Denkavit – Oracle BI
Monitoring of results on livestock farms
Denkavit is the specialist in young animal feeds. More than 60 years ago, Denkavit was present at the birth of calf milk development. Since then, Denkavit’s continued research has made it a leading global manufacturer in this field. Denkavit is active both nationally and internationally with its own organizations established in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy. The products are available worldwide in more than 50 countries. To help young animals grow and thrive, Denkavit invests more than average in research and development. The Denkavit laboratories and research companies in the Netherlands and France are conducting ample research into sustainable solutions that deliver real results in practice.
Veal farming is an important activity in the Denkavit group. Denkavit collaborates closely with veal farmers and local specialised veal slaughterhouses. As a partner, Denkavit assists veal farmers in ensuring the healthy growth of their animals. With the help of Cadran, Denkavit will implement Oracle Business Intelligence to monitor both the animals and their nutrition.
Business Intelligence in veal farming
Business Intelligence is playing an ever greater role at Denkavit. Since 2005, Denkavit has used Oracle JD Edwards (JDE) for its entire back office administration and Oracle BI since 2011. The custom solution included in JDE for Denkavit (VPA) can be deployed for the expanded administration of the veal farms. The VPA has been in use since 2012 and continues to grow in functionality. Its uses in Oracle BI are growing accordingly. For example, Denkavit is now able to easily monitor at the level of individual calves.
While the custom-built JD Edwards system for the VPA used to be able to bring up results at batch level, now it is possible at a level of detail involving individual calves. This can also take place at any moment, even when the animals are still at the barn.
Integration of iPad, back office and BI
The success is the combination of the back office system, with the so-called Veal Farmer Portal (VFP) that is accessible on the iPad and in Business Intelligence. The back office system provides the data entry possibilities, while the iPad provides a user interface through which the calf specialist can request and capture data during a barn visit. Oracle BI gives the right insights and alerts in order to make the necessary adjustments. Before implementing Oracle BI, Denkavit engaged Cadran to test the design of the data model with regard to the business process, the existing administration and the information needs.
Determining indicators and measurements
The determination of indicators and measurements was a challenging process. There are many factors that influence the performance of the calves, such as management, feed and health status. In addition, it is important for all definitions of measurements and indicators to be clear so that everyone who enters the details does so in the same manner. At the start of the implementation of VPA it became apparent that core values could be interpretended in different ways, which could yield a distorted image in the comparison of companies and in the end results. Clear definition of the different measurements has made it possible for all barns to provide unambiguous reports.
The results in VPA can be displayed at animal level, but it is also possible to check how much feed has been administered and whether the company still has sufficient in stock. Because this data is continuously available, it can also be rapidly adjusted if necessary. In order for quick adjustments to be made, the interactive dashboards in Oracle BI provide the information so that it’s possible to come directly to the right insights. An example of this is when the expected food intake is not achieved at a particular barn. This may mean that the calves are not healthy, or that the feeding system is not working as it should. Because this sort of data is directly visible, the barn can be checked accordingly. The dashboards present this information clearly. The same information is also linked to the Veal Farmer Portal (VFP) in the form of a PDF, so that it can be presented offline during a visit to a barn to be discussed with the calf farmer. Oracle BI has incorporated some smart tricks in order to achieve this. Very useful tricks, because there is a paradox in the analyses the graphics and details show. An example of this concerns the loss rate in the barn. There are reports concerning the loss of calves during the fattening period (for example, due to injury or illness), but the loss percentage concerns the total number of calves in the barn. The list of non-surviving calves should include only those calves, and not all of the calves in the barn. The percentage graphics indicating the loss of a calf only work with respect to the lost animals (and not the total number of calves in the stall). Despite these kinds of paradoxes, Oracle BI is able to meet all of Denkavit’s information needs, allowing Denkavit to monitor its data more closely than ever.
The calf farmer consistently strives for the good performance of the calves and the company. Because many of the measurements and indicators can be analyzed at an individual level, animals within the same stall can be compared with each other and with results from the past, and comparisons can also be made between companies. The Calf Value Rating has been defined for this purpose. This figure is measured per calf and compared with calves in other herds. This Calf Value Rating enables the performance of a calf or herd to be compared with that of similar calves or herds. The basis for this figure is another important measurement, the average daily growth. BI delivers monitoring and signals on the basis of these important figures, among others.
Quality and feed safety are important core values for Denkavit. In its own laboratory, Denkavit analyzes all of the incoming raw materials which are only allowed into the production process once they are according to not only the standard legal requirements but also Denkavit’s own additional requirements. With the help of Oracle BI, Denkavit can continuously analyse and evaluate the quality of incoming raw materials and manufactured products. This is also extremely important for research and development. Whenever BI indicates that processes can be optimized, product lines are improved and if necessary, updated. In addition, Oracle BI can be used for accurate planning and forecasting.
Future: Linking big data and IoT
It is possible to generate data, for example using sensors in storage silos or equipment. All of these sensors can transmit a great deal of data with the help of the Internet of Things. By storing and analyzing this enormous amount of data, possible links can be detected and anticipated quickly. With Business Intelligence, the possibilities are endless!