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How ERP Software for Dairy Industry Businesses Offers Solutions for 4 Major Challenges


Explore Dairy ERP

How ERP Software for Dairy Industry Businesses Offers Solutions for 4 Major Challenges

10 Oct 2023

John McCurdy
A dairy worker oversees milk bottles moving on a conveyer.

We’re all familiar with the saying that there’s “no use in crying over spilled milk.” The message of this adage—that we must move past our disappointments and overcome our challenges to secure success—is coincidentally quite resonant for today’s dairy businesses, with U.S. firms in the subvertical struggling to stay profitable and their UK counterparts suffering from decreasing productivity.

These trends are in part due to external factors, including unfavourable government policies and increased international competition, but they are compounded by the intrinsic complexities of dairy manufacturing operations. Milk is unlike other raw materials in a variety of ways, and its distinct properties demand careful handling and optimal usage for the best results.

For the highly specialised processes that these objectives require, manual methods and paper-based record-keeping simply won’t suffice. Organisations like yours need a dairy enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution not only for the purpose-built capabilities that such a system can offer, but also for the “single source of truth” that these platforms provide.

Let’s look in greater detail at four of the most significant challenges in dairy processing and manufacturing and how ERP software for the dairy industry can help you overcome them. Along the way, you’ll see how a system tailored for dairy businesses can help your organisation tackle the complicated processes required in the sector.

Challenge 1: Establishing Bidirectional Traceability

As you know, dairy processors and manufacturers almost always source their milk from a variety of farms, and while that does provide greater assurance that you’ll be able to get the quantities you need at the right price, it complicates traceability considerably.

That in turn means that the sprawling supply chains of today’s dairy industry make ensuring food safety a more difficult matter, as it can be a real headache to track problematic lots back to their source and identify affected products downstream.

Solution: Lot and Sublot Management Features

An ERP system designed specifically for dairy industry companies can afford you lot and sublot management features to help maintain a complete picture of your supply chain, including the raw materials and finished goods moving along it. And traceability data isn’t lost when lots are split.

Advanced systems—like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP—let you drill down to the individual item level to inspect details and quickly track lots back to their origin, informing recalls when necessary and streamlining the process with automations.

Challenge 2: Tracking Raw Milk Components

Raw milk varies in its components—solids, butterfat, protein and non-fat—and the breakdown of these components in each lot determines both that milk’s monetary value as well as its best use case, be it liquid milk or incorporation in another dairy product.

Attempting to analyse each lot by hand as it is received and then calculate the total weight and value of each component, as well as their combined weights and values, can be a record-keeping nightmare and is certainly not something to tackle with physical spreadsheets or generic software.

Solution: Component Management Features

The dedicated component management functionalities of dairy ERP platforms can integrate with electronic component analysis equipment to automatically record the breakdown of lots received and sync that data with the central system.

What’s more, the solution can handle all of the value and weight calculations behind the scenes. That gives your staff the information they need with the confidence that it’s accurate and up-to-date, helping them to make better decisions, faster.

Challenge 3: Managing Multiple End Products

Dairies do a lot more than just milk. It’s one of the key ingredients in a number of end products, from yogurt and hard cheese to butter and powdered whey. Having a wide range of offerings can be an advantage, as it helps businesses capture a share of the market across multiple categories.

However, it can also be complicated to manage several different lines producing different items. Each will have exacting requirements for the ingredients used, the quantities of them and the manufacturing method to employ—and that kind of information can’t just be “tribal knowledge,” it must be digitised.

Solution: Robust Recipe Controls

With ERP software for the dairy industry, you’ll have access to recipe and formula controls that let you dial in the parameters of your products with precision. Plus, the specifications are all maintained on a shared digital platform, so the information is highly accessible.

Consistency in your recipes and manufacturing processes promotes quality control and, in turn, better customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Dairy products are frequently staples in kitchens—be they those of restaurants, homes or other downstream processors—meaning reliability is key.

Challenge 4: Minimising Waste From Spoilage

Another complication of dealing with dairy products is their perishable nature. Every lot of raw milk will have its own window of freshness, and most foods in which it’s the primary ingredient also have a limited shelf life after which they can’t be consumed and become waste.

If you’re trying to track the expiration dates of the countless lots of raw milk that you receive with a pen-and-paper logbook or single spreadsheet file, the room for error is huge due to manual data entry, and the risk of confusion and inaccuracy is considerable.

Solution: Expiration Date Management Features

Software built for use in dairy facilities is equipped to deal with the task of managing expiration dates of your raw materials and finished products. The information can be logged in the system at receipt via a simple barcode scan, and it’s captured and accessible via the shared platform.

From there, key users can track timeframes and make smart decisions about the allocation of lots. The best dairy ERP can also enable notifications when expiration dates are approaching so that your staff can make use of goods before they spoil.

At Aptean, We Understand Your Challenges

The point was made before, but it bears repeating—the dairy sector is singular within the broader food and beverage industry due to the properties of raw milk and the products made with it. But that truth doesn’t have to be an obstacle for your business. You just need the right solutions to facilitate the highly specialised processes your operations require.

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP was developed to address your challenges, comprising unique industry-specific technology built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform. That gives the system a user-friendly feel, intuitive interface and low learning curve, all of which help foster adoption and utilisation of the platform.

Plus, we offer flexible cloud implementations on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, which can provide your organisation with the increased scalability, enhanced cybersecurity, improved data protection and broader accessibility you need. These setups also require minimal hardware requirements, sparing you additional expense.

Finally, Frost and Sullivan recently recognised us with their Customer Value Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food and Beverage Industry, which stands as a testament to our commitment to customers and dedication to service. We’re proud to serve as a long-term partner for every company that chooses us for their business solutions.

Ready to experience the difference of Aptean's ERP software for dairy industry businesses? Contact us today, or request a personalised demo.

Start transforming your dairy business today

If you’re ready to take your operation to the next level, we’d love to help.

Glass of chocolate milk