FlowVision Husqvarna ION White Paper

By Dave Pytel, Founding Partner FlowVision. LLC.

To be a high volume manufacturer in the United States, you have to be lean. One might think that The Husqvarna Group, specifically the plant in Nashville, Arkansas, called on FlowVision,LLC to streamline manufacturing to stay alive in the highly competitive worldwide markets. This was not the case for Nashville. We came upon a well oiled machine on the production floor. Floor kanban systems, a clean and well organized environment, and lines that hummed to a 15 second beat were all in place and working well.

In short, we were not here to fix the machine, but to help them figure out how to feed the machine in a way that kept the production floor running smoothly, but also, and this was the key reason for our visit, to ensure that their customers had what they wanted, when they wanted it.

The Husqvarna Nashville plant makes chain saws, blowers, trimmers, and other related products. Many of the products are seasonal, and the plant services a wide variety of customer segments. A large volume, but relatively low number of configurations go to the big box stores like Lowes and Walmart. A much higher variety of products go through the dealer network, typically at lower volumes. In addition, this plant exports a large amount of items to other countries, a testament to the efficiency of this plant, and to the management team led by
Tony Cochran (General Manager), and Steve Harvill (Plant Manager).

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Husqvarna and FlowVision's ION Software Featured in Supply Chain World Magazine

Brighter Forecasts
Husqvarna distributes products through a network of roughly 40 U.S. distribution points ranging in size from large centers serving customers nationwide to specialized facilities focused on regional dealers and accessory warehouses offering replacement parts.

The company serves a global network of authorized dealers as well as large retailers including Lowes, Sears and Home Depot. Premium products are marketed globally under the Husqvarna brand. The company also offers products under specialized and regional brands, including Jonsered, McCulloch, WeedEater and Klippo. The wide variety and global reach of Husqvarna's products, as well as their seasonal nature, present a challenge for its supply chain organization. "We essentially produce lawn care products over a six-month period," Wolowiecki notes. "We need to meet our demand and satisfy our customers over that period, or miss our target for the whole year. The same is true for snow products in the winter season." Husqvarna is working to strengthen its sales and operations planning and forecasting processes to address this challenge.

The company receives point-of- sale information from its big-box retail customers to assist it in planning. It also recently implemented the ION software from FlowVision to help manage its inventory and production demand. "ION gives us a more intelligent, algorithm-based demand forecast, where previously we just did everything on spreadsheets," Wolowiecki says. Read Entire Article

FlowVision Customer Van Belle Nusery featured in Nursery Management Magazine - Light on their feet

In an industry where variables are frequent, Van Belle Nursery has built an exceptionally efficient growing facility that fosters people, plants and processes.

The Van Belle family modeled its expertly organized growing operation after the Dutch system including automation and high-tech greenhouses. Van Belle grows young plants and finished containers in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada—a locale of like-minded and high-tech growers Read Entire Article


FlowVision Featured in Grower Talks - Embracing Change

When times get tough, it’s the mid-sized guys that feel it the most. And you can either go down with the ship or change course.

North Creek Nurseries president Steve Castorani and general manager Tim McGinty knew they needed to make improvements to their business, but “business” always got in the way. However, as other growers and hort companies near their area of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, began implementing the Lean Flow program to parts of their business, their interest was piqued.   Read Entire Article


FlowVision Featured in Greenhouse Grower - Make Your Business A Lean, Mean Machine

Walter Gravagna, the president of Van de Wetering Greenhouses, had heard of lean manufacturing concept, but he found it to be rather elusive.

After increasing his plug tray sticking production by more than 20 percent just two hours after implementing a new progressive sticking method, Gravagna doesn’t feel that way anymore. Read Entire Article

FlowVision Customer James Greenhouses featured in Greenhouse Grower Magazine Boost Your Bottom Line In Labor

One area growers and business owners in general feel powerless to control is rising health care costs. As providers of this employee benefit, growers often feel they are at the mercy of the insurance providers each year when it comes time to renew the coverage plan. And new federal regulations that are just beginning to be phased in have created a cloud of uncertainty.

We shared what growers are doing to address this problem during a panel discussion we presented at the OFA Short Course this summer called “Boost Your Bottom Line.” The panelists were from our four Operation of the Year finalists: Bobby Barnitz (Bob’s Market and Greenhouses), Ken James (James Greenhouses), Marc Clark (Rocket Farms) and Al Mueller (Emerald Coast Growers). Read Entire Article

FlowVision Featured in the November 2010 issue of GMPro Magazine - How to Better Manage Hard Goods and Input Materials

Lean Flow focuses on improving operational efficiencies whether it's in the office or out in the greenhouse. One aspect of Lean Flow that the green  industry has not addressed relates to the supply chain. An article in the November 2009 issue of GMPro discussed the use of Lean Flow by growers for sizing inventory with their retail customers to ensure that stores are replenished with the products that consumers are purchasing. This article focuses on the other end of the supply chain that deals with input materials. Read Entire Article


FlowVision Featured in the October 2010 issue of NMPro Magazine -
Optimizing Inventory

When people talk about Lean Flow in the ornamental plant industry, they mainly focus on process improvements to increase productivity. But applying Lean Flow principles to the supply-chain side of your business may improve sell-through to your retail customers. Lean Flow is about process efficiency and supply-chain efficiency. Many companies have implemented Lean Flow and have achieved high productivity in propagation, planting and shipping. What some of these companies have been unable to do is to provide the right product mix and quantities in the right stores. Read Entire Article

Renewable Lean - The Need for Lean in Renewable Energy Manufacturing

Using Lean to produce renewable energy products will keep costs low, make the investment of capital more efficient, provide product in the shortest possible lead time, and ensure the continued growth of the industry. Using Lean will drive cost out of the products/processes allowing more conversion to renewable energy for every dollar spent. Some renewable energy manufacturing companies are using some Lean tools, but much more can be done to reduce the waste in manufacturing these products.
Read Entire Article

Lean Leadership from the Shop Floor Supervisor

If there is a key person in the execution of Lean Flow it has to be the shop floor supervisor. The CEO runs the business, makes key financial decisions, meets, with the
board of directors, stock holders and customers. These are all important functions, all critical to the success of the business, all requiring a great deal of knowledge, vision, insight and experience.....
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FlowVision Featured in the December 2009 online Issue of Material Handling Management - The Biggest "Losers"

The current focus of lean implementations in the warehouse - whether it be wholesale/retail warehouses, distribution centers (DCs) or the finished goods inventories of manufacturers - is the elimination of waste and the changing of business processes. However, applying a lean flow distribution strategy is about more than just eliminating waste. It is also about creating a replenishment strategy that focuses on pull, uses a statistical approach to sizing the right inventory levels and ensures the business reacts quickly to changes in demand....
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FlowVision Featured in the November 2009 issue of GMPro Magazine -
Optimizing Store Inventory

When people talk about Lean Flow in the ornamental plant industry, they mainly focus on process improvements to increase productivity. But have you ever thought about applying Lean Flow principles to the supply-chain side of your business? What could you do to improve the sellthru of the products you supply to your retail customers?...
Read Entire Article

FlowVision Featured in the October 2009 issue of American Machinist -
The Need for Lean Flow

Many manufacturing companies (especially those that have machining or fabrication as a major portion of their processes) believe they are taking the lean journey by using one or two tools from the Lean Flow toolbox: 5S, TPM, setup reduction, material kanban, calculating takt time, or reducing batch sizes. Lean Flow is much more than using just a few of these tools...
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FlowVision Featured in October 2009 Issue of Industry Week - Consider This -
Time for America's Second Industrial Revolution

It's time to create the United States' next Industrial Revolution -- a movement that will make manufacturing and industrial jobs one of the most important topics in America. We have seen manufacturing's power in Japan, and now China. You don't need the "why" explained; it's been done a thousand times. We have such examples as Toyota, arguably the best manufacturer on the planet, and we know how to build great companies here in the United States using the same principles of lean. The time is right, and all of the sectors of the manufacturing industry are ready to act: businesses, boards of directors, management teams, unions/labor, suppliers, government, and yes, even customers. But, we have to act immediately. To make this successful, here are six things you can do today in your manufacturing company to begin the second Industrial Revolution...
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FlowVision Featured in the July 2009 online issue of Modern Machine Shop -
What Lean Looks Like

How do you know if your manufacturing facility is truly “lean”? Succeeding at lean entails establishing a lean culture in which the tools for becoming more lean are pervasive throughout the organization. More important than implementing 5S or putting together a few U-shaped cells is Lean Flow—a continuous effort to eliminate the waste in all aspects of the business. Use the following list to measure how well this culture and practice have taken hold in your own facility. You know your shop is lean when….
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Building a Recession - Proof Supply Chain

A “pull system” can help ensure that supply-chain triggers are driven by customer demand in good times and bad...
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FlowVision Featured in Jolly Farmer's 2009 Product Catalog The 3 E's of Greenhouse Production

Let's face it, these are difficult tImes. BusInesses are failing, suppliers are closing their doors. We want you to know that we're here for the long haul and we're making sure we will be investing in the Three"E's- of Greenhouse Production (remember the 3 R's from elementary school?)... Energy, Efficiency, and Eco-friendly... Late last year, we hired FlowVision of Denver, Co, to become Involved in some areas of our production. Although we had been experimenting with and benefiting from some of the "Lean Flow" concepts for several years, the detailed training by these professional consultants has brought our production effIciency and process flow to new levels. We've seen significant gains and fully expect this to continue. In our shipping and packaging systems, we realized a savings of 30% In our labor, as well as increasing accuracy in order pulling...
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FlowVision Featured in the April 2009 issue of Modern Casting Magazine

"The benefits of lean manufacturing in high volume shops are relatively obvious because the tasks are repetitive. It can be more difficult to see why lean would be useful in metal-casting facilities that produce a variety of parts in low to medium volumes on any given day.“In some businesses that have batch operations, it is hard to make an assembly line. It’s not easy to connect all separate processes feeding into the main one,” said Jay Clearly, partner at FlowVision, Dillon, CO, a lean consulting firm. “A lot of people in the metal casting industry view metal casting as a black art. But it’s not a black art, it’s just a manufacturing process with predictable causes and effects.”...
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FlowVision Featured in the April 2009 issue of GMPRO Magazine on Sustainability

Sustainability and Lean are now the big buzzwords or concept in the horticulture industry. How can Lean help in your greenhouse sustainability efforts? In Lean technology, “standardization” is a key...
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FlowVision Featured on the CFO Magazine Web site - Create Your Bailout

In this time of recession, when the auto manufacturers and banks can go to the government to get "bailed out", where can your company go to generate cash, and create capital for R&D, training, to buy materials, and/or get you through a short-term cash flow problem? Do not look for the government to be that bank of last resort. For most medium and small businesses there is not a lobbyist in Washington DC or the state capitals that can be heard or has the political muscle to get a congressional representative or senator's ear long enough to make a difference. Make your own bailout...
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FlowVision Featured in the December 2008 issue of GMPRO Magazine in the last of a 3 part series.

In the many years of talking about Lean Flow, I’ve encountered many people who say “we can’t implement Lean, it costs too much money.”your company doesn't have to be large or spend a lot of money to implement Lean.

Lean’s major focus is to reduce or eliminate waste. If you look within your company you’ll find waste in many areas and processes, eliminating this waste can save your company a lot of money without having to spend a lot. It also won’t involve purchasing a lot of new equipment. Use what you have as long as it workS...
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FlowVision Featured in the November 2008 issue of GMPRO Magazine in a 2nd of a 3 part series - Size doesn't matter when implementing Lean

As Lean becomes A more commonly used word in the green industry, there is a misconception among smaller horticultural companies that Lean is just for the “big guys.” If that were the case, one might expect bigger operations to be less efficient, less productive and have a lot of waste in their processes. Does this mean that smaller companies are more efficient and productive and don’t need to improve? Probably not... Read Entire Article

FlowVision Featured in the October 2008 issue of GMPRO Magazine in a 1st of a 3 part series - Top 10 signs your business isn’t Lean

When observing activities in your greenhouse operation, do you often see:

  • A flat-filler operator or sticking/transplant belt off-loader worker not working half of the time.
  • Production volume dictated by belt speed.
  • Stickers/transplanters that work fast, except at product changeover.
  • Order pickers who make one trip to each greenhouse per truckload.
  • Shipping boxes, pallets or racks that can’t be loaded onto trucks until the last greenhouse pick is done.

 If any of these occur regularly, then your operation is a prime candidate for Lean.
Read Entire Article

NMPRO• Nursery Management & Production Magazine — Lean manufacturing techniques cut waste, boost production for an already high-tech nursery

Van Belle Nursery in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, had all the components of a high-tech nursery — state-of-the-art greenhouses, a complete environmental control system and a conveyor system. But company general manager Dave Van Belle wanted to make sure all the pieces fit into an efficient production system.

Van Belle enlisted the help of FlowVision, a Colorado-based Lean and flow manufacturing services firm, to evaluate the propagating and packing process and remove waste. Read Entire Article

Green Profit Magazine - "In My Opinion - Lean Flow" by Kerry Herndon

The last two days have been exhausting. The consultant has made us look at our paper workflow. Self-examination is never fun—in fact it’s almost always embarrassing........ Read Entire Article

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Call FlowVision at +1.970.262.6536 or contact us to get started with a Business Assessment for your company.



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