Three Steps to Improve Your Milk Logistics Operation

Jul 23, 2022 | Industry Insights

Tools to monitor milk movement, gather data, and report costs are key to a successful milk logistics operation.

In an environment of limited resources, hauler angst, long hours, and ever-stringent customer requirements, the demand on milk planners continues to increase.

In many ways, what was once a rote operational task has evolved into a strategic, functional imperative with millions of dollars at risk every day. It’s simply not good enough to build a schedule for milk movement and “hope” that all goes well. Sitting back and waiting for receiving plant or hauler to call about a problem requires countless emails and phone calls to resolve.

Today’s environment demand’s more:

Knowing where trucks are in real-time

Sharing schedules, changes, and exceptions with customers and haulers at a moment's notice

Anticipating problems before they occur

Score carding daily performance

Adjusting routes and schedules to maximize milk returns and minimize miles, all while capturing the best pooling outcome

Knowing key cost drivers

Unfortunately, most industry players continue to rely on dated homegrown systems or even spreadsheets. It leaves staff in a lurch without the proper tools to do their jobs, and customer and hauler frustration increases by the month. Costs are likely to climb, and options to increase efficiency are missed.

But new technologies are helping planners to take back control of the milk planning process and deliver a better, all-around experience.


1. Monitor and Adjust - Before the Phone Rings

As dispatchers know, disruptions arise every day: from surprise downtimes, a problem at the farm, to traffic delays or a bridge being closed, causing a major double-back. Then, there are the operational factors that no one is paying attention to – light loads, excess miles, or significant repeatable delays in the receiving bay.

What if you could get visibility into these events and start adjusting as they occur?

The first step is simply seeing where loads are on a map compared to the schedule. Then, simple sorting features to monitor wait times and delays take you a step further. Advanced technology helps dispatchers monitor loads from the moment milk is loaded onto the truck until it reaches the plant. You will no longer be dependent on feedback from the hauler or the plant calling when there is a problem and often too late to fix it.

2. Ditch the Paper and Gather Load Data in Real-Time

It happens all the time – paper manifests get misplaced, information is smeared or missing, and it takes days to reconcile those last few loads for a pay period. Month-end close gets delayed and tensions rise.

It is a simple reality that the industry has come to accept now for decades – paper is slow, susceptible to errors, and easy to lose.

What if dispatchers, haulers and customers could obtain accurate and timely data on every load of milk without relying on paper manifests? A simple, easy-to-use app tracks the load from start to finish, collecting all the relevant load attributes.

Then, all data is stored, shared with the producer and customer, and pushed to your payroll system once the load is received.

Listen to Ben Schaendorf, a milk hauler using an app to track loads

3. Know the Costs and Logistics of Moving Milk

Often, one key individual – or a small team – has the overwhelming and unenviable task of ensuring all the milk is planned and gets to its destination. In most organizations, a good day is if all the fires were put out and the team walked away in one piece. But who is keeping track of the cost side of the equation? Who is responsible for knowing that the schedule reflects the most efficient moves?

In most cases, the day-to-day decision-making and cost control are somewhat separate. Dispatchers make the decisions. The payroll team pays the haulers. Maybe if the month-to-month change is significant enough, management will ask, “what’s going on?”

Once again, integrated systems are the only way to address these problems. Knowing and reporting on the key cost drivers and viewing the miles, load weights, and wait times regularly is feasible. They then use that data to inform the following days or week’s schedule to take costs out of the system.

Using Milk+ by Ever.Ag to Get You Started

Many dairy businesses operate on a day-by-day mindset and work just to get milk to the plant. But if you are at this point, you have not even begun to scratch the surface of the opportunity that awaits in optimizing milk planning. Your goal can be much more than successfully delivering milk – efficiency and profitability can be achieved in everyday milk planning operations.

The Milk+ by Ever.Ag platform, including Dispatch, Mobile Manifest, Receiving, and Payroll, offers complete data collection and real-time feedback to improve milk operations.

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