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Equipment Focus - Computer systems

Innovative software programs reduce cost, time and error for processors and distributors

December 01, 2005

Success in the fish business means closely monitoring a highly perishable product from the time it comes into the processing plant until it is delivered to the customer’s door. Along the way, incoming product, purchase orders and fluctuating inventory must be tracked, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) compliance must be documented and expedient delivery routes established.

Accuracy and efficiency are critical to all this record-keeping. Happily, seafood processors and distributors no longer need to rely on white boards or a paper trail to keep inventory and accounts straight. Seafood-specific software programs streamline the process and protect profit margins by keeping tabs on every step of your business.

Three Astra systems automate every stage of distribution

Astra Information Systems’ Advance Availability Assessment eliminates fresh-seafood distributors’ need for white-board inventory tracking by integrating incoming and outgoing product orders for real-time inventory assessment. A3 calculates and displays product availability, based on incoming purchase orders, product lead time, open sales orders, current available inventory, production orders, yields and production requirements. As a result, sales reps have a more accurate picture of what can be sold, and when.

Astra automates the cutting room with its Point of Scale module, which interfaces the scales used by cutters and packers directly with the sales orders that are driving the production and packing process. Operators can scan a bar-coded picking/cutting ticket or select products off a screen list. The system prints a customized product label with country of origin information and customer, truck route and weight details. The weights are electronically fed back to the original sales order for billing, eliminating manual keypunch time and errors.

To streamline deliveries and reduce trucking costs, there’s the Windows-based Astra Graphical Truck Routing module, which inferfaces with the Astra Sales Order Processing module. By adding barcode scanning at truck loading, the program ensures no orders are missed. It also generates load sheets and driver manifests and automatically assigns the best routes to orders.

Astra Information Systems
Weston, Fla.
(800) 305-5567 ext. 111

CAI adds functionality to integrated Seasoft program

Computer Associates Inc.’ Seasoft is fully integrated, Windows-based software designed to increase profits by streamlining business processes, reducing costs and improving customer service. The new Seasoft v8.5 enhances the functionality of the basic program.

Web-based self-service lets customers view current product, place orders, check order history and perform account-management options.

A Warehouse Management System uses high-performance laser barcode-scanning devices to track inventory from raw-material receipt to shipment of finished goods. WMS captures inventory information at the receiving dock to optimize receiving, tracking, material movement and transfers, forward pick replenishment, picking for sales orders, truck loading and routing, physical inventory, cycle counts and employee utilization.

Full Product Traceability generates labels with complete country-of-origin and method-of-production details, including where the product was packed and processed.

When product is ready for shipment from suppliers, an import tracking number provides a direct link between the purchase order and the shipment details. A new production-packing interface captures packing weights directly from scales during the packing process on the plant floor. Weights are recorded automatically on the open work order, allowing for more accurate production yields. Finished product lots are automatically tagged to the customer’s order.

Computer Associates Inc.
Smithfield, R.I.
(800) 422-4782

Software pioneer DDD keeps upgrades coming

Disc Design & Data was founded in 1978 as a custom software-development firm. In 1983, the company introduced its first version of Fishmonger™, today the longest-established seafood-distribution software application in North America. DDD continues to provide personalized software solutions for seafood companies and can provide interfaces to a variety of devices, such as hand-held scanning computers, label printers and intelligent scales.

Fishmonger™ is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution featuring such modules as customer order creation and processing, inventory and lot control, purchase orders, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger and financial reporting, analytical reporting and security.

A Warehouse Management feature is the newest addition to Fishmonger™. With it, hand-held computers perform remote data collection. Users can fill orders, receive purchase orders, take inventory and enter inventory warehouse-location moves.

Other recent features include paperless-office capability whereby reports print directly to Adobe® Acrobat PDF files, saving printer supplies, paper and file space.

The new ODBC Data Warehouse makes it possible to share all Fishmonger™ data seamlessly with Excel®, Access®, Lotus®, Web-site publishing and other applications. Fishmonger™ is also compliant with country-of-origin and method-of-production labeling.

During the month of December, DDD is making a special online offer to SeaFood Business readers at www.fishmonger.com/offer.htm

Disc Design & Data
Northfield, Ill.
(847) 501-6570

Fully integrated Net•Yield moves ahead with version 4.0

Net•Yield introduced its software to the seafood industry in 1989 as a tool for handling weight-based, lot-controlled inventory management. Net•Yield has since evolved into a completely integrated platform that companies can use to run their entire business.

The program allows users to sell product that has not yet been received, cost out inventory after it has been received and when all costs are known and calculate actual yields during processing. All functions are fully integrated without the use of modules, including ordering, inventory control, shipping, processing and accounting/reporting.

Version 4.0, released in September, adds several functions to the software program, including a brand-new graphical user interface.

Working in the new version, users can specify multiple-pack configurations in which to sell and label product that is stocked and sold in multiple units of measure. They can also use a new Order Guide to input orders quickly using their customers’ ordering history or their item codes and descriptions.

Other additions to the Net•Yield program in the past year include additional traceability and country-of-origin features, transaction printing on plain paper as well as on multipart forms and faster system automation to interface with other systems and devices.

Net•Yield is available as a free trial download at www.netyield.com. New subscription pricing models are designed to make the software affordable for even small seafood companies.

Plymouth, Mass.
(800) 352-6463

WiseFish software tailored for processing, farming

Microsoft-certified WiseFish, a vertical software solution for the seafood and aquaculture industries, was developed by Maritech on the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) platform. WiseFish provides increased automation at all levels, product traceability, a detailed profit overview at every stage, better quality control and easy-to-use sales and contract systems. No third-party or add-on solutions are needed.

WiseFish costing tools define acceptable margins as a basis for marketing and pricing decisions. The software monitors yields, labor and material use online and eliminates manual processes or non-integrated automation. WiseFish manages quality from the boat or farm to the plate by linking traceability to HACCP-compliant recording components and inventory control.

The modular structure lets companies implement an end-to-end solution at the outset or take a step-by-step approach to building a Total Enterprise Resource Planning system. Either way, information needs to be recorded just once, since all modules are part of a single system and use the same database.

Maritech, with offices in the United States, Canada, Iceland, Norway, the U.K. and Chile, is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner and a recipient of the Microsoft Distribution Excellence Award in both 2004 and 2005. Maritech also received the Navision Excellence Award from Microsoft in July 2005. The award recognized the company’s distribution and consulting efforts for MBS Navision Business Software as well as its work in developing, marketing and distributing software solutions for the seafood and aquaculture industries.

Seattle (U.S. office)
(206) 236 1400


 December 2005 - SeaFood Business 

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