Tend Your Garden

Save time, energy, and money. Keep operations “under control” to prevent crisis.

By: Becky Ferrell


Yesterday wasBecky Ferrell on her farm mowing day at the farm.

Normally, that’s about a four-hour job on my Bad Boy zero turn.  It’s a relaxing time for me: no interruptions and some good music playing in my hearing protective headphones. (Safety first!) This is a solitude period that often allows me to do some problem solving.

Yesterday was a more than six-hour nightmare, with multiple dismounts from the mower to clear clogs and branches.  Additionally, there were multiple stops to take care of poison ivy patches I thought I had dealt with earlier this year.

(Still trying to figure out the purpose of poison ivy….)

Getting off the mower for the last time, I gotta admit I moaned a bit as I straightened my back and mumbled under my breath as I walked from the barn to the house.  Reaching the house, I carefully changed out of my mowing clothes and put them immediately into the washer and started it.  Poison ivy…remember?

avoid issues/weeds in controlled operations

Grabbing an iced coffee, I walked out on my back deck and surveyed my work…thinking how beautiful it looked all clipped and clean with the sun shining.

Nice!  Well-done!  Too bad it had taken so much effort to achieve!


Maintenance vs. Extra Work

Then, it hit me: the reason it had taken so much more effort this time is that I had failed to “tend my garden”.

For the last several days… okay, let’s be honest, almost two weeks……other issues and events had required my attention.  The need to mow, although very evident, had taken a backseat to these issues.  So, I paid the price …. in time, effort, and liquid gold (gas)….  to reclaim my acreage.

As I sipped my coffee, it struck me how much our manufacturing operations are like my farm.  (Hmmm…. maybe that’s why they’re called “plants”?)   Things can be “under control” to the point that we allow our attention to be captured by or diverted to other things.  Let’s be real… There are times we have no choice in prioritizing other things.  By the time we can return our attention to our operations, things are out of control.  At that point, we are forced to expend extra time and extra effort, and, yes, extra money, to get the operation back under control.


Warning Signs

Mowing is routine maintenance, but even with routine maintenance there are warning signs (call them KPIs, if you like) things are getting out of normal range and need attention.  Ignore those signs, and you’re setting yourself (and your personnel) up for all those “extras”.

Those patches of poison ivy are problems that were truly not resolved.  I never got to the “root cause” (pun intended) because, if I had, I would not have had to deal with them again. You’ve got to do more than identify the root cause…you must then take corrective action and monitor to ensure that action has “killed” the problem.  Failing to do so ensures the problem will re-occur, sometimes bigger and more invasive than before.

identify root cause of issues and correct

So, are YOU “tending your garden”?

If not, get ready for the extra work (time, effort, and cost) to return it to the “controlled” operation that you enjoy, while risking the recurrence of problems.

Need help getting rid of recurrent issues (weeds) in the operation?  HVM’s experienced “gardeners” know how to get to the root of your issues and help you ensure irreversible corrective action.  Give us a call!  We’ll bring our tools and arrive ready to work alongside you to return your plant to operational excellence.


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