To exceed regulatory requirements and automate its business processes, Murphy-Brown turned to Intermec partner Taylor Data Systems to architect a field service solution coined the Livestock Waste Management System (LWMS). The LWMS utilizes Intermec CN2 and 741 mobile computers allowing land technicians to collect data in real time to streamline record keeping functions.
As the livestock production subsidiary of the global food giant Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown, LLC, is the world’s largest hog producer and a leading U.S. turkey producer as well. Through partnerships with contract farmers and its own farms, the company maintains approximately one million sows, with 85 percent based in the United States. Its U.S. operations bring nearly 13 million hogs to market annually. In addition, its turkey operations produce about 10 million turkeys a year. Aside from its 500 company-owned hog farms in the U.S., Murphy-Brown also has hog operations in Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Romania.
Due to regulatory permit requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Division of Water Quality (DWQ), the waste water from Murphy-Brown’s hog production houses stored in lagoons must be strictly monitored to ensure compliance. Water from these lagoons contains plant nutrients and is often used to irrigate crops that are grown specifically for animal consumption. It is crucial that concise daily reporting is conducted to track the chemical analysis of the water, volume of irrigation, daily rain fall, lagoon levels and the nutrients found in the waste water.
“We have a lot of regulatory requirements and realized that we needed a way to streamline our record keeping functions to further our efficiency,” said Kraig Westerbeek, director of environmental management systems, Murphy-Brown. “We needed a robust system to monitor our extensive daily reporting and allow us to meet and exceed the EPA and DWQ standards.”
Due to the environmental conditions in the field, Murphy-Brown land technicians demand rugged, reliable tools in order to perform their jobs proficiently. Both the CN2 and the 741 mobile computers are designed specifically to survive heat, humidity and multiple drops to concrete or steel, allowing the company to minimize total cost of ownership. In addition, the computers are sealed against rain and dust to ensure long-term use.
“Intermec provides innovative, leading solutions along with the most rugged handheld units on the market,” Westerbeek added. “Our employees need a mobile computer that is strong and reliable to endure various conditions in the field, and Intermec provided us with just that.”
However, since deploying the LWMS solution in 2006, Murphy-Brown land technicians are now prompted by the software program to enter the necessary data, including daily, weekly and monthly reporting, guaranteeing that the required data is logged. Murphy-Brown is confident knowing that the solution will ensure the company is complying with the permit requirements daily.
“We take our environmental stewardship responsibilities very seriously, and therefore we are constantly looking for methods to enhance our environmental management systems,” Westerbeek said. “With the Intermec solution, land technicians now have the ability to document inspections, assignments and irrigation events with a much greater deal of accuracy.”
Additionally, Westerbeek reports that feedback regarding the CN2 and 741 mobile computers has been extremely positive since implementing the LWMS system. Land technicians comment that the mobile computers are easy to use, intuitive and provide a much more proficient way to report.
“Our record keeping functions and document control have improved immensely,” Westerbeek added. “Our employees appreciate the efficiency the solution brings to their profession.”
To date, Murphy-Brown has been pleased with the technical and market expertise, and the customer service and support provided by both Intermec and Taylor Data Systems. The organization never feels out of touch with the support team and is confident that any problem will be solved in a timely manner.
“The support from Intermec and Taylor Data Systems has been great,” Westerbeek concluded. “We are extremely pleased with our Livestock Waste Management System and look forward to additional benefits as we continue to streamline our processes.”