Dairy Farmers of America takes a fresh approach to key business processes

Guest author Deborah Schmitz, Director of IT at Dairy Farmers of America, explains how the organization is moving toward paperless operations with enterprise content management in the OpenText™ Private Cloud

Deborah Schmitz profile picture
Deborah Schmitz

May 23, 20244 minute read

At Dairy Farmers of America, we work with more than 6,200 affiliated farms across the country. As a milk marketing cooperative, we’re owned by the farmers who produce our products—and wherever you live, you’re probably not far from one of our thousands of farmer-owners.

Driving 24/7 operations

Because dairy products have a relatively short shelf life, our production processes must run seven days a week, 365 days a year. We have a nationwide logistics network that collects milk from farms across the country and transports it to our plants and our customers’ plants for processing and distribution. In 2022, this generated $22.5 billion in revenues, and keeping everything running like clockwork behind the scenes presents some complex challenges.

Replacing paper processes

One of the most important documents for our business is the ‘milk manifest,’ which includes up to 155 separate pieces of information about each shipment. We use milk manifests to help calculate payments for our farmer-owners, making these documents a vital part of our day-to-day operations.

Previously, milk manifests were almost always paper documents. Our haulers would carry copies when they visited our farmer-owners to pick up shipments of milk and fill out the required information on site. Later, our back-office teams would manually re-key the information into our accounting system to process payments to our farmer-owners. It was a time-consuming process.

Beginning the digital journey

We began our journey with OpenText ten years ago when we deployed SAP solutions for our milk marketing processes. Our initial use case was to streamline the way that the new SAP applications handled milk manifests. Working with OpenText, we created a digital workflow to capture the information from milk manifests and bring it into our SAP environment.

Replacing this manual, paper-based task with a digital workflow enabled us to deliver big benefits to our stakeholders. By combining OpenText capture technology with human reviews and approvals, we significantly reduced the risk of errors creeping into one of our most important processes. And by seamlessly integrating data from milk manifests with our SAP business applications, our back-office teams can work much more efficiently.

Moving to the cloud

We’re always looking for ways to improve our digital services—and our collaboration with OpenText remains a key enabler of that effort. Recently, we took the first step on our cloud journey with RISE for SAP. Because our SAP and OpenText solutions are so closely intertwined, it made perfect sense to bring our OpenText solutions to the cloud, too.

Working with OpenText™ Professional Services, we moved some of our key solutions—including OpenText™ Extended ECM with integration to SAP Solutions—into the OpenText Private Cloud. The team went above and beyond to help us, and the technical expertise they brought to the project was top-notch.

Today, the OpenText Private Cloud underpins many of the mission-critical services we provide to the business. The new cloud content management platform is 10 times more reliable than our old on-premises infrastructure—helping us to ensure that our digital services are always online when users need them.

Preparing for the future

Another big benefit of moving to the cloud is that my team has more time to build new digital capabilities for the business. For example, we recently developed a brand-new solution for plant maintenance, built on OpenText Business Workspaces. By digitizing equipment manuals and maintenance records, we empower our technicians to find the information they need faster—which in turn helps them to keep the assets in our plants running smoothly

We’ve used the OpenText platform to deliver valuable efficiencies in many business areas—from our production plants to our legal, HR and back-office teams—and we want to go even further. Next, we’re planning to build a new solution for our field representatives powered by OpenText™ Extended ECM integration with Salesforce®, and we’re excited for what the future holds.

Read our case study to learn more

Share this post

Share this post to x. Share to linkedin. Mail to
Deborah Schmitz avatar image

Deborah Schmitz

Deborah Schmitz, Director, Information Technology, helps to empower members of Dairy Farmers of America’s co-operative to work more efficiently and effectively by employing innovative technology solutions. Previously, she was with Colgate Palmolive, where she managed cross-divisional project implementation for commercial initiatives in global information technology. Deborah is an active volunteer at Code.org and holds a Project Management Professional certification from Project Management Institute and Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from National American University.

See all posts

Stay in the loop!

Get our most popular content delivered monthly to your inbox.