The US Dairy Industry in 2020, like the rest of the world, has been changed utterly by the Covid-19 pandemic. What has been remarkable is how incredibly responsive the industry has been to the new demands placed upon them. And how digital transformation has been accelerated by Covid.
This has been an incredibly difficult time for the industry. We have been designated an essential
service because of our obvious importance to the food supply chain. We have also been asked to
work in incredibly pressurized circumstances.
While other industries have been forced to close due to outbreaks, Dairy Producers and Processors
have responded heroically, making huge changes to their working environments to make sure that
surges in demand for staples like milk butter and cheese were met, while still maintaining Covid-19
safety protocols and protecting one another and the community.
The pandemic has accelerated the Digital Transformation of the Dairy Industry. Industry has seen the
different ways in which the digital revolution can benefit them. These changes will continue into
2021 and beyond.One huge advantage of Digital Transformation is remote data. Not being able to travel freely hasmade visibility of what is happening all along the supply chain more important than ever. Imagine being able to see what is going on down on the farm, without having a physical farm visit. Being able to troubleshoot and solve problems from your desk, home office, or phone. Intelligent sensors and digital reporting make it easy to get real time information from the farm, and to respond quicky to deal with the challenges that arise.
Every Dairy company is looking at itself and reviewing their responses to events in 2020. They are
looking at what was easy, what worked to solve issues. They are thinking of improvements that
could be made to make it easier for their employees and to make sure they can meet customer
demands and offer high quality product into the market to meet demand.
We have customers that would have had to put a field rep in a car for hours or days to get to a farm
and review operations there. Using our data, they can do that work in moments and from their desk.
This is a huge efficiency saving, yes. But also prevents a close contact that we want to avoid as much
as possible during these times. It is an added benefit of digital transformation that we didn’t see the
complete value of before 2020.
Another big change is the increased demand for traceability. People want more and more
information about the food they eat. In troubled times, people want greater assurance that their
milk is safe, and has been properly handled at every step along the way. Technology now allows us
to have eyes on the product all the way from the farm to the plant.
One big change is the consistency and control available in the milk pickup process. Previously we
were dependent upon an individual driver doing everything right in order to get accurate weights,
samples and data. Now, we can automate all of those processes. The danger with data can be
garbage in-garbage out. What is new and exciting here is the ability to get instant accurate
information direct from sensors without depending on human data entry.
We now have Traceability all the way from the farm to the plant. An important piece of the puzzle
that was invisible to us until now. This digital transformation means that we can have instant
accurate information from production to payment.
Covid-19 has acted as an accelerator for the digital transformation of the US Dairy industry. This
transformation will be long term and far-reaching and affect processes from on-farm all the way to
the plant, with a multiple data streams converging to offer information across the whole value chain
from farm to plant.