This report provides a snapshot of the overwhelming evidence for better environmental practices and operations plans to ensure on-going productive agricultural systems and food security in South Africa. It also serves to underpin Waterfall Farm’s drive to grow into a sustainable and successful business within the agriculture industry. The main focus leans towards providing the business with a well-defined operation plan (including a practice framework, operational philosophy, crop schedule, and user-friendly operational planning tool) that will transform Waterfall Farm’s vision and goals into a reality.
The Waterfall Farm Operations Plan Project, in its first phase of development, relied on problem investigation and research. With regards to the practice framework, in-depth research was performed to broaden the knowledge base on the variety of practices as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each. In addition, analysis of the lettuce requirements formed an essential role in terms of the future constraints to be considered. Research was conducted on the various engineering methods/tools that have the ability to contribute towards the investigation process. This generally extended towards the implementation of system dynamics and requirements discovery tools. Each section has its own set of identified problems that may give birth to proposed solutions. The case studies in the literature survey have specifically been documented for that very purpose.
The final stage of the Waterfall Farm Operations Plan Project consisted out of the application of the newly acquired knowledge and engineering tools to develop an operations plan that would satisfy the business’ needs and objectives towards becoming a successful and sustainable endeavour. In addition, the problems (poor practices, lack knowledge of management, and inconsistencies during the cultivation period) at Waterfall Farm have received the necessary attention and have been incorporated into the final design. Firstly, the practice framework represents the guidelines that are essential in maintaining a sustainable agriculture operation. Secondly, Waterfall Farm was steered towards a more environmentally, socially, and economically-sound philosophy. Thirdly, Waterfall Farm was subjected to further advisement with regards to their processes which included the solutions obtained from the alternative analysis phase. Finally, an operational planning tool was developed with the sole purpose of enabling Waterfall Farm to accurately schedule their seasonal production and verify whether their crops are cultivated towards high quality products.
By implementing the above mentioned solutions, Waterfall Farm will not only satisfy its needs on an operational level, but also extend the knowledge base and management skills that will prove to be essential in the business’ endeavour. The operational plan will enable Waterfall Farm to perform their operations environmentally, socially, and economically-sound and, as a result, metric adherence (throughput of crops, resource efficiency, percentage yield/losses, as well as process performance) will be improved.
Dissertation (B.Eng. (Industrial and Systems Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2014.