Those crumbs of hake left on the processing factory floor really do matter. This is what Sea Harvest is discovering after completing the first phase of its data intelligence project at their primary processing facility in Saldanha on South Africa’s West Coast, writes Benny Alberts who visited the factory recently.
The equipment is supplied by processing equipment giant Marel. The purpose of the upgrade is to achieve the highest yields for the available inputs possible, or more specifically shed light on the “black box”, as the numbers men have come to call the factory processing area, where up to 70 tons of wet and frozen fish pass through daily. The problem, according to factory Services Manager Harris Talmakkies, was what you put in didn’t necessarily add up to what you got out.
The already completed first phase involved the installation of check weighing and scanning stations at key points between receiving, Fresh Fish Processing (FFP) and Cold Storage. The stations are networked through Marel’s Innova branded production management software. And it’s working.
Talmakkies says they can already see benefits. Variances have already been reduced. On a quota of approximately 23 000 H&G tons every small difference will start to make itself felt right away. While Sea Harvest had expected some improvement the results were surprising, according to Talmakkies.
“We can now begin to track where it went wrong,” he says.
Through Innova, Sea Harvest decision makers, from the MD, through operations and down to individual unit managers, now have the means to monitor performance, spot wastage, drip losses, theft and identify distribution errors quickly and accurately forecast output practically in real time. Production managers for example now have a clearer window on what grade and size of fish are sent into the factory which helps compare these to incoming orders and decide what products to make with any given input. The Innova information net reaches out to sea aboard the Harvest Lindiwe, Sea Harvest’s state-of-the-art flagship freezer trawler so advance notice of incoming raw material is just a mouse click away for those who need to know.
The striking results of the first phase of the project prompted quick approval for phase two which will be concluded in the next two months with the installation of four flow scales that should take monitoring of the production process down into the processing lines themselves. Eventually, product will be tracked down to the master box level with each individual piece of fish being weighed at least four times for the simplest cuts and more times for complex added value products.
In the current competitive environment any savings will help.
This article was written and published by Absolutely Write! Cc and was first featured in the August 2011 issue of Fishing Industry News.