Most of our products consist of hardware, but by building in more intelligence, we can improve not just our own efficiency, but our entire customer offering. We’ve started on a journey where we want most of our products to be coupled with some kind of managed service or intangible offering, such as advice or information. Digitalisation enables us to connect, predict and interact – and most importantly – add value for our customers.
With the “internet of things” we can perform advanced diagnostics for customers, using the data they provide. The VMS milking robots already have many sensors installed that can provide feedback to both customers and service technicians. What we’re moving towards is being able to predict potential problems that cause downtime and handle them before they even happen, such as replacing worn parts, or changing settings to improve performance of our VMS system. We can also solve many issues remotely, without having to visit the farm, which saves time and cost for both us and the customer. This benefits all farmers regardless of size, but particularly those with a high level of automation.
By harnessing connectivity, we can provide customers with advanced animal management tools to increase farm productivity. The DeLaval Herd Navigator™, for example, performs remote advanced diagnostics on the cows themselves to keep them healthy and monitor their production. Coupled with DelPro™, the customer interface where they can regularly see their data, they can make more informed decisions about their herd – and their business.
Once we’ve delivered a product, we can use relevant data to communicate with the product and know when it needs to be serviced, upgraded or replaced. Digitalisation creates a true advantage when using large amounts of data in the right way – not just historically, but predictively. One example is providing customers what-if scenarios and suggesting changes that could affect their production. Taking customer data and delivering it to them in a more useful format creates a strong offering.
By monitoring our products better, we not only improve our service, we improve our product development in ways that truly benefit customers. R&D gets a boost since we can both use actual data in simulations and reduce testing times, improving our internal efficiency in the development process.
Connectivity can also create new business opportunities for us as a company by offering it together with a product for a fee, when it adds value for the customer. Furthermore, selling managed services then doesn’t require a face-to-face meeting, since relevant offers based on data can be offered at the right time.
Digitalisation isn’t about the technology itself, it’s about what we can use that technology for to help our customers improve their profitability and efficiency. Our people know what it’s like to be farmers and our mission is to help them with their daily lives. Milk producers are pragmatic by nature and willing to use digital tools when they make sense. They value automation that reduces the need for manpower, and they value the use of data models to help make the right decisions for their farm and their business.
DeLaval is in the final stages of developing the next step in strategic capability within online predictive maintenance: InService™ Remote monitors vacuum, pulsation, and temperature.
This monitoring system enables a whole new world of possibilities and creates added value for customers, from remote assistance and updates to current asset status and advisory services.
By storing the operational asset data on a cloud platform, it can be used to develop algorithms to predict upcoming needs for repair or maintenance in the future. For example, we can see that one milking point on a customer’s farm will need service in order to avoid performance loss in three weeks’ time. Or that the cooling system will need service within a month to maintain proper cooling levels.
Early alerts – in real time InService™ Remote monitors the system vacuum level to ensure that optimal conditions are met throughout the entire milking process. It also monitors pulsation to ensure that the operation of the liner is correct during milking and that any problems are flagged early. The main benefit of this system is that it runs in real time, so key members of the service organisation, as well as the customer, get immediate notification when something isn’t functioning properly. Issues can then be assessed and acted on quickly, minimising downtime and saving costs for the customer.
Even cooling can be monitored with InService™ Remote with a connection to the DeLaval Milk Quality Auditor, a cooling product that can be added to nearly any cooling tank. The system stores cooling data in the DeLaval cloud and passes alarms and process parameters, such as temperature, agitator and detergent status, to key users.