The Technology Time Commitment
Wow, a lot of great blogs so far. Great job team!
My last blog focused on innovation from within. As we think about innovation, technology often comes to mind. As an industry, we have a lot of great technologies that can help us improve anything from management, labor, feed, etc. It seems like every day there is something new that can be implemented on a dairy.
I often find myself in a conversation about bringing these new technologies to a farm. It seems like there is always something that this new technology is going to fix. I mean who doesn’t want that new shiny gadget with the cool features? I guess I can’t put everybody in this category as my grandpa would say “yeah just more things to fix when they break”. Can’t say that I can argue with that either. My point is, there is always excitement around new technologies and they usually offer solutions to help solve a problem or improve current management practices.
Help is the key word. Fix, in my opinion, is a bad word. Making sure that underlying problems are fixed before new technologies are implemented is crucial. This new technology is going to take time for everybody to adapt. That’s why its important to understand the time commitment. There will be installation, training, maintenance, etc. This all requires time and strategy. Moving forward without a strategy can often make problems worse. Understanding the implementation process and service that comes with the technology is vital. Who will help install, train, maintain, fix, etc.?
Again, I know this might sound basic, but it happens frequently. Making sure you have a plan in place and have addressed all underlying problems is key. Solving problems overnight can happen, but that is usually a rare case. A new program, piece of equipment, or service may not be the answer. Understand that this new technology may take more time to operate and that there may be a shift from labor to management. Some would rather do the labor and others are naturally good at doing the management. How will this work for you business? Make sure that the homework is done and all loose ends are tied. Give this new technology the best chance to make you and your dairy more successful!
I like telling stories, so ill end with another one. I remember early in my career when I was working with a producer in Canada; This producer enjoyed being in a tractor more than being with the cows, which is fine. However, he thought that a robot would be the solution to him not being in his barns as often. In my opinion, his solution was probably a manager first and then a robot. I am sure we have all had these types of discussions. What he was not understanding is that he was going to have to spend as much or more time in his barn managing the robot/the technology behind it. Robots, feeding software, cow management software, etc. can do wonderful things for farms if managed correctly. However, they can be a train wreck if the time commitment/strategy is not understood.