Tuesday, 05 May 2020 10:07

Global school for robotic systems

Written by  Staff Reporters
Data driven decisions: a dairy farmer trains on DelPro FarmManager. Data driven decisions: a dairy farmer trains on DelPro FarmManager.

Farmers and DeLaval staff around the globe now have access to an e-learning solution developed by a Hamilton company.

Software specialist Company-X was asked by DeLaval to build an e-learning solution to teach dairy farmers and DeLaval staff around the globe how to begin using robotic milking systems and farm management software.

Company-X was chosen for the project because its team had a track record with DeLaval NZ: project started when DeLaval International’s Lynda McDonald, a New Zealander based in Sweden, approached Company-X consultant Lance Bauerfeind.

“They already knew the company well,” McDonald said. 

“I thought it would be less of a learning curve to work with Company-X rather than a new company.”

The solution had to be relevant to every farm model from the small European farms to the large corporate operations in China.

Company-X project manager Dilan Prasad and senior software developer Wonkee Kim had input from DeLaval staff in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America. The diversity and geographical spread of stakeholders added to the project’s complexity.

“It’s very much about providing value through knowledge to dairy farmers and staff,” McDonald said.

“We are moving from manual milking systems to farms now managing their herds by data. We need to make sure that we transfer knowledge and give them the best possibility to optimise their systems from the time they purchase them. Customer satisfaction was really a significant driver.”

Company-X worked on the e-learning programme in small iterations, allowing the DeLaval subject matter experts to provide frequent feedback on the solution as it was built.

The DelPro Interactive E-Learning solution Company-X built offers 64 e-learning modules that take about four hours to complete: comprising nine separate courses including milking, feeding, health, reproduction, performance and body condition scoring. Modules are animated and narrated by an automated voice. Users can turn text prompts on or off. Teaching resources are offered for download for future use as the user progresses. Users can choose to use either the imperial or metric measurement system.

One challenge was keeping all of the stakeholders around the world fully informed and engaged. Company-X used project management tool TeamWork to collaborate and define a multi-stage review process. Reviewers and approvers were chosen for each region and a new role called DeLaval Voice to ensure content was consistent with DeLaval style.

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