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RSS By: Chris Barron

Chris BarronHave a margins question? Through this blog, you will gain insight into improving your bottom line, as a margins expert answers questions and provides farm business advice.


Your Harvest Performance Review

Nov 14, 2011


As harvest nears completion for most everyone, now is a great time to review your harvest performance while things are still fresh in your mind. Think about your operations efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Just as businesses in other industries analyze performance and build action plans to improve and grow their business, it's equally as important we do the same in production agriculture. With the massive amount of capital required to operate our farms, the economic payback for strategic planning generates immediate returns to the bottom line!
This following example outline will demonstrate the process of analyzing efficiency, productivity, and profitability. This is simply a tool to help guide you through the process of documenting your overall performance in order to develop action plans for improvement. This tool also serves as a communication system to encourage everyone in your operation to come up with solutions to challenges. Including input from everyone will tend to produce better solutions, rather than expecting yourself (whoever is in charge of the process) to have all the answers.
Performance Review - HARVEST
1.     Efficiency - how effective is this operation?
a.      What part of our system had the least problems? Why is that system so strong?
b.      What bottlenecks occur during maximum capacity?        
c.       What specific tools or equipment could improve our effectiveness?
d.      What part of the system experienced the most equipment failures?
e.       Does everyone in the operation understand the plans for the day, week, and entire harvest?
2.     Productivity - what can we accomplish?
a.      Is safety the number one priority?
b.      What were the maximum bushels & acres harvested in one day? & Daily Avg.?
c.       How many total days did take to complete harvest?
d.      Should harvest timeliness be improved?
e.       What specific changes would be necessary to increase harvest speed and quality?
3.     Profitability - what are the costs of operating?
a.      What was the cost per acre/per bushel for the combine?
b.      What was the cost per acre/per bushel for handling?
c.       What were the storage/ drying costs?
d.      Are there ways to save on some specific costs?
e.       How do my costs compare to other operations?
As you work through any performance review keep in mind that it's a process to work on over time. Consider breaking the process into three parts. First, brainstorm your ideas and concepts for needed improvements. Second, prioritize your improvement needs and begin to develop a strategy to accomplish them. Third, put together timelines with specific deadlines and the individuals who are responsible for results.
 With a focus on improving efficiency, productivity and profitability you can insure yourself a competitive advantage without necessarily having to do more. Better analysis and planning will always improve your bottom line!! $$
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