Pastures New

Can RFID improve the entire dairy supply chain?

Dr Katina Michael, a senior lecturer at the School for Information Systems & Technology at the University of Wollongong in Australia, has conducted high-level research into RFID used in dairy farming. She says RFID doesn’t necessarily guarantee efficiency. ‘It depends on a company’s role in the supply chain, what region the produce comes from and how it is used in every day operations.’

She explains: ‘If a dairy farmer adopts RFID to meet a government mandate or industry-specific compliance directives then efficiency is likely to be pretty low to start with. Most Australian dairy farmers, for instance, have found the task of RFID tagging quite onerous in the main.’

RFID technology is still fairly young and initial use may be daunting for producers that have used traditional methods to distribute goods.

Michael says RFID will eventually benefit dairy farming in the end-to-end management of the dairy supply chain. ‘Other supply chain stakeholders besides the farmer, such as animal healthcare officials, veterinarians, livestock producers, sale yards, slaughterhouses and government agencies, can gain more knowledge as RFID can provide audit data and instant updates on the quality of the end product. Goods are now safer in transit and arrive fresh ready for consumption. For instance, milk volumes from each farmer can also be remotely monitored giving wholesalers and retailers a better idea on frequency volume of delivery.’

Citation: Maikie Curray, July 14, 2009, "Pastures New", Brand: Protection and Promotion World, InterTechPira,  Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 7-19.