Digital Dairy Chain

Working together to advance transport in the dairy industry

Strength in Places project partners and academics are working together to create more efficient transportation in the dairy supply chain.

Meeting at national dairy cooperative First Milk’s Lake District Creamery in Aspatria, the group identified and discussed challenges for dairy transport across south west Scotland and Cumbria.

First Milk’s distribution and supply chain managers, along with local hauliers Wm Armstrong and dairy company Lactalis, walked the academics through a ‘milk intake’ tour. They detailed all stages of milk collection and delivery from the farm to the creamery.

The areas under scrutiny range from the complicated logistics of collecting milk safely and efficiently from the farm to the importance of milk quality. How this is maintained throughout the process and best recorded is also being investigated.

Having defined the areas of need, academics from the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Innovation Centre CENSIS are now charged with trying to address them through the latest research, innovative technology and science:

“The detail provided by the industry partners during the sandpit was invaluable for us to understand the challenges faced by the sector, a crucial start to defining the requirements of solutions to satisfy the business need. Said Professor Ivan Andonovic, University of Strathclyde

Maintaining a close co-innovation partnership throughout developments ensure the solution remains aligned to the need and reduces any potential barriers to adoption by the dairy farming community.”

Rachel Wakefield of CENSIS, one of Scotland’s Innovation Centres added: “This sandpit provided so much insight into dairy transport and its unappreciated complexity. It highlighted several opportunities for innovation, from working in different ways through to the potential for new types of connected systems and devices like sensors.”

This transport meeting was the last of the ‘sandpits’, bringing together experts, researchers and project partners to consider areas central to the digital dairy value chain project. The two previous meetings have focused on factory processes and on-farm technology. In total, over 30 challenges and therefore potential projects were identified at the three meetings. The industry partners are now ranking these in terms of importance while the academics rate their feasibility for further research. Successful projects will be developed as part of the Digital Dairy Chain’s demonstration activities.