How Mobile Data Collection Helps Manufacturers Ensure Safe Livestock Feed

Robert Brice
Fri, Aug 7, 2015
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Cattle feed has to meet strict government regulations.

When contamination of livestock feed is suspected, manufacturers have to share their process data with the proper government officials.

A cow in Ireland was recently diagnosed with Bovine spongiform encephalopathy - also known as BSE or mad cow disease - and officials have yet to determine the cause of the illness. The Irish Times reported hereditary sources had been ruled out so investigators are focused on feed contaminated with meat products or bone as the most likely culprit.

BSE is a serious concern. Livestock must be kept at optimum health to ensure meat can be safely consumed by humans. Feed manufacturers are used to having their operations halted so government health officials can investigate their operations during times of outbreak or even in instances of single infections.

Software Solutions and Mobile Data Collection
To ensure the necessary information is visible, feed manufacturers use software systems and data collection equipment.

CIO stated manufacturers use ERP software to plan production, balance finances, track inventory and provide infrastructure integration. The software uses automated systems to decrease redundant data entry and eliminate needless steps in the business communication process. All the information that is collected by the system is visible in a single platform.

If companies want to make sure the data collected is reported quickly and accurately they will use mobile data collection on the production floor and in the warehouse. Barcode scanners, voice command and mobile enterprise applications allow feed production workers to track materials as they are formulated. Warehouse employees can collect information on inventory and distribution. A constant real-time data stream submitted from critical locations means there are no blind spots in manufacturing and supply.

Traceability
When a problem is detected, it can be backtracked. A mobile data software solution can create a complete picture of processes that may be examined by anyone granted access.

Food Safety News suggested modern safety guidelines are created to protect the consumer. When materials, plants or animals designated for food production are found to be contaminated with dangerous materials, government regulators are going to take every step necessary to protect the public.

The FDA requires feed manufacturers to provide a complete analysis for every ingredient used in the creation of their formulations. All materials must meet industry standards and they must be properly labeled. Barcode data collection is utilized to double-check label information and provide oversight. Feed companies have to create detailed histories of each product they create and where they are delivered.

During times of crisis, the faster a feed manufacturer can provide this information to a regulation body, the quicker it can return to production. Companies like to use data collection software because it creates end-to-end visibility and won't cause investigators to search for missing steps in processes or mislabeled goods.

Flexibility
Every country has its own regulations for feed manufacturing. Manufacturers that supply feed for foreign countries or to animals scheduled for transport have to work with a variety of different standards.

RFgen Software published a customer case study titled "Global feed manufacturer gains flexibility, scalability, and performance with RFgen" about a company that turned to mobile data collection to keep up with changing regulations. The feed manufacturer had more than 80 factories in 30 countries. The organization used a global ERP system providing a single information infrastructure to every one of the production facilities.

The company turned to RFgen for a mobile data collection solution that would report information from each location and make it a part of the overall business stream. The workers had standard requirements for the equipment, but the solution still had to be flexible for the demands of each area. The feed manufacturer was pleased with the results of the technology. By adjusting the adoption with each step of implementation, the software could meet very specific needs.

READ MORE: Learn how to protect your brand with “The Food Traceability Survival  Guide” >>

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