Ensuring Milk Safety by Making Critical Technology More Accessible
Chr. Hansen A/S aims to provide a credible milk antibiotic testing process via an advanced hardware testing kit paired with a user-friendly mobile app and data management system.
Global producer of natural solutions, Chr. Hansen A/S, works to make milk antibiotic testing more accessible and more importantly, reliable. They wanted to develop a process that can be improved by digital tools. Some of the goals they were looking to achieve are to reduce fraudulent tests, get timely accurate data, and make the process user-friendly.
Nodes was brought in to create the solutions that complement their newly developed test kits designed to get unique test information and with Bluetooth and GPS technologies built-in. A mobile app, MilkSafe, and a data management system software were developed by the team in just 3 months’ time. The mobile app facilitates user account creation and data extraction from the test kit while the data management system consolidates all generated data to give the client relevant and actionable insights.
Deployment of the mobile app and data management system MVP in just 3 months
Looking to Modernise a Traditional Process
Using a testing strip to check for acceptable antibiotics levels in dairy products has been commonplace in the industry since the early 2000s. However, the process has traditionally been largely manual, and on top of that, it has been observed that there have been incidents of fraud to manipulate test results.
Multinational bioscience company, Chr. Hansen A/S, a major player in providing testing kits is looking to inject much-needed technology in the process. It’s Test Kits & Equipment Department was looking at digitisation as a way to improve the quality and credibility of test data, as well as encouraging usage since this will eliminate the manual aspect. They started by developing a new test kit that digitally identifies unique test strips on top of being infused with Bluetooth and GPS technologies. They needed a technology partner that understands their commitment to quality and how they want to reinvent the process by making it more secure, accessible, and easy to use. Chr. Hansen A/S has tapped Nodes to develop the complementing software that will complete the digital milk testing process.
Breaking Down the Journey
Nodes worked closely with Chr. Hansen to understand where the best point of intervention in the process is and come up with the most relevant digital solutions. Milk test kits using testing strips have been used for decades with minimal improvements. The entire process is still largely manual with the prevalence of data being misreported due to human error without effective safeguards in place. An incorrect test result means that an entire batch of milk could be unsafe to drink and potentially harmful products could make its way to consumers.
Testing has been done in various stages of the process by various stakeholders. Chr. Hansen A/S and Nodes have identified that one good option is to get the drivers that pick up the milk from the dairies to do the test and the reporting. This will help stakeholders identify which specific dairies produce milk with high antibiotics levels and help them manage their quality moving forward.
Due to the digital integration that comes with the portable reader and app, the MilkSafe™ test kit range ensures an affordable and systematic approach to rapid antibiotic testing, storing data for full traceability and future documentation. This makes the MilkSafe™ test kit range a perfect tool to help customers further improve their quality assurance standards.”
– Christian Bendix Jensen, Director of Test Kits & Equipment, Chr. Hansen.
Source: PR Chr. Hansen A/S, https://www.chr-hansen.com/en/media/news/2020/02/milksafe-control-of-antibiotic-residues
Speedy Development of the Technology
Chr. Hansen A/S kickstarted their foray into digitising milk testing by developing an innovative testing kit with a tamper-proof cartridge to ensure the highest quality of the milk. It also comes with a case reader that not only analyses the strip but is also equipped with Bluetooth and GPS to provide more meaningful data.
Nodes built on this technology and designed digital tools that will not only complement the new test kits but also enhance the overall experience for the clients. For this undertaking, a team consisting of a project manager, iOS developer, Android developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, and a tester was deployed. By using agile methodology, the team designed the user experiences, user interfaces, and system architectures. As a result, a fully functional mobile application and a robust data management system was created and went live within only 3 months of development.
Chr. Hansen A/S, a Danish multinational bioscience company, develops natural solutions for other industries such as food & beverage, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and even agriculture.
The company’s goal is to help improve the overall quality of food and life. One aspect they are invested in is milk safety in terms of the acceptable level of detected antibiotics. The company is present in over 30 countries worldwide with more than 3,000 employees. A majority of their manpower is engaged in research and development of the company’s primary products namely food cultures, probiotics, enzymes, and natural colors. In FY 2018/19 their revenue amounted to EUR 1,161 million.
If Chr. Hansen get vast data in this platform, that would be groundbreaking new data in the world. No one has that kind of data on milk. If we could [do extensive] analysis, we could contribute to the world’s understanding of quality and antibiotics [in milk].
– Tobias Lund-Eskerod, Delivery & Strategy Lead, Nodes.
The second key component is the Data Management System. Once all the test results and information is pushed into the cloud, it gets processed into an easy to understand dashboard. It organises data into actionable graphs, charts, and insights. Users are able to analyse trends, identify specific key areas where bad results occurred, and even the historical quality of their milk production.
The app and the data management system are very easy to use. Drivers and dairy personnel can easily download the app, create an account, and sync their test kits using Bluetooth. Results are automatically recorded and reported, thus relieving the users from the burden of manual logging and checking.
Visual Data Dashboard
Key stakeholders can now make more informed decisions by being able to organise critical data into meaningful information. The data management system provides visual representations of data to enable better analysis. It also allows access to granular data to zero in on critical pain points.
The system allows for real-time notification to key stakeholders once a test conducted yields a bad result. This can help stakeholders make critical decisions and it also serves a deterrent to fraud.
Enduring Partnership Towards a Common Goal
A good working relationship has been established despite the short period of engagement as both aspire to make the quality of life better for everyone. Nodes consistently delivered quality technology thus earning the trust of Chr. Hansen A/S. Further app/system improvements and features will be continuously developed in close collaboration.