University partners with cheese makers to optimize production using machine learning and AI

Aston University and fourth-generation family cheese makers, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses (BFC) based in rural Lancashire, have partnered in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to use high-tech solutions to increase their cheese production.

The project will develop new business analytics and machine learning capabilities to scale up cheese production, by examining dairy yields, animal feed and supply chain processes. It will collect data sets throughout the supply chain, from livestock feeding to the cheese-making process and product consistency.

Industry-unique advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be applied to predict and optimize milk quality and quantity, helping BFC forecast future cheese demand.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a company, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.

The University of Aston academic team will be led by Dr. Jiabin Luo, Senior Lecturer in Business Analytics, whose interests focus on optimization modeling and decision-making in logistics processes and chains. procurement across a wide range of businesses. She will be joined by Dr. Ozren Despic, whose research focuses primarily on the development of mathematical models for use in efficiency measurement and decision-making.

Academic support will also be provided by Dr. Viktor Pekar and Dr. Eliseo Vilalta-Perdomo. Dr. Pekar’s interests focus on predictive modeling, machine learning, and natural language processing. Dr. Vilalta-Perdomo’s research lies at the intersection of issues such as human performance, technology and sustainable operations.

Giwa Reagan Iziomo rounds out the team as a KTP Associate, who has proven expertise in data science and business analytics. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Business Analytics and brings years of industry experience in process improvement, supply chain and business analytics.

Daniel Hall, fourth generation owner and COO of Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, said: “The UK cheese renaissance we are seeing at the moment is really exciting – more people than ever are buying quality local farmhouse cheese making. and the variety of superb cheeses we have in this country.

“Our collaboration is an important lever to maintain this momentum. With access to Aston University’s expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics, we can push the boundaries of our supply chain and processes, today and tomorrow.

Dr Jiabin Luo, Senior Lecturer in Business Analytics at Aston Business School, says: “The project provides an opportunity to deploy the concepts and theories resulting from our research in a real-world situation and demonstrate its high-quality impact.

“It also has a positive impact on teaching through case studies on the new aspect of BFC’s substantial control over its own supply chain.”

Sherry J. Basler