Customer stories

Dairy Farmers of America logoDairy Farmers of America

Milk cooperative streamlines key processes and moves toward paperless operations with enterprise content management in the OpenText™ Private Cloud

Dairy Farmers of America logo

About Dairy Farmers of America

Headquartered in Kansas City, KS, Dairy Farmers of America is a farmer-owned cooperative that markets and sells dairy products to wholesale buyers across the United States and internationally.

The Person inspecting milk
  • Employees:
    19,000
  • Affiliated farms:
    6,200
  • Founded:
    1998

Summary

Challenges

  • Running mission-critical systems on premises made high availability difficult.
  • IT management and maintenance consumed significant time and resources.
  • Inefficient reliance on paper documents.

Solution

  • Moved key digital services to the cloud.
  • Streamlined processes.
  • Met stringent information security requirements.

Results

  • Freed up time for IT innovation
  • Reached 10x greater reliability for critical systems
  • Replaced time-consuming paper processes

Challenges

  • Digital systems for milk processing must be available 24/7, but on-premises systems were unreliable
  • Managing and maintaining on-premises systems left limited time and resources available to develop new capabilities for the business
  • Several key business processes relied on paper documents, reducing operational efficiency

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a milk marketing cooperative that produces almost a quarter of the raw milk in the United States. With over $13 billion in annual revenues, the organization plays a vital role in the domestic agricultural sector by connecting its thousands of farmer-owners to wholesale markets.

DFA must process raw milk shipments from its farmer-owners according to strict timelines—365 days a year. To help orchestrate its value chain effectively, the organization relies on a number of key documents, including the ‘milk manifest.’

Deborah Schmitz, director of IT at DFA, elaborated, “Milk manifests are the control documents that help us calculate how much to pay producers for the milk from their farms. For DFA, manifests are just a critical as employee payroll—so it’s crucial that we can process the information rapidly, securely, and reliably.”

In the past, DFA relied almost exclusively on paper for its milk manifests. DFA haulers would fill out the necessary information when they visited a farmer-owner to collect a shipment of milk, and then fax or email a copy of the form to the DFA back office for processing.

Recognizing an opportunity to streamline this process, DFA decided to integrate and standardize its back-office processes using digital workflows powered by SAP and OpenText content management solutions. Using OpenText capture and information archiving technology, the company can quickly and accurately extract information from more than 155 fields on the milk manifest and bring the data into SAP for onward processing. Once its producers have been paid, the company securely stores digital copies of its manifests in the OpenText content management platform for long-term retention.

Schmitz continued, “One of my team’s main goals is to empower our stakeholders to work more efficiently and effectively. We knew that there was great potential to expand our use of the OpenText platform to automate and streamline other business processes, but day-to-day management and maintenance limited the time we had to work on these projects.”

As part of a broader digital transformation effort, DFA decided to embrace the RISE with SAP Migration and Modernization program to move its SAP solutions to the cloud. To free up time for innovation, the organization set out to do the same for its OpenText solutions.

The Person checking milk quality

As a major food producer, we have stringent information security requirements—and OpenText has always provided robust solutions that meet our rigorous business controls.

Deborah Schmitz
Director of IT, DFA

Solution

Working with experts from OpenText Professional Services, DFA moved several key OpenText solutions to the OpenText Private Cloud—enabling its lean IT team to spend more time developing new digital services for the business.

Products deployed

  • OpenText™ Extended ECM

    Integrate a content management solution with leading applications to provide access, improve decision-making, and drive operational effectiveness

Services provided

  • OpenText™ Professional Services

    The OpenText Consulting team aligns solutions to each unique organization to help them achieve business objectives and maximize return on investment

Moving key digital services to the cloud

By moving from an on-premises platform to managed services in the OpenText Private Cloud, DFA was confident it would unlock significant capacity to develop new digital use cases for its members.

“Because of the dependencies between the two systems, it made a great deal of sense to work on our migration to the OpenText Private Cloud in parallel with our RISE with SAP project,” explained Schmitz. “Throughout the engagement, the OpenText Professional Services team was excellent. It was clear they had deep technical expertise and they went above and beyond to help us with change management and training.”

Pat Lipnicky, document management business analyst at DFA, added, “We decided to go live with the OpenText Private Cloud a month before the SAP Cloud, which gave us the time we needed to make sure our mission-critical services were working properly. In the end, the switchover was almost seamless—none of our business users noticed the change.”

Streamlining processes

As part of its cloud migration, DFA moved to the latest version of OpenText Extended ECM with integration to SAP Solutions. As a result, the company can harness OpenText Business Workspaces to deliver even tighter integration with its SAP solutions and underpin innovative use cases.

“News quickly spread internally about how our OpenText content management and SAP solutions were helping us to process milk manifests more quickly and efficiently,” said Schmitz. “Based on the success of that project, we worked with our marketing team to create a digital approval workflow for product labels—another mission-critical process. Since then, we’ve started using OpenText Business Workspaces for everything from managing contracts with suppliers and farmers to managing HR records.”

Meeting stringent information security requirements

After more than a decade of success, DFA continues to work closely with OpenText to deliver new value to its members. Most recently, the two organizations collaborated on a brand-new repository for asset management documents, built on OpenText content management with integration to SAP Solutions.

“Through our work with OpenText, we’re steadily replacing fragmented document repositories with centralized, enterprise-class information management solutions,” confirmed Schmitz. “As a major food producer, we have stringent information security requirements—and OpenText has always provided robust solutions that meet our rigorous business controls.”

Lipnicky said, “With OpenText, we’ve helped our plants to transition from multiple paper archives and file shares to a centralized and secure digital platform. As a result, it’s easier than ever for our asset management teams to locate equipment manuals and maintenance records—helping them keep our plants running smoothly.”

two people talking

Through our work with OpenText, we’ve helped our plants to transition from multiple paper archives and file shares to a centralized and secure digital content platform.

Deborah Schmitz
Director of IT, DFA

Results

As its digital transformation initiative continues, DFA is working closely with OpenText to explore new opportunities to replace manual, paper-based processes with rapid digital workflows.

Enabled IT innovation

By shifting key business services to the OpenText Private Cloud, DFA has achieved its goal of freeing more time for digital innovation.

“In the year prior to the cloud project, we found ourselves in a situation where we were devoting all our time and energy to keeping the lights on; there wasn’t any spare capacity in the team to work on new services for the business,” explained Schmitz.

OpenText Professional Services employed a best practices approach that accelerates system modernization and migration to the cloud with minimal disruption to the business, Move & Modernize FasTrak for Extended ECM.

“Since we moved to the OpenText Private Cloud, that’s changed completely. Just six months after we migrated to cloud, we went live with brand-new solutions for plant maintenance and contracts management, powered by OpenText Extended ECM with integration to SAP Solutions. That simply wouldn’t have been possible without the OpenText Private Cloud.”

Boosted availability

As well as enabling its IT team to spend more time on value-added development, the OpenText Private Cloud is significantly reducing the business risk of unplanned downtime for mission-critical services.

Schmitz commented, “Comparing the period 12 months before and after we moved to the OpenText Private Cloud, our digital services have been 10-times more reliable. This helps ensure that our systems are available when our end users need them.”

Replaced paper processes

In the long term, DFA plans to adopt paperless processes across the business. The aim is to promote greater speed, accuracy, and cost-efficiency for core activities—including the creation and handling of important business documents such as milk manifests.

“In the past, all manifests started out as paper documents that were either faxed or manually rekeyed into emails to the back office,” explained Schmitz. “Since we started our work with OpenText, more than 50% of our manifests are fully digital. Looking ahead, we’re very excited to explore how we can use solutions such as OpenText Extended ECM with integration to Salesforce and OpenText Extended ECM mobile UI to accelerate the transition to paperless operations.”

Blog

Dairy Farmers of America blog image

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

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

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