How Glanbia Uses Asavie's Tech to Connect Fleets, Factories, Farmers and Retailers

An Irish manufacturer of nutritional supplement and dairy products uses Asavie's technology to add visibility to the beginning and end of its supply chain.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

In 2011, Glanbia began integrating new technology into the beginning of its dairy product supply chain as well. The company purchased metering technology, known as Diessel Flash, from German manufacturer GEA and installed it on its fleet of milk tanks. As the tanks are being filled at a dairy farm, the meters use a range of sensors to track both the quantity of milk and its characteristics, such as the percentage of cream, protein and lactose. Glanbia tasked Asavie with developing a means by which this data could be collected at the farm and transmitted to Glanbia's manufacturing executive system (MES). Glanbia's objective was to both automate payments to the farmer (by replacing paper-based billing) and increase the efficiency of milk deliveries to its dairy processing plant.

The data generated by the Diessel Flash meter on the milk tanker is transferred to a GPRS radio via an RS222 serial port. The information is then transmitted to the MES using PassBridge.

"This triggers a payment to the farmer, which cuts out a lot of paper-based processes," O'Byrne explains. "The tanker then notifies the factory to ask, for example, 'This milk has a high cream content; where should I bring it?' So, the MES system will respond to say 'Bring it to loading dock 4, because we need to make whey and that dock is primed for that high-cream product.'"

In addition to selling milk, cheese and yogurt under the Dairy Ireland brand, Glanbia provides whey and other ingredients for its nutritional supplement products.

"The implementation of the Asavie PassBridge, in conjunction with the GEA Diessel Flash system, has led to improvements in the timeliness and quality of milk-collection data, and supports the implementation of milk-planning systems," says Fergal O'Shea, Glanbia's IT manager. "It has provided automated data gathering from our fleet of trucks in real time, giving us information faster—which, in turn, is fed immediately to our processing facilities, giving us time to adjust to varying supply patterns."

O'Shea says Glanbia also shares data with farmers via an online portal, so that they can track their herds' performance.

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