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5 min read

Optimizing milk pick-ups: where milk and mobile apps meet

The Travelling Salesman Problem. This classical mathematical equation solves how salespeople can travel between each city with the least miles traveled while only visiting the exact location once. An equation of efficiency. However, what does this have to do with milk or the dairy industry? At its core, this equation sounds relatively simple. In some scenarios, it can be. Most people can manually route ten stops on a map and achieve a reasonable efficiency in the process. However, this is assuming they are familiar with the area, and there are no additional complexities. When you add into the equation the perishability of milk and the requirement to ensure the quality is maintained, then this efficiency becomes even more imperative.

Many dairy companies are encountering this problem with their milk pick-ups. Except, it is not simple. Once dairy companies add hundreds of milk pick-ups per day, with specific timeframes for each pick up due to - perishability, weather conditions, traffic, hauler availability, farm characteristics, production variability, milk pooling, milk swaps, and co-mingling – manual route planning begins to unravel and become a nightmare. It can take dairy companies many hours each day to process this complexity.

This substantial manual effort would be worth it if the route result were good. However, manual route planning often results in mistakes made. Manual processes create difficulty communicating between Producers, Haulers, and Dairy Office Staff, creating dissatisfaction and mistrust. Solutions not explicitly designed for milk pickups do not have the capabilities to cope with its unique complexities.

So, in an age where technology has transformed entire industries, what technology has been developed to tackle this problem for the dairy industry?

Mobile Manifest – a solution that makes sense

MADCAP's hauler Mobile Manifest is designed to help milk haulers and dairy companies lower costs and optimize truck usage.

This software helps increase visibility in the milk supply chain. Milk haulers, route schedulers, hauler payment managers, auditors, and third parties can view all milk pick-up and milk receiving information. This visibility lets managers see in real-time when each truck has reached each farm and which pick-up went where. So, a traceability trail is recorded for compliance and consumer obligations.

For the haulers, it increases transparency, flexibility, and communication with the dairy company. By using the Mobile Manifest, haulers can easily confirm scheduled routes for the day, scan barcodes, take notes such as unusual milk characteristics, and finalize miles traveled at the end of their shift. It has offline functionality, so the hauler can continue to utilize the tool, which will then automatically update and transmit the information once back online.

When unexpected events occur, such as a truck breakdown or a road closure, the Manifest will reschedule the drivers to an alternative route in real-time while alerting the producer and dairy company of any delays with the pick-up. Additionally, pick-ups can be rescheduled to a different hauler when a truck becomes out of action.

The hauler Mobile Manifest is validated for each entry, thus, dairy companies can receive data not only in real-time but also receive data that is cleaner and accurate. This prevents a data mess from occurring and provides the dairy company with immediate, actionable intelligence.

As discussed above, the Hauler Manifest does more than merely plot the most efficient route. However, what does this enhanced functionality mean for a dairy company's business?

Expand the usage of your fleet

The Hauler Mobile Manifest, alongside Milk Transport Scheduling and Route Optimization, reduces the time each hauler needs to plan their routes to just a few minutes. Even with exceptional events occurring, the software is flexible enough to reorganize milk pick-ups without difficulty.

This Manifest helps dairy companies keep milk pick-up deadlines; monitor haulers; customize milk pickups to consider on-farm access, so only trucks that can manage the characteristics on-farm are sent; and allow schedule changes as hauler availability alters. As a result, less time is spent planning, and truck usage is optimized. Therefore, increasing the use of available resources without needing to use new drivers or trucks.

Increase revenue per driver and cut costs

In our experience, we have found that inefficient milk pick-ups add costs to the milk collected; when extrapolated out across all milk pick-ups, that can be a considerable cost! The Hauler Manifest helps improve milk pick-up routes and traceability for every load. So, every hauler can make more pick-ups or travel less for each load per day. This maximizes the use of a dairy companies' milk fleet, resulting in decreased costs.Simply put, a dairy company can boost productivity and profits while decreasing effort and costs.

It has enhanced traceability and reduction in errors

The Mobile Manifest enables each truck to be recorded in real-time via GPS; it also helps define which farm's product was collected in which compartments of the tanker, which barcodes are scanned, and the silos that the milk was delivered to the dairy factory. This helps to meet Federal, State, and Country obligations. The milk can be traced right back from the factory to the farm – helping meet consumer demands surrounding traceability.

Additionally, the app is designed with the concept of minimal manual entry to avoid human errors. The software predetermined configured routes, master data to validate against, and information for the haulers - resulting in no random data entry due to human error - keeping the information trustworthy for dairy companies.

Data integrity

The App integrates with milk analyzers and weighing scales to avoid manual entry and user errors. Processes can then occur faster and with accuracy.

Also, plant to plant milk transfer information can be shared between users/drivers via Bluetooth. This upholds the data accuracy and integrity across the haulage process. The benefit of this feature is that it gives HQ the capability to drill down to the lowest level of detail of on-farm collections or traceability in real-time.

The ease of the Mobile Manifest allows haulers and dairy processors alike to spend less time collecting the data. It also removes the pain of sharing data between siloed and disparate systems. Instead, it seamlessly shares this data in a way that allows haulers and dairy processes to spend more time on adding value to their businesses.

When selecting a solution, it is important to make sure the solution is flexible enough to meet your requirements, and it must be reliable - if it is not, what is the point – do your research and ask for a trial. MADCAP's Hauler Mobile Manifest is a crucial tool that allows haulers and dairy companies to solve the 'Travelling Salesman Problem' while achieving optimization, efficiency, and cost savings.

MADCAPs’ Mobile Manifest is currently collecting 1.3 million loads of milk per year, and by the end of 2022 will be collecting over 2.6 million loads of milk per year.

MADCAP's Mobile Manifest is a crucial tool that allows haulers and dairy companies to solve the 'Travelling Salesman Problem' while achieving optimization, efficiency, and cost savings.