An Automated Solution
Fortunately, recent advances in tracking technologies and data collection solutions have made the dairy supply chain more traceable than ever. Dairy cooperative Agri-Mark, for example, achieved end-to-end traceability as soon as it started approaching its tracking strategies as a form of data synchronization. "We recognized that we were still collecting a lot of data on paper, which increases the risk for errors, so we recommended to senior management that we bring some automation in to improve our processes," Agri-Mark’s Supply Chain Director Susan Zucker told SupplyChainBrain.
By automating data collection, Agri-Mark may soon have the ability to pinpoint any shipment at any stage of delivery. "We see end-to-end traceability as the next level of data synchronization,” says Zucker. "We need to really think through the key pieces of data we want to collect, where we will collect them and how we will report off that data.”
Indeed, aspects of the dairy supply chain have evolved in recent years to accommodate shifting consumer demands. Longer-lasting dairy products such as shredded cheese, for example, are increasingly delivered by rail instead of by truck. Similarly, exports of dry milk products have spiked, since dry milk can be shipped over farther distances than liquid milk. Even these products, however, owe their safe delivery to the same well-coordinated supply chain as their liquid counterparts — ensuring that no dairy lover ever has to cry over spilled milk.