Redefining success. Exploring artificial intelligence for benchmarking in New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Executive summary

The NZ dairy industry is the backbone of NZ’s primary sector and is a substantial contributor to the nation’s economy through both export earnings and the livelihoods it provides for fifty thousand kiwis. Unfortunately, effective Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) benchmarking between farms is a disjointed, inconsistent process. Business performance measurement is a frustrating undertaking for participants with no standardised metrics nor minimum data quality requirements. The time-consuming process relies on key highly skilled individuals executing a costly assignment full of bias and manual data manipulation.

This project aims to explore the importance of benchmarking with standardised KPIs across the whole NZ dairy industry and investigates Artificial Intelligence (AI) : what it is, and the strengths and weaknesses of implementing AI-driven data management tools, with the potential to enhance KPI performance benchmarking. The outcome of the analytics supporting in depth decision-making with advanced managerial policies.

It is vital that the industry standardises KPIs across the entire commerce model, to drive innovation, and secure its future sustainability but exposing best practice from benchmarking. Ultimately to build more resilient businesses in the sector, we need to automate data management to improve both efficiency and productivity – Artificial Intelligence could be the solution.

The method to investigate the project’s research questions involved a comprehensive literature review; a formal survey was conducted of farmers and industry experts, collecting both quantitative and qualitative responses. Lastly, a thematical analysis was undertaken to identify themes which are discussed and analysed to draw conclusions, prior to applying real-time on farm/in office experience to a high-level solution.

Research Question below set the scope for the project:
1. What is the importance of benchmarking and standardisation of KPIs?
2. What technologies are available in the NZ Dairy Industry?
3. What is Artificial Intelligence and its potential in the Dairy Industry?
4. What are successful AI applications in other industries and countries?
5. How can AI build more resilience for the NZ Dairy Industry?

This Kellogg project navigates the potential relationship between the convergence of benchmarking and AI-automated data tools. Through exploring the necessity of a standardised framework and lessons from AI adoption in other industries and countries. The NZ dairy sector can fortify its position, ensure long-term viability, and contribute to the nation’s economic growth and agricultural excellence by letting our farmers focus on being farmers not data analysts.

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