Quality Control Lessons Greenhouse Growers Can Build On

When you look at the processes involved with growing a plant from start to finish, the automation technology used, and the streamlining of processes to boost productivity and eliminate waste, it’s not surprising some people refer to greenhouse operations as plant factories.

In his article, “Five Steps to Improved Manufacturing Quality,” on IndustryWeek.com, author Jason Platt, a veteran player in the technology and manufacturing industries, shares five steps on quality control that are applicable to the horticulture industry.


1. Use a Team Mindset. Platt says quality will never be improved by individuals; it takes a team-based approach. As one grower put it in the 2019 State of the Industry survey, commitment to quality should be company culture.

2. Define Quality From the Customer Perspective. Pick someone in your organization to serve as the customer advocate, Platt says. Ask yourself how your customers would define what quality product is and let their perspective help you define what best-in-class product means.

3. Develop Organizational Understanding of the Cost of Quality. Once your product has left the greenhouse, the costs to fix a problem go up versus when you first started producing the plant. Platt recommends training your staff to help them understand the cost multipliers involved with mistakes and the cost of a damaged reputation, saying that doing this motivates your staff to get to the root of the problem.

4. Solve Problems Completely. Don’t address only the symptoms of the problem. Find out what caused it and fix it. By doing this, Platt says true solutions to problems will be created that won’t allow the problem to return.

5. Employ Strong Process Discipline. Maintain consistency and an understanding of the way your product is produced as much as possible, Platt says, so the root cause of an issue can be identified more quickly if a change in the process causes a problem.

For more insights from “Five Steps to Improved Manufacturing Quality,” read the full article on IndustryWeek.com.