The Key Elements of Grower Production Planning

In any business, planning is one of the ingredients for running a successful operation. Planning is even more important in the growing industry due to the large number of items that can be grown, the complexity of the supply chain, and the seasonality of the product.

A grower is continually trying to balance four opposing forces:

  • Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Internal Resources (materials, space, labor, capital etc.)
  • Mother Nature

A grower must have the sequence of the arrival of needed raw materials timed to coincide with the availability of their resources at the right time to plant so that when it is time to be sold the plant is ready to be sold and when the market is ready for it. And with that intricate orchestration, a grower constantly wonders what effect good or bad the weather will have.

Despite the lack of direct control of these opposing forces, a grower can increase the chances of success with consistent, iterative planning and review as part of their overall management strategy. Planning data, tools, and processes should be part of a grower system for managing.

The ability to answer questions about inventory, production space, labor, and profitability with any accuracy either requires a prodigious memory or some data tools to assist the process. The best growers understand that effective planning is the combination of experienced employees with comprehensive data.

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A good plan is both a road map for future activities as well as a memory of what was planned and done when a system is used to record actual versus plan.

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