Research And Development Increases Production Efficiency

Dr. Abhay Thosar

In today’s economic turmoil, where capturing the disposable income of a family or individual is more difficult, it has become important for any business to start thinking about how their present market share can be maintained and even increased. It becomes a balancing act between selection of crop, optimizing profits and quality.
It’s essential for any company to look inside itself and realign the business based on the techno-economic feasibility of the products and processes. Techno-economic feasibility means finding the balance between optimizing technical information and the economics related to the production process of the horticulture crop in order to make the operation sustainable.

In the horticulture industry, things have changed rapidly over the last five years. With our business, Sheridan Nurseries, being located in Canada, we have to factor in a Canadian dollar at par with the U.S. dollar and a major portion of our horticulture products being shipped over the border. Key points we have to consider are:

  • Process refinement
  • Product optimization
  • Realignment of business

It has become a necessity to realign the present business, looking at it from today’s economic standpoint. Hence, there is a need for in-house research and development activities by every growing operation to identify and optimize their potential and work toward the techno-economic feasibility of the existing products. The term research and development should not be applied only for developing niche products. Working on the process refinement and product optimization of the prevailing products should also be the intent. Since each growing operation has its own microclimate, cultural conditions and limitations (from an infrastructure standpoint), it becomes very important for every operation to tap the optimum potential of the facility, which  could be products, processes, inputs, cultural methods, etc.

Be Open To Change

It’s human nature to want to work in your comfort zone, but in the present world, the buzzword is “change,” whether it is politics, industry or culture. Growers need to aknowledge and adapt to changing conditions and focuse on optimizing the potential of his growing operation. There are many factors to evaluate when analyzing the techno-economic feasibility of the crops, but some of the most important are:

  • Physiology of the crop
  • Environmental conditions (growing operation microclimate)
  • Monitoring the inputs (cost and quality)
  • Cultural practices
  • Use of plant growth regulators (PGRs)
  • Product layout, assembly and harvesting
  • Packaging
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Marketing and customer liaison

These factors are important not only for introduction of new plants or products but also for existing products. Understanding the physiology of crops and the environmental conditions of the growing operation are extremely important in making initial observations on the crop that will eventually lead to process refinement and optimizing growth conditions. This is especially true where the growth of the crop is related to yield (cut flowers or vegetables), cultural practices, fertilizers and use of PGRs, along with changes in the environmental conditions, which have the potential to trigger major changes in the final yield. The selection of varieties, nutrients, growing medium, container (pot size and design), design of the production process, harvesting and packaging should be optimized according to the layout of the growing operation.

Make Trialing A Priority

Since these processes are related to the production of the final product, extensive process refinement is essential. Trials should be ongoing in order to excel in these areas. Each and every person working in the growing operation should be coached to think of ways to improve and optimize production within the scope of their responsibilities. It is extremely important to budget money for research and development within the growing operation, which will be paid back by optimizing the product and process. Each of these factors and many others have been researched by professional institutes.

However, it is important to optimize these results for your growing operation facility. These findings can be used as the base; further trials need to be conducted by respective growing operations to help them adapt the results to their own needs. Since we are dealing with plants that are living and bio-dynamic in nature, the response is not always the same. It tends to vary in different environmental and cultural conditions.  

Research and development results in innovations or ideas that can be a source of potential value in terms of gaining competitive advantage. Since customers’ needs are changing, flexibility in the business is vital to accommodate the changes. Finally, it is extremely important that the research and development is focused on the quality of the product, optimizing the processes and ensuring repeatability and reliability, thus enhancing sustainability and a competitive edge.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Research And Development Increases Production Efficiency

  1. a very useful, interesting & guiding article in this field !!!!!!!!!!congrats Dr. ABHAY THOSAR. IT seems that author of the article is well qualified & must have done research in the field with implementation , keep it up !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Excellent work by Dr. Abhay Thosar. Congrats !!! plz continue the same in future. The author has indepth idea about the prevalaint conditions in the field of agriculture which if not looked into at this point of the hour can lead to a turmoil in the years to come. This foresight is a necessity of a System Manager. Kudos !!!

More From Business Management...
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Information On The GrowIt! App

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

Read More
Pot Mum Combos (Syngenta Flowers)

February 8, 2016

Syngenta Has A New Buyer, Will Not Divest Flower Seeds Business

Syngenta has announced that it will likely approve an offer from ChemChina to acquire the company, which means it no longer plans to divest its flower seed business.

Read More

February 3, 2016

New Plants, Products, And Trends From TPIE 2016

Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond. TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE […]

Read More
Latest Stories
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Inf…

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

Read More
Pot Mum Combos (Syngenta Flowers)

February 8, 2016

Syngenta Has A New Buyer, Will Not Divest Flower Seeds …

Syngenta has announced that it will likely approve an offer from ChemChina to acquire the company, which means it no longer plans to divest its flower seed business.

Read More

February 3, 2016

New Plants, Products, And Trends From TPIE 2016

Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond. TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE […]

Read More

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More
Costa Farms

January 29, 2016

Costa Farms Named International Grower Of The Year

Costa Farms was the night’s biggest winner during an awards gala presented by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and held at IPM Essen in Germany. (Read more about the business culture that’s driven Costa’s success in Greenhouse Grower’s January 2016 feature story.) The Florida-based grower was named the International Grower Of The Year, and was chosen from a group that included eight other international companies. “This award is a reflection of our entire team, and we are all dedicated to being the best at what we do and making this company successful for the long term,” said Jose Costa, Executive Vice President of Costa’s foliage division. The AIPH awarded gold, silver, and bronze awards in three categories — Finished Plants And Trees, Young Plants, and Cut Flowers — prior to naming the big winner. Costa was the gold winner in the Finished Plants and Trees Category. Each of […]

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More
John Daley Featured

January 25, 2016

How To Retain Motivated Young Growers At Your Greenhous…

Wholesale grower John R. Daley says engaging young growers and making them a viable part of your operation is the best way to ensure you keep young talent for the long term.

Read More
Katherine Wolper

January 24, 2016

Ludvig Svensson Hires Katherine Wolper As West Coast Sa…

Wolper says she looks forward to listening to growers and understanding the concerns, obstacles, and opportunities they face.

Read More
Israel Greenhouse

January 23, 2016

Sign Up Now For A Horticulture Tour Of Israel Taking Pl…

The tour is being organized by John and Kelly Schroeder of Valleybrook Gardens, and will include visits to greenhouses, garden centers, nurseries, and local historical sites.

Read More
Houseplant Featured Image

January 21, 2016

How To Improve Consumer Interest In Indoor Foliage Plan…

Researchers discover why there is decreasing consumer demand for indoor foliage plants and suggest ways to overcome hurdles to purchasing.

Read More
State of the industry 2016

January 21, 2016

Green Industry Is Set For Continued Growth In 2016

Economist Charlie Hall says the outlook for the green industry is promising despite the havoc wreaked on plant sales by the downturn in housing.

Read More

January 20, 2016

Tips For Overcoming Challenges In Family Business From …

Our industry is run by a collection of family businesses, and every one, no matter how big or small, has its share of management issues. But there are several differences between one that is run successfully as a business and one that allows family politics to distract from the organization’s goals. In this year’s State Of The Industry Survey, we noted that labor recruitment and succession are two areas where growers struggle. In talking with the owners of Costa Farms for this month’s cover story, I thought some of the values they have incorporated into the operation’s management structure really stood out as practices that other family businesses could use. The participatory management approach to business and team building is one that Tony Costa, the second-generation owner of Costa Farms, instilled in his children, Maria Costa-Smith and Jose Costa, and son-in-law, Joche Smith, the current owners of Costa Farms. In […]

Read More

January 20, 2016

Color Point Creates New Marketing And Communications De…

According to Color Point co-owner Ken VanWingerden, Maloney’s leadership in the new department will help the company better manage its recent growth both internally and with the entire industry.

Read More
Janeen Wright

January 18, 2016

Five Thought-Provoking Ideas From GROW Summit 2015

Here are five ideas from Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 GROW Summit ranging from big-picture ideas to smaller initiatives that can help move the industry forward.

Read More
How will growers' production in 2016 compare to 2015

January 18, 2016

2016 State Of The Greenhouse Industry Numbers At A Glan…

Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here’s a look at the greenhouse market for 2016, in graphics.     For a more in-depth analysis of where the industry stands, read Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry article, “Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimism In 2016.”

Read More
Top Concerns sidebar

January 18, 2016

Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimi…

A year of growth in 2015 also had its share of challenges, and as a result, growers and suppliers are a bit more guarded going into 2016. After a few years of extreme weather and drought, a massive ongoing labor shortage, a shaky economy, and increased government regulation, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows growers and retailers are moving forward with cautious optimism. Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey included separate questions for growers and for suppliers. Of our 358 respondents, 103 were suppliers, 111 were grower-retailers, 109 were wholesale growers, and 35 were young plant growers. Among growers, 57% indicated their operations were small (less than 100,000 square feet), 21% were medium-sized (100,000 to 399,999 square feet), and 22% said they were large growers (400,000 square feet or larger). Sixty-eight percent of the grower respondents said their sales grew in 2015 over 2014, down […]

Read More
SAF CAD

January 18, 2016

Sign Up Now To Attend SAF Congressional Action Days In …

Congressional Action Days is a great chance for Society of American Florists members to meet their state’s lawmakers and discuss the most critical issues they are facing.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]