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Lean is an approach most commonly used in manufacturing to drive continuous improvements and efficiencies that utilise less time, effort and resources thereby giving greater returns.
Dairygold’s Continuous Improvement (CI)/lean journey began in 2011 with support from Enterprise Ireland where we commenced to apply lean principles across our processing and supply chain operations. Through this Continuous Improvement (CI)/lean programme, we examined each element of our processes to identify problems and in turn solutions. Transforming the way in which we think and work has delivered greater efficiencies and financial savings in our business.
Believing that such learnings should be extended beyond our factory floors, we implemented a pilot programme at farm level in 2017.
With the guidance and support from our CI coaching staff and Milk Advisors, a pilot group of farmers of varying scale and herd size implemented lean tools and techniques over a period of six months.
The results of the pilot programme clearly demonstrated that the application of lean principles on-farm also offers significant efficiencies and benefits such as improvements in farm safety and quality, better resource efficiency, time-saving as well as reduced stress and physical labour.
Based on the positive results and feedback achieved, we now believe the initiative should be extended to our broader organisation and as such we are pleased to roll-out Leanfarm to our Members.
Educational training sessions have commenced and are being made available to milk suppliers across Dairygold’s catchment area.
This Continuous Improvement/ lean knowledge-sharing programme is in line with our objective to help Members maximise their return from farming.
In 2017, we completed a six-month pilot of 15 farmers of varying scale, herd size and locations which proved that the application of ‘lean’ techniques and principles at farm level also had significant benefits.
With guidance and support from our Continuous Improvement (CI) team, our pilot farmers attributed the integration of lean to achieving improved farm safety, quality and resource efficiency, and an enhanced quality of life through time-saving, reduced stress and physical labour.
The Lean Farm pilot proved so successful that the Board of Dairygold has approved the roll-out of the programme to all our milk suppliers.