Since the days of the White Revolution, the production of milk and its related products has seen a significant increase, leading to remarkable growth in the dairy industry and technological advancements. With 254.5 million tonnes (mt) of milk produced in 2022, India has emerged as the world’s largest producer.
However, the industry continues to face several challenges, such as low productivity, poor milk quality, and inefficient supply chain management. Additionally, despite a growing number of innovative technologies being available, around 80 per cent of the farms still manage their operations manually, often using pen and paper. According to the Associated Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and MRSS, about 3 per cent of the milk produced annually is ultimately wasted due to a lack of supply chain management. This volume of wastage, coupled with the increased demand for dairy products could easily hamper India’s plan to produce about 300 million tonnes of milk by 2024.
However, if the industry chooses to integrate modern technology fully into its operations, such as affordable and user-friendly SaaS solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud is set to revolutionise the Indian dairy sector. In terms of enhancing the consumer experience and improving business functionality, it is undeniable that cloud technology will be a crucial factor in the modernisation process.
Let us understand the value cloud technology brings to the dairy industry and how it benefits in enhancing efficiencies and productivity.
Real-time data analytics
While a lot is being done towards cattle management and their health and hygiene, there is no real-time visibility into the entire life cycle of a bottle/pouch of milk, a can of yoghurt, paneer, or other dairy items that leaves the facility to reach a grocery store or the customer’s doorstep. Farmers do not have visibility into returns or even spoilage. As a result, cloud-based software solutions play a key role in supply chain management by providing real-time data analytics. The software solution enables dairy farmers and processors to quickly and accurately analyse data from various sources, such as sensors and equipment, to optimise their operations, increase efficiency, and improve product quality that can help make informed decisions about their operations.
For instance, dairy companies can use this data analytics to determine the optimal time to collect milk from farmers, the most efficient processing methods, and the best distribution channels. As a result, businesses can save time by speeding up the overall process at a much lower cost.
Tracking and traceability
Modern technological solutions are proving to be instrumental in the development of new-age farms and dairies in India. As a result, dairy farms and businesses are rapidly embracing innovative technology to keep up with the growing demand and product quality. With easy tracking and traceability offered by cloud technology, the dairy industry can monitor its products’ life cycle - from production to last-mile delivery. This is particularly important for ensuring food safety and compliance with regulatory requirements.
In this method, dairy companies can quickly identify any errors or issues that may arise during transportation or storage. This can help them take corrective action to prevent spoilage or contamination, thereby protecting their reputation and ensuring consumer safety. Moreover, the adoption of these solutions has significantly reduced IT infrastructure costs, enabling dairy farmers to concentrate on enhancing productivity and efficiency.
Automated inventory management
The new cloud-based software solutions can also help automate inventory management for dairy companies. It helps them manage their stocks more efficiently, reduce wastage, and minimise the risk of stockouts. But how?
The cloud-based inventory management software helps dairy companies automate their inventory management processes by providing real-time tracking, streamlining data collection, automating replenishment, better forecasting, and providing easy mobile access. This helps in reducing the amount of time and resources that dairy companies spend on such tasks. It is also a great tool to free up employee focus on other critical aspects of the business.
Cold chain upkeep
The dairy industry relies on maintaining the cold chain to ensure their products are safe for consumption. Cloud technology can help dairy companies monitor the temperature of their products during transportation and storage.
The cloud solution can help them detect any temperature deviations that may occur and take corrective action quickly to prevent spoilage. As a result, by maintaining the cold chain, dairy companies can ensure the quality and safety of their products and avoid costly recalls.
Optimisation of distribution routes
Cloud solutions can help dairy companies optimise their distribution routes. By analysing data on demand and supply, dairy farms can identify the most efficient routes for their products. This technology can further help reduce transportation costs, minimise delivery times, and improve customer satisfaction. By optimising distribution routes, dairy companies can also reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to sustainability efforts.
Achieving Cloud Tech
Technology adoption in the dairy industry, just like all other industries, has helped evolve its business dynamics. In the Indian context, companies that have adopted cloud solutions have witnessed significant growth. It has helped them reduce manual labour and allowed people to focus on more important aspects of the business, become creative, and experiment with newer ways of working. It is time that more farms and companies come forward to adopt cloud solutions so that the Indian dairy industry can continue to hold its position as the world’s foremost milk producer and deliver premium-quality products that align with customer expectations.
The author is CEO & Co-Founder of Mr. Milkman by Ever.Ag