Looking at dairy logistics

Suzanne Christiansen reports

In the world of dairies, the most ideal solution would be to have the cows placed next to the dairy and hooked up directly to the production line. In this way one would not have to worry about milk trucks, farm cooling tanks, farm sampling and so forth. However, we all know that this is not the case.

Throughout the past century, efficiency and industrial revolution has made a drastic cut in the numbers of local dairies. Today there are a few, but huge, dairies that collect milk from farms up to 100 km away – this is where milk trucks and milk collection becomes a key element of a business.

As in many other businesses, the dairies are focused on optimising the outcome of their investments. The key factors when operating a fleet of milk trucks are to have them collect as much milk in the shortest amount of time, at the lowest cost and at the same time, contributing to a better environment.

First of all, it has to be determined how much milk is needed to collect, where it is located and if there is the right size milk truck for the job.

Then a collection route should be designed that will allow filling of the milk truck to the limit before returning to the dairy and at the same time, using as little time and fuel as possible when doing so.

The collection and un-loading time then needs to be looked at. How much time does the truck spent at the farm and how much time at the dairy before it´s ready to return to the road? Is the milk ready at the farm? Is the dairy ready to receive the milk? An estimate of the collection route and some continuous adjustment is necessary in order to fill the truck and also to adjust the arrival time at the dairy in order to minimise un-loading time and CIP time as much as possible.

Every minute the milk truck is caught up in waiting time at the farm, the dairy or the CIP station, the dairy and ultimately the farmer will have a reduced outcome of their investment and this will eventually result in unnecessary costs, bringing up the price on the end product – most likely because the right logistic tools were not at their disposal.

Poul Tarp has been designing and manufacturing metering systems and software solutions to the dairy sector for the past 25 years, which can help with efficiency, reducing costs and improving work environments in these areas. For further information, visit: www.poultarp.com.

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