Technology: Applying mathematics to meat processing efficiency

Sheep Central, August 26, 2014

A unique cloud-based software package has been released in Australia for use by sheepmeat and beef processing companies to help optimise production, reduce waste and boost revenue.

Hans Fresh2The technology, called the Meat Processing Optimiser (MPO), has been developed by Australian IT company Biarri, best known for delivering millions of dollars worth of savings through the roll-out of the National Broadband Network by developing world first mathematical algorithms.

The company has used the same advanced Operations Research (OR) methodologies in the development of optimisation software for the meat processing industry.

One of the world’s largest processors and exporters of lamb and mutton, New Zealand’s Alliance Group, approached Biarri in 2013 to develop a new meat processing technology for exclusive use by the group to boost its sheepmeat processing operations in New Zealand.

That technology was able to help Alliance Group make significant savings in operating costs by using a software model to optimise their product and revenue yields.

The technology has now been customised for use within the Australian meat processing industry and can be modified to accommodate a diverse range of requirements covering beef carcases of various weights and grades, lamb and mutton.

The software uses complex mathematical algorithms to improve decision making – enabling processors to make important operational decisions quickly, ensuring all critical variables are considered for each production run.

Using data and quantitative analysis removes ambiguity and improves speed and accuracy, the software developers say.

“Despite its importance, key operational decision-making in processing is often based on gut-feel and subjectivity,” Biarri Optimisation chief executive Tom Forbes said.

“The MPO software determines the best cutting lines strategy to maximise carcase yield, according to each processor’s inputs,” he said.

The highly-efficient algorithms do the work in seconds, ensuring operational decisions are consistent and optimised every time.

“Decisions are more likely to be correct, and the process has more rigour due to the application of the scientific methodology,” Mr Forbes said.

“The meat industry has in recent times faced challenging operating conditions. An anticipated reduction of available livestock for slaughtering due to drought, rebuilding the national herd and the momentum seen in the live export trade, will negatively impact profits and result in a tightening of budgets,” he said.

“We believe our new technology can help boost the bottom-line for processors, regardless of production volumes or revenues, and thereby contribute to the competitiveness of the whole value chain.”

“We’re confident, after seeing the Alliance Group’s results in NZ, that the MPO will benefit operators by reducing costs and increasing revenue within the Australian meat processing industry,” he said.

“As an IT company, Biarri is committed to unlocking the power of mathematics for all businesses to benefit operations. While the meat processing industry is not generally associated with business analytics, quantitative models and optimisation tools, the MPO is set to change operational decision making within the industry,” Mr Forbes said.

“Meat processing in Australia is big business, with Australians consuming on average 46.5kg of red meat (beef and sheepmeat combined) each year. We decided there was definitely a requirement to develop a specific technology to streamline processes within the processing industry to maximise yields, boost revenue and reduce waste wherever possible.”



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