Data-driven supply chain and risk management solutions

Getting into a new project is always exciting and a bit scary. Providing software solutions for an industry that includes many stakeholders and associates in a supply chain holds many challenges. Working on data-driven solutions in a massive supply chain presents an opportunity to modernize the approach to your daily operations.

The dairy industry, especially on a bigger scale, is something that we know is based on high standards and that it involves more than one business operation. Each operation or business process generates a lot of data that hasn’t been utilized to its full potential. And it’s a lot of data since the dairy industry has a business volume to rival anyone’s. 

How to collect and utilize that data and transform it into metrics and insights in a software solution that will connect the supply chain from the beginning till the end? The next solutions do just that. They simplify the processes and deliver additional value to the dairy industry operations by providing real-time data, visualizations, and trackability. 

My Dairy Dashboard

So the first step in this new challenge was how to use that data and make it into something that will provide insight, help our clients make decisions with more precision and on time. And that is how My Dairy Dashboard was born. A web-based platform was created that can connect and visualize dairy data from multiple sources to generate key trends, fluctuations, and real-time data that help everyone involved in the dairy industry chain.

It also collects data and predicts future outcomes on milk quality, characteristics and volume so everyone included in the supply chain can plan more efficiently in their production and processing.

The key feature is collecting everyday data and presenting analytics that will help their day-to-day operations. My Dairy Dashboard aggregates, connects, and visualizes data from multiple sources, allows data sharing with nutritionists, veterinarians, consultants, and other people of interest, while enabling printing and exporting data with ease. Simply put, it’s a dashboard that gives you all the insight at your fingertips.

Even though “My Dairy Dashboard” is specific to the milk industry, the approach and general issues that were encountered could apply to various industries. Getting started with data coming in from multiple sources with their own structure and rules poses an issue for the user in terms of data management and utilization. Collecting your data from more than one place is time-consuming and most of the time it doesn’t present all the meaningful data. Information was coming from internal (from the farm) and external sources and in different formats and the key was using multiple methods to be able to aggregate that data.

My Dairy Dashboard resolves the issue by collecting and consolidating all that data to store it into data warehouses. This makes it possible for KPI’s to be calculated and to be shown on demand.

What makes this dashboard even more interesting is the visualization of data and reports that can be easily accessed and used to make calculated decisions. Having a visual aid with custom charts, trend lines, and indicators allows users to have the wanted information at their disposal just with a glance at the dashboard. The advantages of such dashboards are the options to customize to key individual users. Having easily accessible and accurate data is not the only thing that could help users make informed business decisions. The ability to share information with each person in the production, distribution chain, or with external associates makes it easy to have that clear information flow. 

The main outcomes of this solution are that the decision-making is made more precise and easier and transparency of day-to-day activities was achieved. Also, multiple data sources are connected into one cohesive context, there is visualization available based on insights and daily generated data, users can get full reports on demand, and the whole software was made user-friendly

The application of solutions like this could be adapted for industries that deal with output and input with certain processes in between. Whether it is input or raw goods production, consumer goods production, or customer service like call centers, such solutions could provide linkage and fluid information flow through their supply chain. Having correct key information could help prevent errors, anticipate changes and challenges in the user’s business process.

Mobile manifest

So, how to track your product and its movement to ensure “just in time” reactions and delivery? How to hack it in a forever evolving world where paper trails are slowly becoming obsolete? By creating a solution that renders paper-based delivery notes outdated, users could have an easily accessible application they could take anywhere with them.

And this is how the Mobile manifest was created. It solves these issues by connecting your smartphone and the software while providing real-time data and traceability on milk collection and movement. What was achieved with this application is that error occurrence was decreased and the whole process from collection, movement, and delivery of raw milk was accelerated. 

This manifest uses mobile and web technology as the user interface to provide real-time data validation and acquisition, and a data processing module to record individual farm pickup records, assemble full manifests, and route data to the appropriate external systems.

In the world of your everyday users, it makes their job easier.

Dairy Revenue Protection

The next issue was how to make sure that all your work won’t be jeopardized. So, Daily Revenue protection was created. It’s a solution that offers insurance against unexpected declines in the quarterly revenue from milk sales when compared to a guaranteed coverage level.

This data-driven insurance solution is based on the Monte Carlo simulation and includes multiple factors such as location (State), milk production level, milk quality, insurance period, and coverage levels. It insures against unpredictable milk sales revenue drops, caused by price drops, by covering the difference between quarter-based final revenue guarantee and actual milk revenue. Key features are that it estimates premiums and protects revenue against unexpected declines. And what is there not to like about something that will make you feel safer and give you the stability to your operations?!

Producer forwarding contracting

As in any agricultural industry, the prices of your products are something that your business heavily depends on. So to tackle that issue a forward contracting tracker was created and implemented. It was created as a web-based tool enabling futures and options trading based on managed Forward Contract Programs. 

Forward contracting is a way for producers to set prices for milk to be delivered in the future. Producers manage risk without the cash outlay of maintaining their own futures account. It is an arrangement between producers and cooperatives/plants. To make things easier, this tool manages forward contracting programs, manages users, co-ops and patrons. 

From a broker’s perspective, this enables a single, fully automated solution for placing orders at the exchange with ease. And from a farmer’s perspective, they can sell their milk at agreed-upon price months ahead.

It’s a tool that gathers everything in one place, and in turn, it provides reports and data important for the business in the dairy industry.

Fusion

Fusion is a web application that connects the whole supply chain in the dairy industry, for commodities such as milk, cream, butterfat, etc., but it could easily be implemented for trading and transporting commodities like fuel, fruits, vegetables, or other inputs used in processing to create consumer goods. 

It is a comprehensive web application for supply chain management that serves to match supply and demand, connects haulers to loads, and gives an overview of the whole process. Each part of the process can be viewed from a different standpoint, from the suppliers, buyers, and haulers. 

What is specific about this web application is that it connects those business processes in one place. It offers a clear overview of the supply chain and how, when and where are the goods moving. The main feature is that it provides the implementation of a completely cohesive and traceable logistics process, with real-time data and the ability to create contracts between suppliers and buyers, all in one place.

How does it work? The supplier, or raw goods producer, enters the data on quantity, quality, price, and other needed details in their supplier tab. The buyer, or processor, enters his data on the required quantity and other information. The demand and supply records are then matched by a customer service administrator (CSR) with a contract, but the application will have the ability to generate this automatically. 

The haulers have an overview of the goods that are available for shipping and they can bid on a haul, or CSR will match them, manually or automatically, so the goods could travel from supplier to the buyer on time. This feature links to the Mobile Manifest solution for load tracking. 

Fusion is a software solution made to unify the supply chain and movement of goods. It allows for showing detailed information on goods, their quality, quantity, price, and others, so the whole process is more transparent, efficient, and linked better. Not only does it make goods trading less complex, but it connects supply and demand at the right levels. 

Conclusion

In the end, what we can summarize is that if you have a great software solution that is completely tailored to your client’s needs, you can bring great value to their business operations. Using data as a starting point and listening to your client, you can deliver results that will help their business grow. Uplifting the supply chain processes means more value and fewer costs for the client, as well as a chance to integrate the just-in-time strategy. The possibilities are endless when you want to revolutionize the supply chain, especially in today’s dynamic market. Another important outtake from this challenge is that we can take that experience and knowledge and transfer it to many industries to come. Data-driven solutions are becoming the basis for managing your business in an online world and solutions as such will be the driving force towards success.

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Valentina Dugan
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