Dry off – the crappy job that is done at the end of the season that no one looks forward to. Well with our lean “moving assembly line” dry off process, our team actually look forward to it. It is significantly less stressful for our people and cows. We have improved quality, reduced stress, improved hygiene/ cleanliness, reduced mastitis, reduced costs, and reduced the time significantly – our fastest round 13 minutes for 50 cows. Average 34 minutes/ 100 cows. It was a wacky idea last season and our team said “lets give it a go” and it worked beautifully. A much easier process – why work harder when you can work smarter right? And it required no fancy technology or investment – just simple process re-design. Doing things differently. That’s the beauty of lean.
So what did we do? Well we essentially took example from the automotive industry where there is a moving assembly line and marked zones for each team member. Each team member performs one component of a job that takes a set cycle time to complete and corresponds to the speed at which the assembly line is moving.
As we measure and collect a lot of data on our farm on all important metrics, we were able to get a week by week direct comparison of our animal health metrics last season after doing our new dry off process, and compare them to our old process from the previous seasons (the traditional batch process). This enabled us to prove the effectiveness of our new process and really ensure it worked and improved all elements not just speed. IT gave us confidence that we had changed the process for the better and now we can use this new process as our “standard” way of doing dry off each year.
We think the results speak for themselves – and there is still continuous improvement to do!