Published on March 7, 2014
Increasing Farm efﬁciencies through Standard Operating Procedures Michael Kilpatrick
WHY SOP’s? • You need a break- you can’t be everywhere all the time, SOP’s allow a crew to work by themselves conﬁdently • People need consistency for good performance. Not, “Is this the way that it is going to be done today”? • SOP’s will reduce variation, which is the enemy of production efﬁciency • SOP’s facilitate training- make sure that nothing is missed and everyone is on the same page from day 1
WHY SOP’s? • SOP’s facilitate cross-training- an employee can easily switch positions if someone is sick or on vacation • If you have involved the employees in the development of the SOP’s they assure that it works as it was written • Make performance evaluations easier, there are clear written guidelines for evaluation standards.
WHY SOP’s? • It is easier for employees to coach, train and support each other- also, reduces hurt feelings if there is a set standard to go back to • Helps keep employees safer and may provide some legal protection if employees get hurt • Can decrease bio-security risk of contamination
WHY SOP’s? • Helps employees not to forget things....
Developing best practices • Study the task to be accomplished and get crew feedback on any improvements • Check with other farms doing similar processes and see what their procedures are • Trial several ways to do a task and agree upon one way that accomplishes goals for safety, speed, and simplicity.
Six steps to developing an SOP 1.Name the SOP with descriptive words 1.Examples: Mixing potting mix,Washing market bins 2.Write the scope for the SOP. Answer questions: What speciﬁc operations or tasks will be covered? Who is it written for? 1.Example: This Soil mixing SOP is used to make all potting mix that is used in the greenhouse. It covers what ingredients are to be used, what equipment is involved, where the task should be performed and cleanup and sanitation afterwards
STEP 3 Develop an overall task description. Include number of people required, skill level, equipment required, description of ﬁnished product Example: -mixing is done on the cement ﬂoor in the potting shed -task should take 1 person 30 minutes -All interns and full time employees should be trained to do this -8 buckets of compost, 4 buckets of peat moss, 2 buckets of perlite, and 4 cups of fertilizer are used for recipe -tools for task include 5 gallon buckets, potting shovel, broom, and hose !
STEP 3 (page 2) -ﬁnished product should be free from any lumps of individual ingredients and look approximately like ! ! ! ! ! -tip- slighly wet peat moss to keep the dust down
STEP 4 Describe each task in detail. Include the following: •speciﬁc order in which task is to be done •Timing sequences and time allowed •How task is to be accomplished •Safety or health considerations ! Tip: people can’t remember more than 10-12 steps so break down long tasks into multiple SOP’s, or write a second abbreviated version of the SOP to be posted in the area. A detailed version can be used for training and left in the SOP manual !
STEP 4 EXAMPLE Example: -clean area so work can be done safely and clean -use clean 5 gallon buckets to measure ingredients from bins along side of potting shed - pour all ingredients except fertilizer in a pile, alternating buckets of ingredients to expedite mixing - use potting shovel to mix ingredients, working around the pile throwing shovelfuls up on top. - fertilizer is sprinkled over top of pile and a ﬁnal mix is done. -shovel ﬁnished mix into potting mix bin, sweep area, and put away all tools. -Safety hazards- be careful not to breath in dust of mixing soil, it can be a mild irritant.
STEP 5 Trial SOP and get feedback Successful SOP development and implementation typically requires that all people who are affected by a SOP be involved in a team-based SOP development and problem solving process. ! - Ask those who do the task regularly to provide feedback and check to make sure that the SOP mirrors what is considered the “best practice” -Talk with all employees to gain agreement that the SOP is the new best practice and expectations are appropriate and achievable -Inform everyone about the new written SOP -Train everyone on the SOP’s content and location of SOP manuals,
STEP 6 Monitor for SOP compliance • Management by walking around • As soon as SOP is written you can be tweeking and updating it • Check with crew frequently to see if they have changed and improved process • SOP’s should be reviewed on at least a annual basis
Presenting the SOP • Simple steps or checklist • Linear ﬂow chart • Annotated pictures (how a work area should be set up) • short video
SOP’s for the ﬁeld • Farming has to be efﬁcient to be proﬁtable • Training others in trellising, irrigation, planting, cultivation, seeding • Training crew on complicated harvesting (50 plus crops)
Any vehicle used for farm related activities should be treated with respect and be used in an appropriate manner. If you suspect there is something that needs to be ﬁxed or addressed in relation to a vehicle please let the Field Manager or Michael know immediately.! Here are what each vehicle should contain BEFORE taking it anywhere (On Farm or Off)! -A competent driver! -First Aid Kit! -A cell phone! -All the necessary items you will or may need to accomplish your task (ie. bins, harvest knives, rubberbands, other crew members, harvest sheet, various weeding tools etc.) -Water! If leaving the farm property you will also need a LICENSED driver with their license on them.! This is what needs to happen AFTER you are ﬁnished using a vehicle: -Refuel if gas tank reads below 1/4 of a tank! -Roll up all windows and turn off lights! -Remove all personal items! -Return any tools or farm items to their proper place -Leave vehicle in better condition than you found it! Here is the emergency protocol. In case of damage, breakdown, injury etc.! ! -Find a safe place to pull over and assess the situation! ! -If someone is injured immediatly call 911! ! -Get a hold of Michael 518-744-5448 or someone at the house 518-642-4713 !
Why farmer’s Markets? double as CSA drop sites Retail dollar we can sell as much or as little as we wantdon’t have to have a pallet of something to sell it Fluidity- adapts quickly to what we need to do
SOP’s for Farmer’s Markets • We have a very ﬂuid market crew since we draw from the community a lot anywhere from 16 to 60 years old! • We want to be able to quickly bring our employees up to speed • the person driving the truck may not be the one in charge- we need to have speciﬁc, direct instruction for everything.
Price List/Signs SOP’s ! As we’ve just redone our pricing and price sign system, we thought we’d take a minute to explain it to you all. For those of you who are working at the markets, you’ll just need to read the first page and a half. Because the is a work in progress please fell free to give lots of feedback to Erika and Philip (contact info below). Many thanks to those who’ve helped with the process including Erika, Keith, and Christina. ! Price List We created a Google spreadsheet which is the master price list. All the pricing will now be the same between all the markets. Crops are sorted by family and you’ll be able see the price, what constitutes a CSA item, and seasonal info. ! Accessing the Price List Market workers who work frequently will be given access to the spreadsheet. We encourage you to double check the list before your shifts. If you wish to print a pricelist for yourself select “In Season to Print” at the bottom of the page. The sheet entitled “Print all Prices” is a complete listing of the crops with their prices. !
Arugula Great in salads and sandwiches $ 4.00 per bag CSA Item is one bag
Beet bunches View our Recipes Great roasted or boiled. Green can be steamed or sauteed. $ CSA Item is one bunch
Monday SOP! ! ! MARKET VEHICLES X 2! Back up truck to bin washing area. Clean out all bins, tomato trays, waxed boxes of both market trucks. As bins are removed, sort into stacks that need washed and ones that are clean enough to go back into inventory. Check fuel levels, they should always be above a 1/4 tank. Clean out any trash in cab. Park vehicle between transplant house and tomato house or in parking lot.! ! BINS! Sort all bins of those that need washed and those that don’t. Wash dirty market and harvest bins. Stack inside. This is a 2 person job for highest efﬁciency. ! ! VEHICLES! Check fuel level, check tires, clean out backs of bins, trash, etc. ! ! FUEL! I person load up all the empty gas and diesel cans in the farm vehicle that is the lowest on gas. Take them down to Chapmans and ﬁll the vehicle and the cans. When you return, ﬁll both golf carts and the super C’s if they are less than 1/2 full and around the farm. ! ! BARREL WASHER! Clean out soil from barrel washer tray, dump in empty ﬁeld.! ! COMPOST! Check with Hannah to see if there is any compost to remove and where that should be taken.!
Thank you!!! Michael Kilpatrick www.michael-kilpatrick.com www.kilpatrickfamilyfarm.com
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