At its Bird City, Kan., facility, McCarty Dairy is using telematics and a unique machinery model for greater efficiency.
Technology platforms and leasing arrangements boost logistics
By early next year, McCarty Dairy near Colby, Kan., will be managing 7,200 wet cows at three facilities. Identifying where it can streamline efficiencies and manage expenses is a top priority as the expansion comes to fruition.
"Across our business, we are trying to minimize waste and maximize efficiencies, and this includes equipment," explains Clay McCarty, one of four brothers who farm with their parents, Tom and Judy. "Our highest priority is 100% uptime because when you look at peak profitability, that means units have to be running."
This year, the farm took a new approach to managing machinery, with two hybrid lease programs that eliminate ownership.
"We knew we had inefficiencies and we could no longer be as up to date with servicing our machinery as we need to be," McCarty says.
Taking a lesson learned from the animal care side of their business, they turned to technology.
"Because of fewer large animal veterinarians available for our needs, we worked with our vet to adopt ultrasound technology," McCarty explains. "The same applies to equipment dealers and being able to tap into their machinery expertise. Lost time is lost efficiency when spent trying to troubleshoot and fix problems in-house."
McCarty Dairy currently has a master fleet services agreement with Cat dealer Foley Equipment near Colby, Kan., as well as a hybrid lease with maintenance responsibilities with John Deere dealer Colby Implement.
"We view our equipment dealers as partners in our business," McCarty explains. "We approached them with our business expansion plan, and we worked together to develop how machinery fits in."
The operation leases 16 John Deere tractors and 17 Cat machines—skid steer loaders and wheel loaders equipped for feed and manure handling. The first step in the process was identifying what machines the three locations needed.
"In drawing it up, we took into consideration what took place every day and what took place through the year with feeding, manure removal and other tasks," says Dustin Daniels, a sales representative at Foley Equipment. "Then we matched the size of machine and attachments for the best fit and factored in the expected use of the machine to find the best balance of machine and hours and perform the job at the lowest cost per hour."
Telematics Ease Logistics. As operations such as the McCarty’s expand their equipment fleets and costs increase, it is essential to keep equipment up and running. To cope, more fleet managers are turning to the logistical advantages only telematics can provide.
Telematics is a platform that enables wireless data transfer from machine to satellite. Companies then provide the interface for users to be able to view and manage the data on their computer.
"The age of telematics has arrived," says John Lagemann, vice president of marketing and sales for John Deere. "Wireless communication is changing the way we do business."
- November 2011