20 September 2018

Trident Seafoods: Smarter processing with Innova

Trident Seafoods currently operates close to 30 processing facilities around the world, 20 of which run Innova Food Processing Software.

Full production control and standardization

“For Trident, Innova is full production control software that provides control from the landing of the fish on the dock, through primary processing, all the way through finished goods, and to shipping,” says Jarred Brand, Director – Manufacturing Engineering & Technology for Trident Seafoods.

“Along the way, you get data from integrated equipment that allows you to do more business analytics and trace your product throughout the process,” he adds.

“We’ve worked with the Marel development team over the past 10 years to help tailor the software to our industry, and we've been able to solve all the business challenges around traceability, packaging, order control and inventory management,” says Brand.

Trident

“One of the main benefits of Innova for Trident has been the ability to standardize platforms across facilities. We operate plants in multiple time zones and what we've been able to do over the last 10 years is standardize all operations around the same system. This has enabled us to scale as a company in primary processing operations very efficiently,” says Brand.

The benefits of standardization have also been experienced by Trident’s customers, who had previously received products from multiple Trident facilities that looked different (on the box) despite being the same product inside.

“That's something that we've taken pride in,” says Brand. “We've standardized on the label creation and our customer sees that when they receive our products from multiple plants.”

Nadia Viscovich, quality assurance and Innova support technician at Trident, explains that, “Innova Food Processing Software helps me keep track of labels in a way that I don't have to keep track of every single item produced. I can have templates for each product form.”

“The way it works with Innova is it would grab all the information in a table and produce individual labels for each product because all the information is a database. We go from 200 labels to using templates, which are way easier to keep track of.”

I can take care of an item list of 200 products and have 10 templates to cover all of those labels, thanks to Innova.

– Nadia Viscovich, quality assurance and Innova support technician at Trident 

“Some of the other challenges that Innova has solved for Trident over the years are inventory control and quality control,” says Brand. “When we started to implement Innova in 2008, we were doing hand paper reports for inventory, hand written pallet tags.”

Palletizing and traceability

Brand says palletizing was Trident’s number one goal when they first started implementing Innova in 2008, and that the company immediately felt the benefits of the software after it was implemented at their facility in Akutan, outside Dutch Harbor, in 2008.

“From a food safety standpoint, being able to do individual box identifiers – which are linked to a pallet, which are linked to a shipment – and being able to trace the raw material to the finished product and then to the container and the customer, is extremely important,” says Brand.

Tapping into the potential of data

“From the efficiency of feeding fish into a machine, to the efficiency of actually filleting a certain amount of pounds per hour, Innova has allowed us to keep track of that information by employee and generate useful reporting tools off of that,” says Brand.

Trident noticed changes almost instantaneously, and the benefits grew each time a new site implemented Innova. “I think the business as a whole started to see the value of Innova a couple years into the implementation, after we completed our sixth site. We started to see the ability to transform data, consolidate data and integrate data into our ERP system and our BI reporting software,” says Brand.

At that point, we started to realize the amount of data we had tapped into – and the potential to use that data.

– Jarred Brand, Director – Manufacturing Engineering & Technology for Trident Seafoods 

For Trident, there are two layers of benefits, as Brand explains: “First you get the benefits of the Innova Food Processing Software for the individual factories. There's lots of value in what it provides to the plant managers, to the production supervisors on the factory floor. There's a lot of very useful data that helps them run the factory more efficiently.”

Second, the corporate office can use the data for business analysis. “The data that they're able to take from the ERP is often different from what’s important to the guys running the factory on a day to day basis. At the corporate level, they can very easily take the data from Innova and merge it with other metrics to get great value out of that data,” says Brand. “This has greatly improved our business efficiency.”

Viscovich explains the day-to-day benefits of centralized information in managing Trident’s multiple sites: “Before we would have 13 different sites and manage them individually, now we can have everything centralized and push information to whatever site we need. It’s easier for us to keep track, instead of having to individually go to each site and look at what information is there.”

With the MDM module for the value added plants, Viscovich says, “We make one change in one site and we can push it to all the other relevant sites. That makes my life way easier!”

Brent Keelty at Mt Cook Alpine Salmon

More efficiency with better inventory control

“I’d say the Innova inventory module is the single biggest business improvement from an efficiency standpoint in our Alaskan facilities, as well as in some our value added facilities,” says Brand.

“Our ability to track, move and adjust inventory in real time has greatly improved, and the visibility that it gives us to that inventory as it travels from Alaska to customers around the world.”

“We now use Innova to track our delivery from the boat all the way through finished processing and to our ERP system in Seattle,” says Brand.

Innova support within Trident

“It's extremely important for Trident to have its own Innova support team because of the way our operations are set up. Our facilities span many time zones and it's important for us to be able to provide 24/7 support to those facilities. Our team of business analysts will request certain data sets and data from Innova or ask questions about whether certain data exists, and our Innova support group will provide that data or the link to that data,” says Brand.

Viscovich agrees: “It's important because we have so many plants, most working 24/7 during most of the summer. It’s important for us to have somebody local that knows the process in plant.”

The day-to-day experience

Viscovich outlines the key differences between her experience working at plants with and without Innova Food Processing Software: “There's quite a difference between the information that you can see on time, which is used by plant managers for quality assurance, production, production timing and scheduling.”

In facilities yet to implement Innova, “They were operating on what they thought was happening and did not have the actual information until the end of the year,” she says.

“Having all that information at hand in real time increases our profits greatly because we can manage all the information… We can see the quality right away instead of having to wait. Our top managers can go directly at whatever site they're looking for, for production information, for grading information, for shipment information.”

They’ve got all of that at the tip of their fingers in real time thanks to the connectivity and easy overlay of third parties and Innova integration.

– Nadia Viscovich, quality assurance and Innova support technician at Trident 

Viscovich says their jobs would be much more difficult and less productive without Innova: “The information and the quality of information that we currently have, we would not have until the end of the year, which would diminish our decision-making greatly. It gets the information to us faster, in real time, so we can make decisions faster to correct any issues.”

Trident

A more automated future

Brand says he expects the software to continue growing with the industry as fish processing becomes increasingly automated and connectivity becomes more vital.

“We’re seeing a lot of change around automation. A lot of new fish processing facilities are getting more and more automated, more and more robotics. I see the software over the next couple of years adapting with that change and providing more data.”

“I think one of the largest areas of change is around data and business analytics. When you go into factories today, you see large TVs with metrics,” he says.

“That goes back to the data: Being able to collect the right data and present it in a way that is useful, is probably the most important thing when you're talking about data visualization and improving your business. There are many ways to collect data, but if you don't present it to the end user in the right way, then it's not going to help run the business.”

What's drastically helped us in many different scenarios across many different species of processing is the ability to collect the right data and present it to the right people.

– Jarred Brand, Director – Manufacturing Engineering & Technology for Trident Seafoods  

Trident Seafoods

Trident Seafoods is a vertically integrated seafood harvesting, processing and marketing company. It operates shoreside primary processing facilities in ten Alaskan communities as well as processing vessels that are deployed seasonally throughout Alaska.

Trident participates in all of the major fisheries in Alaska including crab, cod, salmon, halibut and wild Alaska pollock. Its catch is delivered by a fleet of company owned vessels as well as hundreds of independent fishermen.

Its secondary processing facilities in the United States—in Washington, Minnesota, and Georgia—as well as in Japan, China, and Germany.

These facilities further process the primary products into value-added products available for retailers, club stores, food service distributors, and restaurant chains. Family owned and operated, Trident Seafoods is proud to offer the bounty of the finest Alaskan seafood “from the source to the plate.”

 

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