My family has been collecting milk since November 11th, 1956. My grandfather started with a small truck, collecting milk cans in his hometown. It was a hard job, collecting dozens of milk cans each day.
Today, milk hauling is easier than that, but, as we all know, it still comes with its pains. Adapting to the farmer’s milking time, extreme weather conditions, and combining trucks and trips make all of us go crazy. You use pen and paper, or if you are a little bit more of a technologist, Excel, to find the best solution. After many attempts, it looks like you find a solution, but either you are missing a farmer, or the last farmer has too much milk for the tank. And so, you restart from the beginning multiple times, and, in the end, you find a somewhat good solution. It works, but then you wake up in the morning, and it snows (or one truck has a problem), and you have to re-plan all the milk collection.
It would be great if we could control farmers’ milking time, and adapt it to our needs. It would be great if we could control the weather, and convert snow into rain. It would be great to always find the best trips for our trucks with stable milk quantities over the year. Unfortunately, we are not in control of these factors, and the only thing we can do is prepare and adapt to them.
On the market, there is a range of possible solutions. I’ve been proactively looking for products and software that could solve at least one of these problems. The first time I researched route optimization I could only find general software that was built for basic logistics. I wasn’t amused by the software, and they couldn’t help me. From that, I tried to improve my abilities with Excel and use it to plan better routes. It was better than pen and paper, but not enough and, for sure, not scalable to a large number of trucks.
For many years, I thought nobody could come up with a specific solution that solves the burning pains of milk hauling. Fortunately, I was wrong, and in 2021 I discovered OptaHaul, a software designed specifically for milk hauling. OptaHaul can manage farmers’ milking time and easily adapt the trips. It also manages multiple trucks and trips more efficiently. Lastly, it can help us with extreme weather conditions, giving us a plan B for our trips.
Thanks to OptaHaul, we can finally stop worrying about farmers’ milking time and how to combine all the trips of all the trucks. We can focus on what matters, collecting the milk and delivering it on time. In the beginning, it may sound strange to rely on software. It may sound scary. I had a similar feeling when I moved from trucks with manual transmissions to trucks with automatic transmissions. At first, I was scared, but in a few weeks, I was relieved by how much more relaxed driving was. In the same way, giving up the planning to OptaHaul may look scary, but with all the work it is going to save, it’ll be making the transition worthwhile.
You can now try OptaHaul RouteBuilder for free for 7 days at the following link.
Alessandro Restagno is a co-owner of a milk-hauling business based in northern Italy.