NorthSeafood has been the specialist in deeply frozen fish products for 30 years. When the business was set up by Johannes Schenk, its focus at that time was on cod for the frozen market. The range of products was expanded over the years by plaice, sole and value added products, particularly for the retail and catering industries. Now that his sons Lubbert and Jelle stand at the helm in Urk, the developments at NorthSeafood are continued unabatedly. According to Jelle Schenk this also goes for the automation processes: "Nine years ago the administration consisted of tickets, now that is fully automated."
In 2004, NorthSeafood started with the computerized system of Poseidon, a well-known system in the seafood industry. Step by step, all of the production processes were added to that, says Jelle Schenk. "In 2010 we came to the conclusion that the system no longer met our requirements, because it was not being developed fast enough and lacked financial integration. We wanted one system for all of our automation processes."
We selected Microsoft Dynamics NAV: an ERP system by Microsoft that is used worldwide by SME's. NorthSeafood selected Schouw Informatisering, from Etten-Leur, Holland, for its implementation. The choice for Schouw was not that hard, according to Schenk. "They already worked for various fish businesses, including Schmidt Zeevis and Versvishandel Jan van As. They had also started at Parlevliet & van der Plas, and at Koninklijke Prins and Dingemanse."
Transferring to a new automation system, according to Schenk, is a very complex matter in a business such as NorthSeafood with its range of processes. "Customer databases, suppliers' databases, product databases… all of the processes require modifications and amendments." In a way, the business generates the system itself, it is set up based on all of the contacts and the users within the entire organization. You need to actively take charge in such a process, says Schenk: "Extensive talks with managers and executives across the entire organization have been held in order to create a blueprint and get an overview of the details. The consultants of Schouw Informatisering have been a great help in this process."
The system as implemented at NorthSeafood consists of Dynamics NAV in combination with SI Foodware as developed by Schouw Informatisering, Jelle Schenk says. "SI Foodware is a collection of optional functionalities added to Dynamics NAV by Schouw Informatisering, and which have been specifically developed for processes within the food industry. Examples of solutions for trading businesses include THT checks and the registration of bonuses. Solutions for production companies include product specifications, scale connection, SSCC labeling and traceability.
The new system offers much convenience and insight, but it also carries the need for more precision, is Schenk's conclusion. "As a seafood business we are used to act ad hoc. This system has forced us to think in a methodical way and to look ahead. You always know the figures, precisely, which allows you to expect long-term issues better and to anticipate on those. That is a huge advantage. Right from the purchases the value is linked to your ingredients in this system. That is used for the calculation of the cost price. So you always know exactly what something costs and what you have to make on it. That way, you're guiding processes on figures. "Every day you know what production earnings you've made that day."
And you can show your costs to your customers, Schenk states. "These days, you can only make money when you can produce more efficiently. When you're operating from a country with high labor costs - such as we are, here in Holland - you have to resort to efficiency and automation. Everything we do with Dynamics NAV is instantly processed financially. Originally, it is a financial package."
Since the introduction in 2005 of the General Food Law, you must be able to indicate where your products come from and where there are sent to. Schenk: "From that moment, an ERP system was absolutely necessary. Every product at NorthSeafood can be traced, both ways. All goods have an item number. During production, work is carried out based on those numbers. We can see if something is in stock, based on the item number. In addition, most customers have an SSCC code (shipping code) on all pallets. In the event that a customer has a complaint, we can trace it back to the pallet, based on that code."
Jelle Schenk is very satisfied with their choice of the new automation program for his business. "Dynamics NAV is a Microsoft program. That company embraces the latest in technological development, which is important to us. This ERP package has been implemented over a short time, in cooperation with Schouw as implementation partner. With this system, we are ready for the future! "
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