Eurilait, a cheese manufacturing company supplying wholesalers, food service companies, and retailers across the United Kingdom has announced that it has reduced its food waste by 50%. By using a supply chain planning software, it has also saved a significant amount in the previous year.
The announcement is, indeed, welcome news because food waste is a global problem. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Association (FAO), the worldwide food waste reaches an estimated 1.3 billion tons, a number that represents one-third of the total worldwide food production for human consumption.
Thus, every company that implements food waste-reduction technology and techniques is doing its share.
Most of the products delivered by Eurilait to its customers come from the 20 dairy plants owned and operated by its parent companies, the France-based Laita and Eurial. Eurilait also sources its specialty cheeses from more than a dozen suppliers across Europe.
The company is well-known in France for Soignon, its bestselling goat’s cheese, as well as its specialty Galbani and Bourson mozzarella. Its customers include supermarkets that sell their own-brand cheese platters and other products.
Eurilait halved its food waste using FuturMaster’s supply chain forecasting software. The technology provides managers with an effective and efficient tool in planning the “what and when” of cheese production.
The software is also useful in the strategic management of the ups and downs of the demand-and supply cycle. The information provided by the software becomes valuable in making the myriad of decisions needed to ensure that the right cheeses are delivered in the right quantities at the right time to the right person.
Eurilait implemented the software in phases. Starting in 2016 when it used the demand planning software for forecasting its 400+ products, it has added material planning software in 2017 and used the system with information added from the previous years’ sales in 2018.
According the Smith, Eurilait was “reliant on a very rudimentary Excel-based system before” that required plenty of “manual effort and guess work”. With the software in place, the company has reduced the “risks of over or under-stocking” while meeting the demands of its customers year-round.
Eurilait’s retail forecasting accuracy has increased from a low of 60% to a high of 80% with the possibility for improvement. For its wholesale and food service market, the forecasting accuracy has also increased by a more significant amount –from about 30% to 40% a few years ago to about 70% during the current year.
The service levels, or the rate of accurate deliveries to customers, have also improved from 94.5% in 2015 to 97.5% today. This is also important in the reduction of food waste as products delivered late or delivered to the incorrect person means food wasted.
According to Eurilait’s supply chain manager, Steven Smith, the November and December 2018 sales were higher than the sales for the January to October 2018 period. Eurilait also has to plan for these peak month up to a year ahead, and the technology was useful.
He added, “It’s a huge task for production and if you’re not prepared and ready for selling whichever cheese boards or camemberts are most sought-after at Christmas, you’re too late and have probably missed your window.”
Eurilait then start its production preparations as early as September. More seasonal staff are hired and double shifts are needed for cutting the hard cheeses, which have a longer life, according to the exact weight and size requirements of customers.
The production and supply of cheeses and other dairy products are carefully planned according to their peak demand. In mid-December, for example, when the demand is at its highest, more employees are on double shifts.
Eurilait and its parent companies have also benefited from the software implementation in other ways. Eurial and Laita, for example, are directly planning with its customers in the production of the latter’s preferred cheeses. These companies went live with the software in 2018, thus, the closer collaboration.
For its part, Eurilait plans in using the software’s planning tools in managing retail-oriented promotions with its customers, such as Lidl. It has also introduced new products, such as chocolate and caramel dairy desserts, which are selling briskly, too.
Eurilait isn’t the only manufacturer that uses technology in the reduction of food waste. The Small Robot Company, for example, have combined artificial intelligence and robotics in its applications. By digitizing the field, as it calls the system’s purpose, it provides farmers with detailed information about their lands. The information can then be used in planning the best areas for cultivation, the best types of plants, and the best time to sow and rest the land.
Other innovations in the reduction of food waste include smarter transportation, sanitization, and information. Technology companies are working closely with food manufacturers toward better technologies and results, which should benefit mankind in the long run.