Increasing Milk Consumption in School Will Help to Reduce Food Waste

School milk declines in recent years have been attributed to USDA regulations that limit milk varieties to lower-fat and fat-free flavored options.  Many students reject these milk varieties because they don’t taste good and these changes have led to food waste.  It is a significant problem in many schools and some districts are taking action.  For example, some schools separate waste into categories like recyclables, food to be donated, upcycling bins and general trash. One program in Virginia reported that unopened milk was donated to food pantries where it is in high demand.

A school district in Ohio was reportedly paying for students to take milk a la carte, because the student is required to take all the meal components in order for the school to be reimbursed by USDA. This approach often results in significant waste if the student only wants the milk and throws out the remainder of the meal.

Good News in L.A.

In Los Angeles, preliminary findings of a six-month pilot program in city schools indicate that reintroducing flavored milk in school meals helps to increase student participation and reduce food waste. After the school district found that it generated 600 tons of food waste each day, it conducted a pilot program in 27 schools to test the impact of reintroducing more milk varieties.

According to the LA School Report, an online news publication covering school news, the district previously generated four and a half ounces of waste per each eight-ounce serving of milk. That equals 236 gallons of milk wasted per week. The pilot program, conversely, showed that nearly all the milk was consumed when flavored milk was offered.

“IDFA is taking action to support policies that will increase school milk demand and reduce food waste in schools,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, who is following the issue in school districts across the country.

Article taken from IDFA website.  For more information go to http://www.idfa.org/news-views/headline-news/article/2017/04/13/increasing-milk-consumption-in-school-will-help-to-reduce-food-waste.

 

 

DSI Welcomes New Staff

Lindsay Elliott recently join DSI as IT/Software Support Specialist. Lindsay has a BS degree from Carroll University in Computer Science, Communication and Sociology.

With over nine years of experience as a systems administrator, she is a perfect addition to DSI’s IT department. Lindsay enjoys working with customers, advising them on their IT needs, upgrades and other requirements.

Lindsay lives in North Prairie, WI, is married, enjoys time with her 3 fur babies (dogs) and going pheasant hunting with her husband, Chris. She is a welcome asset to DSI’s IT team.

DSI welcomes Laurie Rampone to our Procurement Implementation team. Her main area of customer support is Liquid Sales and Liquid Procurement.

Laurie’s background includes more than 25 years in Business Administration, Operations and Finance, working in various industries. Her previous position was Administration Manager for a global company in the alternative power industry. Her background is invaluable in working with our customers and training them to understand their procurement software area.

Apart from seven years living in the Chicago area, Laurie was born, raised and continues to reside in Wisconsin. Laurie is a sports enthusiast who loves watching as much as participating.

We welcome Lindsay and Laurie to our DSI family.

 

DSI Welcomes New Staff

Lindsay Elliott recently join DSI as IT/Software Support Specialist.  Lindsay has a BS degree from Carroll University in Computer Science, Communication and Sociology. With over nine years of experience as a systems administrator, she is a perfect addition to DSI’s IT department.  Lindsay enjoys working with customers, advising them on their IT needs, upgrades and other requirements.

Lindsay lives in North Prairie, WI, is married, enjoys time with her 3 fur babies (dogs) and going pheasant hunting with her husband, Chris. She is a welcome asset to DSI’s IT team.

DSI welcomes Laurie Rampone to our Procurement Implementation team.  Her main area of customer support is Liquid Sales and Liquid Procurement.  Laurie’s background includes more than 25 years in Business Administration, Operations and Finance, working in various industries. Her previous position was Administration Manager for a global company in the alternative power industry. Her background is invaluable in working with our customers and training them to understand their procurement software area.

Apart from seven years living in the Chicago area, Laurie was born, raised and continues to reside in Wisconsin. Laurie is a sports enthusiast who loves watching as much as participating.

We welcome Lindsay and Laurie to our DSI family.

MDVA Selects DSI ERP Software

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Select DSI ERP Systems for Powder and Butter Plants 

ELKHORN, WI – July, 2016 – Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers, one of the nation’s largest dairy processing cooperatives, has selected Data Specialists Inc. (DSI) as the premier provider for its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) manufacturing system for their two manufacturing facilities. These plants produce a range of products including butter, milk powders, cream and condensed products.

DSI was selected among various other ERP systems during a search that lasted over a year.  Maryland-Virginia replaced their aging, 20+ year old custom ERP system. They were also accustomed to using a variety of spreadsheets and emails going back and forth to connect their processes.

“DSI’s ERP software was selected based upon its ability to provide Maryland & Virginia with the necessary visibility needed to track and monitor milk flow, production and sales in one location with the added benefit of seeing the transactions all in one database.”

         – Wendy Wertz, Director of Finance

As part of the project, DSI’s system will be responsible for activities ranging from taking orders, handling production, evaluating inventory, and creating invoices as well as all of the dairy specific functions. These functions include handling component level shrink, scheduling of milk, aiding in market administrator reporting, and following food safety and traceability guidelines.

About Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc.
Serving member-owners since 1920, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. is headquartered in Reston, VA., just minutes from the heart of the nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. The cooperative markets milk for 1,500-plus dairy farmer owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S. known for being a leader in the dairy industry, Maryland & Virginia has an 85-plus year reputation for integrity, service and high quality products.

About Data Specialists Inc.
DSI is a leader in dairy and food software development and is installed in over 160 dairy facilities managing procurement, manufacturing, distribution, inventory, traceability, and all other related business activities. With nearly 40 years of dairy software experience, DSI is the preferred solution for businesses ranging from small family owned operations to some of the largest dairy entities in the United States.

For more information on DSI please contact Thomas Filak at 262-723-5726 or tfilak@dataspecialists.com

 

The Problem with Keeping Milk out of your ERP System

by Thomas Filak, Data Specialists, Inc.

In previous articles, we’ve discussed some of the many complications with the dairy industry and the dairy industry.  (Our popular Dairy ERP piece titled “Why traditional ERP doesn’t fit Dairy”.)  The complications of dealing with milk in a computer system that is designed for more generic manufacturing are numerous. These systems often cannot account for components, they are not able to deal with delayed pricing, class pricing, liquid inventory, and some even have a hard time with random weighted items. Notice I have not mentioned the concept of federal order reporting and class utilization, either. Generic ERP systems often require work arounds or an enormous amount of custom programming to handle these instances.

How are most dairy companies handling these complications and scenarios? They’re leaving their milk out of their ERP system.

On the surface it would seem this is the simple, easy answer to avoiding a lot of headaches. A more thorough review highlights the short comings of this approach, and the complications it creates. It avoids the complications from custom coding, and most figure that Excel (do we need some MSFT TM symbol here?) is a powerful enough tool to help them with their analysis.

In this approach, the manufacturer avoids the milk complication by picking production up at the point of the creation of a finished good product. There is some manual tracking as production occurs, but it is almost entirely focused on traceability and lot tracking for the purposes of food safety. Hand tracking of milk losses and components is almost non-existent in a good portion of the dairy industry. In nearly every circumstance these numbers – actual loss numbers – are backed into by an accountant on a spreadsheet at the end of a given time period (e.g. monthly).

The spreadsheet approach is a common strategy for most of the customers we see with aging ERP systems. These spreadsheets are often populated a day or two after production is done and entered by hand by someone in the office, and then sent over to finance or accounting. Often referred to as “make sheets” these documents track anything from the amount of milk taken to a vat or separator, all the way to the amount of finished goods inventory created. These “make sheets” are often the blood of the production staff and nearly sacred. While they provide a good source of information, their existence as a reporting tool is limited by both their accuracy and their timeliness.

It’s not just milk – It’s the components.

Tracking a liquid is a complicated task without accounting for the makeup of the liquid. In our industry, the true cost of milk is in the butterfat, solids non fat, protein and solids within the milk. Even if milk is accounted for on a spreadsheet – how accurate is your costing at a component level? Can your spreadsheet account for the quality of each load of milk, each production run, and all of your finished goods?

Can true production efficiency be obtained without accurate shrink calculations?

The “make sheets” we see at the plant level often account for production in terms of what was used, what was made, and lot numbers. What is often lost at the point of production is what was lost. In dairy production, no matter what the product is you’re creating, there is some inherent shrink involved. It doesn’t matter if the shrink occurs due to a CIP, overfill, or one of the countless human errors that can happen between raw materials and loading a truck for shipping.

There are also yield considerations. Every customer we visit has some sort of benchmark for yields, a standard they are hoping to obtain. While most companies are doing yield calculations for each production run or each production day, most of that data is coming from calculations that are being done based upon information gathered from the “make sheets,” meaning that this information is often days or weeks behind when the production actually occurred. How difficult is it to work with your production staff to fix an issue that happened on a Tuesday three weeks ago? The delay in reporting and error rate on these make sheets often causes missed training opportunities to help increase the efficiency of your production floor.

Obtaining true costs is nearly impossible without tracking your milk in your ERP system.

Dairy costing is a complicated and often time consuming process for many of the companies we meet with. The difficulty of balancing the milk that is paid for versus what ends up in your silos is just the beginning of a long and complex calculation that takes in consideration anything from procurement shrink, to production shrink, all the way to cooler or warehouse shrink. Without managing the milk in the ERP system, the numbers for costing calculations come in spreadsheets and handwritten notes. Along with that there are some stray emails noting production variances and another note from milk accounting with final numbers that have been settled on for milk purchases.

Someone in finance then spends a day or two tracking all of these things down, putting it into yet again – another spreadsheet – and goes through the complicated task of making sense of it all. What are the odds that all of this information is correct, and that their costing calculations will be accurate?

There are many reasons companies choose to track their milk outside of their ERP system, however I keep coming back to the same question over and over again:

How many other industries would try to track their most important and most expensive raw material by hand?

For more information on how to management your liquids/components throughout your plant, please contact Tom Filak at 262-723-5726.

 

New DairyHauler App Takes Milk Ticket Entry to a New Level!

DSI’s NEW DairyHauler is DSI’s mobile ticket entry system.  It eliminates data entry at the plant, provides real time information on  milk movement, messages and guides the driver step by step to ensure accuracy.  The Dispatch View follows your trucks in real time.  The user friendly interface is quick and easy.  Tracks co-mingled loads, handles a variety of measurements, and a built-in validation system avoids errors.
GPS, WiFi and cell phone enabled.  For more information, please call Tom Filak at 262-723-5726.

Dairy Producer & Cooperative Management Software

DSI’s Complete Milk Management software system provides tracking and traceability for incoming milk from both farms and cooperatives.  Our modules include: lab collection, producer payroll, cooperative equity, liquid procurement, liquid sales, liquid scheduling, web producer access, and producer text portal. DSI also is aware that some companies may require specific applications to meet their producer and cooperatives’ needs. Our software can also provide custom applications to fit those requirements. Our complete milk management software system is 100% FMO compliant, and will speed up your reporting to the market administrator.

Look for DSI’s New Software Release January 2016

DSI is planning a surprise new product release in January 2016.  This new product will work hand-in-hand with Producer Payroll; giving our customers a big advantage in collecting data.  More to come . . .  Look for our news release in Cheese Market News and IDFA Smartbrief!

Happy Holidays!

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and a healthy and
prosperous New Year!

To our business partners/customers, we thank you for your business.
We look forward to continuing our growth together in 2016.

Sincerely,

Ryan, Aaron, Sherrie & Richard Mertes
and  everyone from DSI!

DairyTracker Wireless Barcode Software System

Wireless Warehouse & Distribution Management Software for your dairy or food plant.
Offering complete visibility of finished product – anywhere, anytime in your plant!

DairyTracker wireless barcode software solutions totally interfaces with DSI’s inventory and production software modules providing accuracy, inventory, warehouse management control.
The scanning system features:

  • 99.9% Inventory Accuracy
  • 50 – 100% less search time
  • 20- 30% less labor hours
  • UPC customer compliance
  • True shrink costing
  • Real time yield analysis

For more informatoin call Data Specialists, Inc. at 262.723.5726 or email us at info@dataspecialists.com

 

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