ANDREWS, Ind. — Like many women in agriculture, Jodi Anson wears multiple hats that range from cooking meals to running jobs on the farm.

“I try to keep cheat sheets for each of the jobs because there are a lot of jobs around here,” she said at the Purdue Farm Management Tour. “If you don’t do it on a regular basis, you need a reference to make sure you do the job right.

“I try to encourage continuous improvement on the farm.”

After 17 years of work in industrial engineering at the aerospace company Boeing, Anson has learned ways to boost efficiency in any environment.

“At Boeing, we really focused on something called lean manufacturing,” she said. “It really made a difference in our programs. We’d make 60% profit on an airplane program after implementing some of these concepts.

“And it may be something for farmers to consider. Maybe looking at how some of these efficiency concepts could apply to your daily business. We try to implement some of the concepts here, too. We’re in the very early stages of that.”

Lean manufacturing uses a concept called 5S. It’s a workplace organization method and list: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. Safety often is added to this list, as well.

The list describes how to organize a work space by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items and sustaining the new order.

“It can really make a difference,” Anson said. “Not only in farming, but in any organization. It’s used in automotive, healthcare and government industries.

“I encourage you to Google lean manufacturing and 5S. See if you can apply it to your organization.”

Jodi’s husband, John, said his wife is changing how they do things on the farm.

“She would like to organize tools so all you have to do is pick one kit up and go,” he said. “She wants to be able to see, at a glance, if there’s a pair of pliers missing. With chemical bins, she wants to see at a glance if we’re low on inventory. That’s the kind of things she is teaching us.”

“It’s a passion,” Jodi Anson said. “I love farming.”

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.


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