The business of transportation and logistics of milk collection is highly complex and challenging. Each day, thousands of haulers move loads of milk between farms, factories, customers, and plants with little room for error. Transportation costs continue to grow, and inefficiencies have increased in the form of routes not being optimized, manual and time-consuming dispatch processes, extended wait times, haulers not being paid correctly, high maintenance costs, and more.
There are lots of factors making it challenging to optimize the milk collection process including multiple routes, and a significant number of haulers to manage simultaneously, making efficient management difficult to achieve. For dispatch, the scheduling and allocation of loads between haulers can be difficult, particularly if a load changes or is canceled. These challenges are common across the industry, and decision-makers need solutions to better manage all parts of their operations by harnessing their data to increase efficiencies across the supply chain.
Innovation has occurred in the milk supply chain in the form of digitalization, allowing haulers and dairy companies the ability to overcome some of the challenges they face. The benefits of digitalization are substantial, particularly in these key areas:
Digitalizing dairy scheduling
The development and implementation of technology connecting the supply chain with plants, dispatchers, haulers, and trading partners for scheduling routes can dramatically improve milk hauling and logistics operations. Digitalization allows companies to have access to all their data in a centralized platform, providing real-time updates to better manage supply chains with access to reliable and timely data. This enables any issues to be quickly identified, mitigated or addressed faster and easier than ever before. Automating dispatch provides increased transparency for all stakeholders in the milk supply chain, reducing needless manual processes and generating the schedule based on the required loads for each plant. Haulers get better access to information in the form of real-time orders and the ability to confirm loads while keeping dispatch and other parties informed of each step. A fully integrated system, using real-time data, and bringing together multiple parts of the supply chain, provides further efficiency and allows for a holistic view across all operations.
Powerful automation and optimization technology ensures each hauler's truck is scheduled on the most efficient route to reduce the distance traveled and carbon emissions, as well as ensuring trucks in the fleet are capable of the most efficient reuse on the same day. Every farm collection, route, and delivery can be accurately scheduled, enabling precise calculations and providing a fair and consistent hauler pay structure.
The future of digitalization in dairy
It is critical the adoption of digital technologies gathers pace, so the dairy sector does not lag other industries in digitalization. Using high-quality, accurate information allows decision makers to drill down on the smallest details, driving better performance for their organization, and helping meet compliance metrics. Haulers and dairy companies can save significant money, aided by digital innovation and utilization of real-time data to transform their milk supply chain.
The solution to the challenges milk haulers face
Solutions like MADCAP's Hauler Mobile Manifest and Scheduling & Route Optimization are designed to help milk haulers and dairy companies lower costs and optimize truck usage. The App helps increase visibility in the milk supply chain and it is fully configurable. Milk haulers, fleet managers, hauler payment managers, auditors, and third parties can view all milk pick-up and drop-off information. This visibility allows managers to see when each truck reaches a farm and which pick-up went where. This all helps to provide transparency, traceability and establishes an audit trail for compliance and consumer obligations.
MADCAP’s dispatch functionality automatically generates a schedule that haulers can access via the Hauler Portal Module to see the loads, routes and end locations. The fully integrated nature of the MADCAP solution means dispatch can take advantage of access to real-time data to monitor a schedule’s progress. This provides visibility of multiple loads and the status of each. A dairy company's preferred haulers are integrated into the system and selected by default for each plant. All parties such as haulers, dispatchers, producers and processors can access real-time information on orders, including schedule finalization. All notifications and communications are handled on one system and are completely integrated with each other, helping to keep all parties informed about what is happening. Dispatch eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets, and provides haulers access to all information through the Internet Portal and Hauler Mobile App.
Smart scheduling and optimized routes
The Hauler Mobile App, alongside the Transport Scheduling Solution, reduces each hauler's time to plan their routes to just a few minutes. The intelligent route planning automatically organizes loads for each hauler and truck, taking into account the route, the truck’s specifications, farm characteristics such as access and tank position. Optimized routes save fuel, maintenance costs, time and enable reductions in fleet capital investment. Once routes are optimized and scheduled they can be automatically assigned to drivers, reducing manual daily scheduling requirements. The solution ensures the shortest distance is traveled and the most milk is collected from each pick-up, reducing emissions, improving sustainability and the pounds per mile collected.
Using the software, it is simple enough to reorganize milk pick-ups without difficulty, even with an unexpected event, such as a truck breakdown or a road closure. The fleet manager will make amendments on their end and the App will reschedule the driver to an alternative route in real-time while alerting the producer and the dairy company of any delays with the pick-up. Pick-ups can be rescheduled to a different hauler when a truck is out of action. The Hauler Mobile App validates all data entered, so dairy companies and haulers can receive data in real-time that is clean and trustworthy for them to analyze and use for decision-making.
Improved communications and access to information
Haulers can provide better transparency, flexibility, and communications with dairy companies. Each truck in the fleet is recorded in real-time via GPS; the App defines which farms’ product was collected in which compartment of the truck to help meet Federal, State, and Country Orders. By using the App, haulers can easily confirm scheduled routes for the day, scan barcodes, record test results, take notes such as unusual milk characteristics, and finalize miles traveled at the end of their shift. Knowing the quantity of milk collected for that day allows for more accurate forecasting. The App has offline functionality, so haulers can continue utilizing the tool, automatically updating and transmitting the information once back online.
The adoption of smart technology gives dairy leaders the ability to gain a holistic view of every function across their milk supply chain, empowering timely and accurate decision-making. The technology eliminates the barriers and disconnects created by geography, legacy systems, and manual processes.