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Integrated Systems >> Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Standardized Approach Delivers Multiple Benefits

Dairy Farmers of America finds that by standardizing on conveyor equipment, it can respond faster and more flexibly to market demand.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. For flexibility, quick responsiveness, and economy, it pays to standardize your conveyor equipment. At least that's been the experience of Dairy Farmers of America at its Springfield, Missouri manufacturing plant.

Dairy Farmers of America, which until recently was known as Mid-America Dairymen, is one of the country's largest producers of milk and dairy products. The Springfield plant manufactures "value-added" milk-based beverages and nutritional drinks.

Volume is huge at the 240,000 square-foot facility. In a typical month, more than 14 million bottles and cans of product are shipped out of Springfield.

Periodically, Dairy Farmers of America has needed to add or reconfigure conveyor operations at Springfield to accommodate increased sales or additions to the product line. Working closely with Hytrol distributor Munroe Material Handling of St. Louis, the company has been able to accomplish this quickly and cost effectively. And one important key to this successful track record is standardization.

Over the course of their working relationship-which spans almost three decades-Munroe Material Handling has designed standardized conveyor equipment and parts into the Springfield operation. In essence, a modular approach has been adopted, allowing the customer to expand or reconfigure conveyor capacity with relative ease. The manufacturing plant uses mostly minimum pressure horizontal power conveyors (138-ACC and 190-ACC models) and horizontal belt units (TA).

When Dairy Farmers of America wants to modify its operations, there's little, if any, design or reengineering work involved--an obvious cost advantage. "The customer can give us a rough sketch of what they need and we can easily determine the equipment requirements," says Bob Munroe of Munroe Material Handling. "The standardized approach allows us to do that."

Perhaps even more importantly, the customer can get the needed conveyor equipment fast. Most of the equipment is ordered through Hytrol's FasTrak Distribution Center in St. Louis. This quick-response facility can ship more than 50 standard conveyor models in 24 hours. For the customer, this translates to minimum down time and rapid ramp up-two critical considerations in a high-volume operation like Springfield.

Not every company can standardize their conveyor operations as efficiently as Dairy Farmers of America has done. But for the many that can, the advantages can be powerful. And they're best summed up in three words: fast, flexible, responsive.

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