Struggles and Lessons from a Life Spent in Plant Factory Start-ups

My Encounter with Plant Factories

I became interested in the plant factory industry after graduating from university and working as a salesperson at a securities company. At that time, plant factories were touted as “an advanced form of agriculture with high expectations.”In the securities industry, you often hear such catchy phrases designed to stir up investment enthusiasm.Carried away by those catchphrases, I thought, “I should work in this industry.”

My Realization After Joining the Industry

In 2011, I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer from a plant factory company, and I plunged into the industry.The interior of the plant factory I saw for the first time was like a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie. As far as the eye could see, lettuces were being grown under artificial light in every direction – it was truly breathtaking.However, as I learned the ropes, I realized that the productivity of a plant factory was greatly influenced by the “people” operating it, more so than the cutting-edge systems.This realization became the foundation of my thinking moving forward.

Days of Supporting Start-ups and Reviving Other Companies’ Factories

In 2015, I changed jobs to FarmShip Inc., where I was tasked with supporting the start-up and revival of other companies’ plant factories.The job involved living on-site for 1-2 years and commuting to the factory every day to provide support and training. Since I visited various sites, I sometimes had to move every six months.As the manager of the support team, every time I dealt with a problematic start-up, I accumulated know-how on educating people and stabilizing on-site operations.

Looking Back, There Were Ups and Downs

There were times when troubles arose. During the start-up of one factory, a shortage of personnel and inadequate training coincided with the initial harvest day, leading to a major predicament.On initial harvest days, tasks like trimming and packaging also begin simultaneously, causing a sudden surge in workload. However, we didn’t have enough personnel, and the training was insufficient. Furthermore, the vegetables grew larger than expected, making them too big to fit in the packaging bags.As a result, the work was significantly delayed. The packaging process was particularly severe, with no one capable of operating the packaging machine. I ended up being the sole person handling it, trying and failing while working through the night. This went on for nearly 60 hours straight, with me only taking bathroom and light snack breaks. This experience deeply impressed upon me the importance of crisis management during the initial start-up phase.

Involvement in Over 10 Plant Factory Operations

But such major troubles were rare.I have been involved in the plant factory industry since 2011 and have worked on over 10 plant factory operations, large and small. Some of them had top production scales in Japan, and I gained experience at the forefront of each site.In particular, I focused on improving production efficiency and creating ledgers for data analysis. By analyzing project requirements and reviewing production processes, I believe I contributed to increasing productivity.I was also extensively involved in educational activities, conducting multiple training programs for other companies. By setting specific learning objectives, designing and planning programs, and providing effective training, I take pride in having contributed to skill improvement for the participants.

Regarding Work Inquiries

I am currently freelancing after leaving FarmShip Inc.

I am open to various types of work, so please feel free to inquire through the contact form.