Kawahara Nurseries is a family affair. Founded over 70 years ago by Sam and
Jean Kawahara and their four children on a 2-acre nursery in San Lorenzo,
California, they began as the place to go for jumbo pack varieties. Now in
both Morgan Hill and Gilroy, California, and run by David and John Kawahara,
Kawahara Nurseries spans 140 acres. They’re a leading wholesale supplier
of high quality nursery plants for the California region, growing premium
succulents, annuals, perennials, and organics.
Kawahara has two main growing sites with all the fulfillment complexities
that implies. Cross-docking product is difficult and time consuming.
Supermarket requirements make racking complex, further slowing down
the process. Inefficient labeling is also a concern. In an effort to streamline
their entire process, Kawahara asked SBI to develop real-world software
solutions based on lean flow principles.
In theory, lean flow is all about efficiency in process so this challenge was
a perfect fit for SBI’s process-driven software system. Working together,
our teams determined that several key stages of the process slowed down
Kawahara’s overall efficiency. For their two growing sites, we built a crossdocking and rack transfer procedure to reduce costs on order fulfillment between sites. SBI’s racking software is the most robust in the industry and provided Kawahara several key advantages. First, we built in the ability to cross-sort orders between sites. Next, we applied a lean flow process specialized for supermarket and capacity management, allowing Kawahara to build customer racks and route them to supermarkets in a single step. Product is racked and loaded in reverse order of the delivery route so each stop requires minimal effort.
Founded in 1946
Located in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, California.
140 acres of production space at two locations.
We also streamlined their label printing, so a scan of a rack label prints the
labels for all the individual plants on that rack. One click starts multiple
printers, reducing what used to be a slow, time-consuming step to one click.
The result? Kawahara is shipping 20% more inventory in the same time
period without adding staff.
Like any theory, lean flow only works with the right logic to drive it in
practice. The SBI ecosystem is built from the ground up with grower’s
process in mind. Our greatest successes come from strong partnerships with
growers, identifying parts of their process that can improve and applying the
right software as a solution.