Labour Efficiency

Labour Efficiency

With rising costs and uncertainty about future access to labour, AHDB Horticulture have started a programme of knowledge exchange activity to help businesses deal with this challenge through improving management practices and supporting skills development. 


Management Practices: 


Supervisory Skills Workshops


Improving management skills for frontline supervisors was identified as one critical way to improve labour efficiency at the SmartHort workshops. The workshops were held across the UK, with over 40 horticultural businesses attending. There are eight workshops taking place around the UK from November 2018. To find out more and to book your free place, click here.



In 2017, Lean consultants Management Performance Ltd (MPL) visited six horticultural businesses to observe and assess their use of labour and review their performance management. While each of the businesses were diverse in their size and crop sectors, there were clear commonalities for areas of improvement across all businesses.

A full report from the visits is available and highlights some key conclusions about how horticultural businesses may be able to make improvements in their own businesses. Find out if you could benefit from any of the recommendations in the report here.

The report from MPL identified clear areas of development that are likely to be applicable to many horticultural businesses. AHDB are now building resources to help address these three key areas: management training support, developing standardising operations procedures and creating performance management systems.



This video, Creating Champion Employees, explains the principles of champion management practices and explains how they could be of use and benefit in your business.

Creating Champion Employees


A series of workshops were held around the UK in 2017 and 2018 to help businesses consider how concepts of Lean, Champion and Continuous Improvement management systems could increase the labour efficiencies in their own business. 


Presentations from the event can be read here: 

Increasing Productivity By Creating Champion Employees - Chris Rose

Lean and Labour Productivity in Horticulture and Agriculture - Neil Fedden

Lean Approach to Continuous Improvement and Labour Efficiency - Peter Bowen

Lean Case Study, Labour Utilisation Summary Report - Stan Willey



Related articles


Improving labour efficiency in a post-Brexit world

Neil Fedden, Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Fedden USP, has been presenting at the workshops. Here he discusses how growers can improve their workforce in a post-Brexit world. Click here to read the article. 


Preparing for a Leaner future

With rising labour costs and uncertainty about future worker availability following Brexit, Gracie Emeny, Knowledge Exchange Manager, AHDB, examines whether adopting Lean principles can help horticultural businesses survive the rocky road ahead. Read the full story here. 


Lean into horticulture

Stan Willey, MPL, explains the key principles of Lean and how they are relevant to all horticulture businesses. Find out more here. 


Let Brexit be the catalyst for change

Hugh Baker, founder of Hub Rural, explains how to ask the difficult questions of your business in the face of Brexit. Read Hugh's article here. 


Why Lean? 

Gary Taylor, AHDB Chairman, explains why he thinks Lean principles are important for horticultural businesses to adopt. Read the full Q & A here.