Alyeska Seafoods, Inc
Seafood Processor Automates to Attain Accurate, Real-Time Inventory Control
Alyeska Seafoods is a division of Japan-based Maruha-Nichiro Group, the largest seafood company in the world. Alyeska operates one of three large seafood processing plants in Dutch Harbor, Alaska in the Aleutian chain and processes Alaska pollock, Pacific cod, surimi, and king and snow crab. At full capacity, Alyeska can process more than a million pounds of seafood a day.
At the time Alyeska began considering materials control solutions, inventory, tracing and other factory floor data was tracked and managed on clipboards. Manual records in such a high volume, high speed operation created huge challenges including inaccurate inventory levels, shipping problems, delayed reporting, and duplicate data entry.
Real-time inventory was impossible. An interim solution failed to deliver the automated inventory control they needed as they struggled with a system not designed to meet their workflows. They found themselves adding even more labor to handle cumbersome workarounds and manage chronically inaccurate inventory levels. All areas of the operation suffered without true, real-time inventory information.
The manual labeling process was unreliable and not meeting BRC needs. Efficiency was compromised with a high proportion of bad labels–each requiring someone to key in the correct information, print a new label, and manually place the label on the box. Frequently these errors were caught during shipping, adding even more labor costs to find and correct labeling errors in a critical zone of the operation.
Alyeska chose ParityFactory as the backbone of their integrated materials control system at their Dutch Harbor, Alaska facility. Key to the decision was Parity Corporation’s extensive experience in working with the seafood industry and food processors throughout North America creating systems focused on materials management and the ability to integrate with a variety of ERP and plant equipment using ParityLink.
ParityFactory is now integrated with CRS Data Solutions inline printers on the production line with the ability to print in Japanese on three sides of a shipping box simultaneously. Immediately following the inline printers, finished goods are automatically scanned using Cognex imaging hardware to identify unreadable labels which are then pushed aside for further inspection. Honeywell handheld scanners have also been implemented, replacing outdated pen and paper practices.
ParityFactory has enabled integration with Alyeska’s Seattle headquarter’s ERP system, WiseFish, allowing for automated imports and exports of orders, product information, vendor data, and more. This data is then automatically tied to the real-time inventory, making resource planning available in seconds, saving countless hours of manual planning. Automated reporting has replaced manual Excel spreadsheets and handwritten data with a one click report providing instant and accurate real-time data.
The Results and Benefits
After implementing ParityFactory, Alyeska’s inventory levels are now visible in real-time and are always accurate. Live dashboards and yield reporting are available to management at any time. The value of real-time inventory data feeding the operation, as well as error-free shipping and automated labeling, goes beyond cost savings to include benefits like increased capacity, streamlined workflow, and better service to customers.
Implementation launched with an on-site visit from one of Parity’s expert consultants. The collaboration of those early face to face interactions resulted in an influx of new ideas, and improved and simplified Alyeska’s materials control strategy going forward. The experienced consulting team at Parity supported a fast track implementation allowing Alyeska to meet their goals in a matter of months, not years. Confidence in Parity’s technical capabilities and experience on the shop floor was solidified as new opportunities for streamlining were discussed.