NEW YORK – The ancient practice of making cheese is getting some help from a very 21st century technology.
Amalthea, a leading global provider of goat cheese and organic cow cheese based in the Netherlands, is now using cloud software specialist Infor’s integrated artificial intelligence (AI) solution to help improve cheese quality and yields, build customer loyalty and boost sustainability.
For every 1% increase in yields, Amalthea expects to save approximately 500,000 euros ($526,985), according to Infor. Amalthea plans to significantly increase its manufacturing capacity in five years to meet the high demand for more cheese types and innovative solutions such as its CleardMilk formula, a process by which it can extract whey, cream and other components from raw milk. This helps lessen waste and improve sustainability practices.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Amalthea makes cheeses from top-quality goat milk it receives from about 50 goat farmers who are members of the Amalthea Cooperative of Goat Farmers.
One of the biggest challenges for dairy manufacturers such as Amalthea is that milk composition varies across farms and seasons, according to the company. There is no standard recipe that can be applied across all milk batches to achieve consistent quality and yield. Close monitoring and steering of the cheese production process is required to create cheese consistency so that customers stay loyal and Amalthea maximizes yield potential.
“Our customers require consistency in the cheese we produce,” said Joris Aarts, chief financial officer at Amalthea. “The big challenge is that milk is the raw material used to produce cheese and, by nature, is very unstable and inconsistent over the seasons. Infor Coleman AI helps us make cheese production as stable and predictable as possible, in terms of quality and yield, so that our customers are happy.”
For each of its cheese batches, Amalthea used to set a target yield based on the practical or past knowledge of production. When a cheese batch deviated from the target yield or the right target yield wasn’t set, factory operators had to take action and make changes to production to make the process more efficient. In the past, production issues were identified by manually processing data and analyzing it on a weekly basis. With approximately 240,000 liters of milk processed each day, it wasn’t optimal to wait a week or sometimes a month to get insights and make necessary system changes to optimize yield.
“In the past, we had to do these milk yield calculations manually, and we were only able to do this once per week, or sometimes once per month, so it was too late,” Aarts said. “On top of that, we were not able to calculate the yields per batch. We could improve milk yield somewhat, but now with Infor Coleman AI, we can not only see the yields per cheese batch in real time, but it also gives us direct insight into what contributors are causing a higher or lower milk yield so the operators can directly act on it.”
In 2020, Amalthea modernized its ERP with Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage and leveraged the power of Infor’s cloud technology platform, Infor OS, to solve a critical milk yield business problem.
This was previously hard to tackle because of outdated and disconnected applications, data silos and lack of time and resources, according to Amalthea. The modernization formed the building blocks to create AI-driven applications quickly and efficiently. Amalthea’s AI-driven yield deviation detection and explanation is now fully automated – from data collection and processing to presentation.
Amalthea is utilizing Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage throughout its supply chain, from the reception of milk to the cheese warehouse. It interfaces with and helps automate production systems in the factory, such as weighing units and processing tanks. Infor technology also has helped Amalthea improve the speed and efficiency of its financial closing process from weeks to days.