Northwest Food Products
(a subsidiary of Land O'Lakes)
Bulk milk pickup and delivery
Roger Nordtvedt, director/
Northwest Food Products Transportation picks up raw milk from dairies and delivers it right to processing facilities around the country with a fleet of some 200 Kenworth trucks. The Wisconsin-based, temperature-controlled, liquid bulk operation is what you might call an “early adapter” of onboard technologies. According to Roger Nordtvedt, director/general manager, the company did its first pilot of the Cadec system in 1989 and implemented it throughout its fleet in 1991.
“We went to Cadec at the time because it was by far the easiest system for our drivers to use,” recalls Nordtvedt. “We wanted to automate driver's logs first, and we also thought we could improve fuel economy and improve maintenance costs if we could see what drivers were actually doing — how they were shifting, for example — so that we could do a better job training.
“In 1996, we worked with Cadec to also automate the milk weighing and reporting process. It reduced our clerical time tremendously. Today, we are continuing to work with Cadec to take us to the next level. You can't quit improving if you want to stay competitive in this business.”
For Northwest, continuing to improve means extending the benefits of its Cadec system to its own producers and to the other companies for whom it also transports milk, as well as to the independent operators who haul for Northwest, including providing protected online access to location and load data. “As things keep improving, we are right there with our own producers, other producer customers and the dairy farmers to save more money, be more productive and provide better service,” says Nordtvedt. “Our independents are tied in, too. Clearly, the things we can do with Cadec give us a competitive advantage in our business, a little bit of an edge.
“For example, we are able to extract data and do route optimizations,” he notes, “and we can compare actual miles to the plan. We also do predictive modeling now for all of our customers. If they are considering closing a plant, for instance, we can tell them exactly how that will impact their transportation costs, delivery times and so on. Our competitors can't do that.”
For Nordtvedt, having a good technology partner is not a luxury; it is a necessity. “About a month ago, we met with Cadec and laid out some plans for where we want to go next to stay ahead,” he says. “The new platform they have coming out is right where we are heading. If you look at fleets not using technologies like Cadec — [I] think they just haven't fully managed to visualize the possibilities.
“If we took Cadec away from our drivers and customers now, we could have a mutiny on our hands,” he adds. “It is that important.”