Churning Up Quality Dairy Foods with Innovative Business Solutions

How do you earn the trust of 2 billion dairy consumers?

Great taste isn’t the only thing that consumers want in the foods they buy. Increasingly, issues like food safety and product traceability matter a lot, too.

In fact, 69% of consumers cite commitment to food safety as a reason for choosing a retailer, according to Deloitte. And Trace One reports that 84% believe retailers and manufacturers are most responsible for food quality and safety.

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited is a global dairy company owned by around 10,500 New Zealand farmers and has customers in more than 140 countries.

Fonterra earns the trust of its consumers every day by using the highest quality ingredients and adhering to meticulous manufacturing practices.

“Fonterra’s vision is to make a difference in the lives of two billion people worldwide by the year 2020. To earn consumer trust, you need the ability to track and trace all the ingredients that go into your dairy foods.”

– Andrew Longwill,
Information Services Manager Australia,
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited


Looking for Process Perfection

When the milk from grass-fed cows arrives from farms in countries such as New Zealand and Australia, Fonterra’s production plants transform it into butter, cheese, and other dairy foods under individual process orders.


Many time-consuming and tedious transactions must occur to complete just one process order. And to ensure quality and food safety, Fonterra performs confirmations and collects data all along the way.

Recently, Fonterra implemented a custom app designed to streamline some factory operations that once relied heavily on paper production information (PI) sheets.

“The PI sheets we used were old and clunky,” said Simon Crowley, chief enterprise architect at Fonterra. “We’re looking to digitalize the plants and offer our people a more consumer-like set of process interfaces.”


Simplifying Your Own Job

The project started with a design thinking workshop that gathered the input and ideas of the factory workers themselves.

Then the team provided operators and production supervisors with a mobile interface featuring a simplified user experience covering more than 200 individual process-order management tasks.

“Our mantra in manufacturing is more floor time, less terminal time.”

– Rob Howell,
General Manager of Manufacturing Operations Australia,
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited

Keeping the Milk Flowing

At present, Fonterra has implemented the new quality app at its Cobden processing plant in Victoria, Australia. Cobden is home to the award-winning Western Star Butter brand. This facility alone processes more than 295 million liters of fresh milk a year.

Today, Fonterra workers here are churning out dairy foods with instant visibility into process order progress and a simplified method for capturing critical production and quality data.

The custom-developed application provides employees with simple step-by-step procedures and easy access to common transactions. The single screen interface eliminates the use of complex paper process information sheets, streamlines multiple transactions, and supports real-time data on process orders.

Specifically, the Cobden plant has reduced the time to enter inspection identification by 62% – while reducing the time to correct overproduction errors by more than 99%.

As Rob Howell, general manager of manufacturing operations for Fonterra Australia, observes, “We want our operators and production supervisors to spend their time on what they do best – concentrating on the machinery, the output, and the quality of our dairy foods.”

Partnering for Success

To simplify more than 200 process-order management processes, Fonterra worked with the SAP Innovative Business Solutions organization and used the SAP Fiori user experience.

Fonterra now intends to roll out the custom app to an additional six facilities in Australia.