Farplants is a co-operative made up of six medium sized nurseries and one contract grower, which markets its plants through a central sales company. All Farplants members have been accredited under BOPP since July 2004. The work required in implementing the scheme individually would have required a lot of time but the members were able to work together on the manual and putting systems in place. This has not only spread the work load but has also improved and consolidated communication within the group.

BOPP has brought many changes and improvements to the way Farplants members now run their businesses. The systems and records required for BOPP have established good nursery practice and improved traceability, providing a greater sense of control through the consolidation and structuring of information. Membership of the scheme has involved staff throughout all levels of the business and the standards achieved have helped to instil a sense of pride and achievement amongst staff. From the sales perspective, membership of BOPP has not only satisfied the auditing requirements of major customers, but has encouraged the business to further improve customer services, developing a vastly improved customer complaints tracking system.

Steve Carter

Hill Brothers (Chichester) Ltd

Hill Brothers (Chichester) Ltd has been producing Pot Plants at Chichester since 1973. We specialise in flowering indoor plants and planters for the Patio and Conservatory. We have been supplying the multiples directly since 1990, and now supply plants to most of the major multiples, either directly or through other suppliers.

We originally worked with individual customers' Quality Management Systems, but were keen to move to the BOPP Scheme once it was accepted by all of our customers. Like many small businesses in the early nineties Quality Management Systems, with all the associated paperwork, were alien to the hands-on approach of many of the growers at the time. However with the ornamentals industry being controlled by fewer and larger suppliers, and our customer base being controlled by the multiples, the necessity of an effective Quality Management System which was tailor made for the ornamentals industry was a welcome development.

By 2005 with the establishment of the Silver Standard and the Packhouse Standard we were ready to join BOPP and were certificated with both standards in October 2005. Because both audits can be carried out at the same time this minimises costs and peoples' time. As our company has grown from a small family business to a larger enterprise the disciplines required by BOPP led to a more effective management structure and better use of the resources at the company's disposal.

Because BOPP is a scheme that has been developed by growers for growers it is vital that we continue to sell it to our customers as the backbone of their Quality Assurance needs. If they require additional audits such as Leaf then these can be provided as supplements to the Silver Standard. The whole ornamentals industry must work together in developing BOPP, to ensure it remains the one standard that is accepted by all of our customers.

Kevin Hill
Hill Brothers (Chichester) Ltd

Joseph Rochford Gardens Ltd

Rochfords attended the launch meeting for the BOPP Standard for Hardy Nursery Stock producers in February 2003 and joined the scheme that summer. Our first audit was completed May 2004 and we have held Silver and Gold Status since that time.

As a wholesale company operating over 3 sites with 3 production teams, a sales team and a despatch team the BOPP scheme provided the vehicle to objectively look at how the company 'worked' and how the departments interacted with each other. We supply the landscaping industry and currently are not required to be a member of a quality scheme. BOPP, as a grower based scheme, presented a practical framework for us to work with; the Standards cover the whole business and have encouraged us to record and develop how the whole company operated. Following the Standard meant that no areas could be ignored because they were too thorny!

It has provided a practical management tool to ensure legal and environmental aspects are reviewed and kept up to date. Continuous development is key to BOPP, and to any business that wants to grow in this ever changing industry. Looking back since we joined the improvements are plenty; improved nursery systems, improved traceability, continuity of records across the sites. It's amazing the improvements and small changes that can be made which have a far greater effect further down the line, and do eventually become second nature...

UKAS accreditation has helped place the scheme within other similar, more widely known schemes. As the scheme develops it must stay true to its roots and the different Codes of Practice must remain appropriate to their specific industry. Rochfords has shown that the scheme is not just of value to companies who are required to have accreditation but also forward thinking companies who need a helping hand and the knowledge that twice a year an assessor will come knocking on the door!

Rebecca Grant
Joseph Rochford Gardens Ltd

Westland Horticulture

Westland Horticulture is the first growing media producer to be certificated to the BOPP Growing Media Producers Standards. Jamie Robinson from Westland Horticulture explains the benefit the BOPP Growing Media Scheme.

Westland Horticulture is a large company that provides garden care products to independent garden centres, DIY and food retailers and professional growers, it is a complex business and we were finding it increasingly difficult to keep step with the demands from different organisations for information and certification.

Westland's growing media plant in Northern Ireland is one of the largest facilities in Europe covering some 17 acres, this site has now become the first growing media plant to become accredited in the BOPP growing media scheme. This makes servicing the various businesses from professional growers through to retail customers any easier process and helps reduce the amount of documentation required.

We now intend to have our Alconbury plant in Cambridgeshire accredited with the BOPP Packhouse scheme. This site produces lawn care products, control products, fertilisers and grass seed is also the home to the Unwin's seed business selling seeds, live plants and seed potatoes.

By integrating the BOPP scheme into our ISO 9001 and 14001 QA systems, together with other schemes such as Forest Stewardship Council timber scheme and the new Growing Media Initiative for peat reduction; we hope to see considerable savings in the long term.

Jamie Robinson
Technical Director