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Application of the PERT scheduling technique to a nursery operation




Ludwick, Beverly A., author

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Improved management techniques are needed by the nursery industry as methods of control and scheduling have failed to keep pace with rapid growth. PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) is a management system which could have useful application to the nursery industry. The PERT system was developed by the United States Navy to coordinate the Polaris submarine program, and is based on a critical path network which allows the user to see important interrelationships. Analysis of these interrelationships allows for the improved coordination, control, and scheduling of a project. The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of applying PERT to nursery production and using the PERT concept in a nursery management classroom. A broad, general network of production activities was developed based on information provided by 13 nurseries. Bailey Nurseries, Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota, supplied the estimated time durations for each activity in the network. This study deals with three species: Lonicera sp., Cotoneaster sp., and Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Time durations were assigned to each activity necessary in the production of that particular species; each activity was assigned either a date that activity would begin or a date it would be completed. This information was prepared for the computer and reports were generated. The reports which are derived from using the PERT system allow the user to see an overview of the entire operation. Therefore, the effect management's decisions have on interrelated activities can be closely observed and monitored. Though the scope of this study is general, it would appear that the logic and organization necessary in the development of PERT as a nursery management system could greatly benefit the nursery industry and be useful in teaching nursery principles of business and technology.


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Nurseries (Horticulture)
Critical path analysis


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