Ambassador: Patrick O'Keeffe, Ireland

Publication date: July 2020 | Theme: Precision production

Challenges: Reducing costs

To improve farm work efficiency, a 5S lean programme was developed as an introduction to lean management.

This led to a programme of continuous improvement underpinned by lean principles across the entire business of Patrick O'Keeffe's farm.

"I was most impressed with the 'buy-in' from my staff and the time saving as a result of the programme." Patrick O'Keeffe



  • Labour: 1 hour per day per person (€10,875 per year)
  • No longer selling weaners due to poor return: Reduced slurry and labour costs (€10,980)
  • Additional space: 348 finishers @105kg (€36,540)
  • Dashboard system to document basic production data: Excel system on office computer to reduce labour (€6,500)


Lean consultant - €1000 per day approximately

Plus, other improvements:

Total cost savings - €30,755pa

Total extra output - €36,540pa

Innovation in practice

As part of the 5S exercise, this was done by mapping of areas, training of staff, implemented programme, monitored progress (checklists and audits) and addressed areas for improvement. A control chart is used and is numbered and colour coded.

Maintenance Store - Before 5S

Maintenance Store - After 5S

Once staff had engaged with the lean process, a value stream mapping exercise identified areas of ‘waste’ on the farm and engaged staff with improvement activities to reduce or remove that waste. This included reducing breeding group numbers to remove weaned piglets as a product as the business was losing money. The increased space allowed increased stocking density in finished pigs without needing additional construction. Feed waste was reduced to just 2% of feed and further improvements were made across the business, leading to an estimated reduction in labour and a saving in cost of production.

More about this best practice

5S Checklist Medicine Storage

5S Checklist Minerals

Let's Talk Pigs Webinar - Becoming Lean - A Guide for Pig Farmers

To access more information, contact RPIG (Ireland): Ciaran Carroll