Milk Quality Depends on Workforce Quality
A California dairy transformed its workforce and bottom line
A dairy in California knows that finding a solution to a milk quality challenge goes beyond retraining milkers, altering procedures and changing teat dip or mastitis treatment. These fixes are only temporary and often not the solution to the problem. Real, lasting change on dairies comes from an engaged workforce motivated to execute protocols consistently.
Before implementing a successful management approach on their farm, managers constantly struggled with the common issues of employee engagement and effectiveness. Meanwhile, the dairy was stuck at status-quo with somatic cell counts over 300,000. With smart investments in workplace culture as well as better delegation and management strategies, they were able to transform their team into one that was more engaged and worked well together. The results: reducing somatic cell counts, decreasing clinical mastitis by 25%, increasing milk production and quality, as well as saving a projected $236,220* in mastitis costs.1,2
They achieved this by:
• Raising their standards
• Changing the culture of the entire operation
• Modifying how tasks are completed at every level
• Completing a successful manager training program, the PeopleFirst™ Supervisory Certificate Program from Zoetis
• Improving employee performance individually and as a team
There Is No ‘I’ in ‘Team’
Just like on this dairy, through improved engagement and morale, delegation of job responsibilities, empowerment and accountability, milk quality can improve on your dairy.
Managers can help develop a more effective team by:
• Retraining workers
• Helping understand protocols and the value of adherence
• Improving communication
• Encouraging respectful and calm interaction
• Implementing new standard operating procedures, including mastitis treatment protocols
Substantial positive changes come from establishing sound procedures and having a team dedicated to ensuring procedures are carried out properly. These ingredients are essential for success.
Be a Leader, Not Just a Manager
When problems on your dairy arise, the signs aren’t always obvious, and neither is the solution. Evaluate each challenge as an opportunity to assess the people as well as the practices in place to find the root of the problem. The key to success for any business is having engaged employees who understand how their work makes a difference.
Engage employees by:
• Building trust
• Setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals
• Communicating often and providing feedback
• Keeping them accountable to their goals
• Recognizing their contributions
Make management and manager training important on your dairy to never settle for less than the best. For more ways to help develop your employees, visit GrowPeopleFirst.com.
Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 27 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.
Zoetis is the proud sponsor, with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health.
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*Costs are based on a conservative cost estimate that every clinical mastitis case costs a dairy about $155 on average (a conservative estimate only accounting for loss in milk yield, treatment costs and mortality; other economic factors such as milk quality and culling rates are not included).2
1 Data on file, Study Report No. 13ORSERV03, Zoetis Inc.
2 Cha E, Bar D, Hertl JA, et al. The cost and management of different types of clinical mastitis in dairy cows estimated by dynamic programming. J Dairy Sci 2011;94:4476-4487.
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