As the global population continues to rise well past seven billion people, the demand for basic sustenance like dairy, meat and produce puts greater pressure on producers. And, when it comes to dairy products, the production process needs to be done as quickly as possible. Dairy products like milk and cream can go bad very quickly, which is why distributors need to get their products on the shelves as soon as possible. However, the traditional dairy production process can no longer meet the demand. When you make the decision to streamline your packaging operations and modernize your dairy distribution, you’ll help eliminate environmental waste, speed up the process and improve working conditions.
Use Technology to Modernize Your Dairy Distribution
To reduce the number of steps in the dairy distribution process, you can implement many different types of technology. This will help speed up your process and decrease your margin of error. The quicker you can get products from the cow to the shelves, the longer shelf life it will have, giving you the opportunity to make more money and satisfy customers by providing a product that will last a decent amount of time.
Implement RFID Tags
The U.S. has roughly 50,000 dairy farms that produce products like milk, cheese and yogurt, but the amount of cows needed to produce on this scale is high. Because there are so many animals involved in the process, it can be difficult at times to keep track of every cow’s well-being. Many farmers are using technology that can alert them as to their cows’ activity, which helps give insight into how the cows may be feeling. These RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags are not only raising the quality of life for the animals but help to ensure that milk from an unhealthy cow is not being collected and mixed into the production process.
Invest in Cooling Tanks
Because it’s extremely important that milk and other dairy products remain at a certain temperature to guarantee that they are safe to consume and protected from growing harmful bacteria, farmers and distributors need to take extra care during production. In the past, milk was collected from the cows manually by human workers before it needed to be immediately refrigerated. You can imagine that this process was time-consuming and not very efficient. In the modern-day dairy industry, most milk is collected and transported directly into cooling tanks.
Milk is held to an extremely high standard of regulation because of the potential for consumers to become sick if exposed to a product that has not been properly collected or stored. The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act implemented by the FDA placed stricter standards on the dairy production process as a way to protect consumers. This is one of the reasons these cooling tanks have become more popular. The milk travels from the cow through a series of pipes directly to a cooling tank where it remains for under 48 hours before it’s taken to be processed.
Buy Milking Machines
One of the best ways to modernize your dairy production and reduce the stress put on both animals and workers is by using milking machines. In the past, cows were always milked by hand, which can be a tedious job. When you add in the fact that millions of Americans consume dairy products every day, the task of milking enough cows to supply those kinds of numbers becomes overwhelmingly daunting. Milk machines are great because they do not require any manual milking and the process can take place at any given time, which is often better for the cows as well. Using this technology also helps farmers to identify any problems with the quality of the milk at the very beginning of the process.
Make Use of Byproducts
Unfortunately, there can be many byproducts created during the dairy process, but many farmers are placing a specific focus on sustainability and try to find ways to make use of these excess products. For example, during the production process, whey and casein are two types of protein created from cheesemaking. Instead of tossing these ingredients in the trash, many producers convert them into other products to be sold such as fitness supplements and baby formula. This helps to reduce waste and can offer farmers an additional source of income as they introduce another product.
Automate the Packaging Process
With such a large scale operation, packaging is another time-consuming part of the process. Gone are the days when individual workers would manually pack milk, cheese and yogurt into boxes prepared to be shipped off. Now, technology has greatly increased distribution productivity by using robotic machines that can quickly and effectively test and package milk. This refers to the process of adding dairy products to their container, but also the packing and shipping process. Use high-quality shipping supplies that can be added to the automated process to speed up your distribution timeframe and reduce stress on workers.
Benefits of Modernizing Dairy Distribution
While the cost of purchasing new machinery can be high, it’s well worth the investment for dairy farmers, processors and distributors. The benefits of modernization greatly outweigh the negatives and, in some cases, this new technology is necessary in order to meet strict quality standards set by the FDA. When you modernize your process, you’re helping to ensure that high-quality products are being sold to consumers, reducing the risk of illness. Automating your processing and distribution centers will increase products’ shelf life and lower the stress and strain typically put on workers. Many farmers and processing centers are also focusing on sustainability, which not only helps your business but also reduces harmful environmental impacts.
Tech and Dairy Go Hand-in-Hand
If you aren’t already using some of these great technological advances in your dairy distribution process, you should start. The cost of the machinery will be a worthwhile investment in the long run as the population and demand for dairy products grow. Help to improve food safety, reduce environmental impacts and streamline your packaging operations for optimal business performance.