Sensor technology contributes to efficient production and logistics

Pressure around the weekend

Many livestock farmers order compound feed shortly before they actually need it. It therefore happens regularly that they order feed on a Friday and then want to receive it on Friday or Saturday, because they would otherwise not be able to make it through the weekend. Or they just get through the weekend and then like to receive feed directly on Monday. Of course, no compound feed company will let the animals starve - so extra costs are incurred to deliver rush orders. This causes a lot of disruption in the planning and production and creates peak moments around the weekends, while in the middle of the week there is surplus production capacity.

Taking the reins

Of course, compound feed companies try to deal with these challenges as efficiently as possible, for example by agreeing on order periods or by using route planning software for the trucks. However, this remains a reactive approach and does not result in optimal utilisation of production and logistics. In order to be able to react proactively, it is important for compound feed companies to actually take the reins themselves, in close consultation with the customer.

SmartSilo, a "smart farming" innovation

To make this possible, Abel Sensors has developed a technical solution called 'SmartSilo'. These are wireless sensors which are placed on top of a silo. Through these sensors, both farmer and feed company always know how much feed is in the silo. Moreover, an algorithm also calculates when a silo will be empty. Based on this information, the feed company can produce and deliver compound feed at the time that best fits in the planning. The farmer also no longer has to worry about whether or not orders will be placed in time. In short, extra service and even more efficient production and distribution of compound feed.

An example of such an innovative company is the Voergroep Zuid cooperative. They use the availability of 'SmartSilo' to optimise production and logistics even further. After a successful pilot with a few farms, the system is currently being scaled up. This gives the planners extra flexibility to use the available production and logistics capacity as efficiently as possible. Customers are also responding very positively to the solution. They experience the fact that they no longer have to order the feed themselves as a pleasant extra service from their feed supplier. This means that Voergroep Zuid, as the fourth largest feed company in the Netherlands, continues to lead the way in efficiency and service to its customers.