Al Rawabi Dairy is overcoming the challenges of operating in the perishable goods business by leveraging innovative IT solutions including IoT, GIS and embedded chips.
“Milk being a basic necessity, we have to deliver fresh milk to consumers on a daily basis to Oman and UAE,”Mohammed Azeemuddin, IT manager at Al Rawabi Dairy.
Al Rawabi is one of UAE’s largest dairy and juice company with operations in UAE and Oman. It is the leading home-grown brand of fresh dairy products with more than 16,500 cattle and 24×7 production facility.
The Al Rawabi journey has been supported and powered by technology from monitoring cattle health to managing milk distribution to deliver fresh produce at 14,500 stores across the country and thereby serve a million customers each day. Highly sophisticated route planning and IoT- enabled monitoring capabilities manage and streamline the daily routes of these trucks. “Milk being a basic necessity, we have to deliver fresh milk to consumers on a daily basis to Oman and UAE,” says Mohammed Azeemuddin, IT manager at Al Rawabi Dairy.
Every morning 300 Al Rawabi trucks set off at 4 am to serve at least 50 customers on the way and each customer has specific requirements and special pricing. All customer details are mapped on the SAP system and these details are available to the sales people in hand held devices which generate invoices which is then fed into the SAP system. This is a critical process in revenue generation as correctly mapping and charging each customer impacts profitability.
The system is enabled with modern IT infrastructure at Al Rawabi which started some years ago when SAP—which is hosted in the Cloud—was implemented in 2016- 17 to automate all aspects of business operations including production, inventory management, quality, sales and distribution and SAP hosted in the Cloud.
Vehicles are geo-coded for route optimization and fuel efficiency and track whether the vehicles are idling. Another critical aspect of milk transportation is to ensure that the vehicle chillers operate at an optimum temperature, otherwise the product goes bad. “If the temperature exceed 4 -5 degree, the product is considered to be expired and so it is very critical to ensure that the optimum temperature is maintained.”
At the same time the company is using innovative techniques such as embedded electronic chips to monitor the health of farm animals. “We are using AI to extract information about each animal. At the same time, we also get inputs about the cooling system and get to know whether it is adequate for the cows,” says Dr Saman Siriwardana, Operations Manager, Farm Production. This enables the Al Rawabi to achieve This is helping Al Rawabi to achieve competitive edge by keeping costs low with proactive management of health issues and monitor the yield per cow.
Dealing in a business of perishable goods is a different ball game as all units of the business have to work in unison to extract the produce, process, package and get it to the market speedily and efficiently to the retail outlets. “It makes you run especially the dairy and poultry business, not just sales and production but all business and operational staff has to run to get the fresh produce to consumers. And IT is the backbone of operations.”
The business of dairy and milk production requires meticulous planning and smooth execution which must work with clock-like precision. After all, once the cow is milked, we cannot put it back, can we? quips Mohammed Azeemuddin, on a lighter note.