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SDDDC· Ten Lessons | Lesson 3. Digitisation & new route 2 market

2021-1-18 15:13:52 Comments:0 Views:145 category:SDDDC News

We got where we are because our choices mapped the route and paved the road.

Craig D. Lounsbrough

How to keep your company operational while employees are not allowed to come to the plant or to the office. Imagine your employees have a desktop at the office only. Or software and infrastructure do not allow working from home. There has been an explosion of webinar events and digital tools, e.g. Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom, became very popular in a very short time. A whole new cult around it was created.

Online shopping and on-line grocery delivery were already rising trends and becoming big, but they were strongly accelerated due to the lockdown and a fear for infections. The demand has increased so fast, that the retailers could hardly cope. After the lockdown, a certain percentage of the people will surely go back to the traditional way of shopping, but expectations are that online shopping has won and will keep a strong position in consumer sales.


Just like online shopping, online working and communication were available in many countries, including China and the Netherlands. Due to the lockdowns and travel bans, the use of services such as Zoom, Skype and Teams has more or less exploded. Schools and universities set up e-learning activities and many companies started holding online meetings using on-line tools. Within the SDDDC, training and communication make up an important part of the daily activities and the first online conference was held by SDDDC and its partners already within one month after the lockdown attracting tens of thousands of participants. Such courses can never replace the face to face training courses, but it was noticed that despite technical issues concerning connectivity and audio- visual quality the online events were very much appreciated. So online tools for communicating with customers also have strengthened their positions on the pathway to customers and consumers.



A case study: Qlip and COVID-19




In the early days of COVID-19, the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO), the Netherlands Controlling Authority for Milk and Milk Products (COKZ) and Qlip agreed to modify the working procedure for farm audits in the Netherlands. Priority remained the focus on food safety and quality aspects. Qlip is responsible for executing farm audits in the Netherlands for FrieslandCampina and other dairy companies. Just to put things in perspective: in the Netherlands we have ± 16,000 family dairy farms with an average of 100 cows at which Qlip performs farm audits once every two years with a duration of 1 to 1,5 hour.

How did Qlip change their farm audits?

In the modified approach farms are divided into ‘good’ farms and ‘attention’ farms. The classification is done by means of a ‘risk indicator’ based on an algorithm developed by Qlip in which the results of the milk quality is an important parameter. Every three days, the milk quality of the farm’s milk deliveries is measured in Qlip’s highly automated laboratory. Consequently, the risk indicator provides almost real-time information on the quality developments on farms.

For the 'attention' farms it was agreed to keep doing physical audits of 1,5 hours, of course taking all COVID-19 measurements into account (1,5 meter distance, check if neither the farmer nor his family are ill and have the document review take place in a separate room at the farm). Before setting the audit date, Qlip and the farmer discuss by telephone that all necessary documentation will be prepared and made available on the farm before arrival. Also the new working procedure is discussed and, eventually, a date for the farm audit is agreed. All this is confirmed by e-mail to the farmer. As from March 2020, hundreds of farms have been audited by Qlip according to this new working procedure. The plan for the ‘good’ farms is to start with a remote farm audit by telephone using a camera operated by the farmer. The document review and a tour around the farm are the most important elements of this type of farm audits, which are focused on various hygiene aspects.


The lesson learned is put in words by Jan Bobbink (CEO QLIP): “Act fast and be flexible. But most importantly, make use of and combine existing digital farm data in a smart way. This will result in more relevant information to selectively execute farm audits while maintaining the high food safety and quality standards set for the Dutch dairy farms.”

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