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.

At A Glance

Shipping 20% more inventory with same size team

Automated label printing

The Issue

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.

The Solution

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.


Years in business

Founded in 1946


Growing locations

Located in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, California.



140 acres of production space at two locations.

Lean Flow

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.

SBI Software

2222 NE Oregon Street Portland, OR 97232

503.248.2159 | 866.515.4909

Have questions? Want to talk with someone from our team? We look forward to hearing from you!

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