us that out on the floor if there is down time, and 1 person is working too fast, we’re not balanced. We are really focused on balance and flow.”
The following results for Pleasant View Gardens can be credited to having gone through NH MEP’s Lean Training and Implementation Program:
- $500,000 in new sales over the last 12 months
- Retained sales of $600,000 over the last 12 months that otherwise would have been lost
- Created 3 new jobs over the last 12 months
- Retained 4 jobs over the last 12 months
- $150,000 cost savings in labor, materials energy, overhead or other areas over the last 12 months
- Increased investment of $200,000 in plant or equipment over the last 12 months
- Increased investment of $15,000 in workforce practices or employee skills over the last 12 months
- Avoided $10,000 of any unnecessary investments or saved on any investments in the past 12 months
Upcoming Lean Webinars:
Thursday, April 15th, 9 am – 11 am – Value Stream Mapping Info Session
Wednesday, May 5th, 9 am – 12 pm – Principles of Lean Manufacturing
For more information or to learn how NHMEP can setup an onsite Lean training program for your company, please contact Training Coordinator Jill Duddy at 603-226-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Partnering with NH MEP has been a valuable experience which has helped us develop and refine our Lean journey. Our relationship with NH MEP has opened doors to networking opportunities with other manufacturers in our region. Having the ability to see how other businesses implement Lean in their own way drives idea generation and implementation velocity in our own operation.”