Building Slack into Systems – AKA whatever can go wrong, does go wrong

Agrifocused Blog Feature Images_Blog 4 - Building Slack

The more variables at play, the more chances of things not going exactly to plan. 

So what does this mean for our farm businesses? What adjustments and preparations can we make?

In the yards – Allow more time for stockwork, it’s always going to take longer than you think. Always pack the marking gear in case you find a missed one, it’s quicker than running back to the shed. With cattle, value temperament in your breeding program. It pays off. How often is it that same bloody cow!

In your bank account – Be really aware of being overly optimistic with timing of money coming in.

At home – When you are thinking about childcare for little ones consider scheduling extra hours every week as kids and adults get sick, and out of town appointments fall on the worst possible days. It’s really interesting to do a retrospective and see what actually happened. Ask yourself how many hours or days of farm work or office work got done around other responsibilities. It’s sometimes easier to have a bit of childcare time up your sleeve that you can choose not to use than to spend your life playing catchup. (and if you are like me, feeling exhausted and resentful)

In the shed – More roustabouts? More shearers? More hours to get sheep in and out. Generator on hand, fuel on hand, fly oil at the ready. Shearing inevitably seems to run a week or two late. If this is consistently causing issues year after year, a timing shift might be worth discussing. 

When running a big harvest – Think about overall staffing allocation, and really value the head team members position as a floater (trained and operational on all tasks and able to do anything or be anywhere). Know your backup plan for header/truck breakdowns and have the backup options (contractors) saved in your phone. Face reality, if you are doing a big long harvest people are going to need days off. For a team of seven people, you will need an extra person just to roster a day off per person per week.  

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