Pan American was able to reduce their production staff from 18 to 8. Here is how they accomplished it with the help of Bellpark Horticulture.
Solving the Labor Problem
Growers face a number of challenges but none as large as labor shortages and issues that affect their production. Finding staff that will work in a greenhouse/nursery environment is difficult and time consuming. Labor is often the highest expense for growers.
As every grower knows, reliable workers are hard to keep. In todays market, no one likes to work a labor intensive job, in harsh weather conditions for low wages. Those that do, usually have no choice and given the opportunity, will move on to something better.
In our case study, Pan American is a normal North American grower success story. Why is it normal? Because just like every other grower of their size, they constantly struggled with interruptions in their production lines. In todays market, labor availability is down and production costs are up. Growers know that automation is the solution but the cost and uncertainty that comes along with a project of this size brings doubts, anxiety and numerous band-aid solutions.
- 18 line employees with necessary management.
- Older, unreliable potting equipment with less than ideal filling quality.
- Manual pot de-stacking.
- Manual pot loading/unloading.
- Manual spacing of pots.
Why Should I Automate?
Automation is a proven way to make businesses more efficient and profitable. The return on investment is 1 to 3 years but is often between 1 to 2 years. When you are able to decrease your labor liability by 50%, increase your product quality and have your equipment investment paid for within 2 years, that’s an effective step in the right direction.
Labor is expensive and problematic. Some tasks will wear your employees down. Providing better quality jobs will attract long term employees. This is a key component to the success of any horticultural organization.
Product quality is important for growers. When your product looks its best, it attracts the attention of buyers and makes it easier to sell.
But It’s Not Just About Buying Equipment
Most growers attend trade shows and look at many different equipment solutions from many different suppliers. Each supplier tells them why their product is the best and the right fit for their operation. This is time consuming and growers are busy people. Ambitions of solving operational challenges, soon turn into a new planting season and another year of just “making it work.” Change is hard and knowing where to start is too.
The key things that growers should pay strict attention to are:
- Choosing a turnkey solutions provider who can evaluate their current operations, work with the grower to plan a layout solution that will best work with their current and future expanding infrastructure.
- Choosing a service department with a track record of success with installing new systems & training staff in a timely manner that fits within their production schedule.
- Equipment integration and compatibility with other brands.
- Performance, reliability, service and support after the sale.
The Bellpark Solution
In the end, Pan American was able to:
- Integrate their workforce into the new system resulting in a reduction from 18 to 8 full time workers on their production line.
- Increase their product quality and attracted the attention of new buyers.
- Pay for their new production line within one to two years!
Bellpark Horticulture has knowledgable project consultants on staff. If you would like to find out about how we can partner to develop specific solutions for your unique business, please contact us.
Pan American Labor Savings Project Included:
- Mayer 2400E Potting Machine
- Visser Buffer Conveyors
- Visser ViMax Wide Belt Conveyor with Optional Misting System.
- Visser ViToy Nursery Forklift with 2 Tier Double Transport Forks.