How Technology is Transforming the Seafood Supply Chain

Technology is vastly changing how companies around the world are operating, and the seafood industry is no exception. Over the years, the usage of sensors, computer networks, and artificial intelligence have allowed for increased traceability and data analysis throughout the seafood supply chain. Through this, companies can find inefficiencies in their operations which allows them to serve their customers better.

One area that is being improved by technology is traceability, the ability to trace products from their origin to the point of sale. There are several benefits of increasing traceability in seafood supply chains. First of all, it allows for the verification of a sustainable origin and process. This is becoming increasingly important as more retailers and consumers are becoming concerned about how socially and environmentally responsible their products are and are willing to pay premium prices to maintain that standard. Additionally, traceability allows companies to prove their innocence when wrongly accused of a food safety issue which will prevent penalties and damage to their reputation.

Traditionally traceability in the seafood industry takes its form on paper. In some cases, traceability is maintained through barcodes that can be scanned along the supply chain. Despite the wide use of these methods, there are inefficiencies in both such as human error and labour costs. However, there is a new method that uses modern RFID technology to address these issues. RFID or Radio-frequency identification consists of tags that can be used to track seafood crates from the start of the supply chain to the end with electromagnetic fields at various stops along the way that can identify the tags. This means that crates can be tracked automatically when brought into storage, shipping, or processing plants without the need for scanning or tracking with paper. With Sedna’s Shop Floor Application this hardware comes bundled with software for handheld devices that allows users to easily track the movement of inventory.

Traceability isn’t the only aspect of the seafood supply chain that has the potential to benefit from technology. Sensor technology also allows the temperature of seafood in storage and shipment to be monitored. Vital characteristics of water storage tanks such as temperature, ammonia, ammonium, pH levels, and light can also be monitored. For all of the above attributes, Sedna provides the hardware and software to be able to view them in real-time and be notified if they reach potentially dangerous levels. This can help fix problems before they result in losses.

There is an additional hidden power that comes along with the implementation of technology-based solutions to traceability and quality monitoring: both greatly increase the ease of and capacity for data analytics. By having technology integrated along the entirety of the supply chain that is constantly collecting data in real-time, the quantity of data to be used in analysis is dramatically increased compared to traditional methods. This means that the extent to which inefficiencies can be discovered and improvements can be made is increased as well, ultimately resulting in better business and higher profit.

While the advancement and implementations of technology have greatly improved business’ operations, perhaps the most influential is the collection and analysis of data. We’ve already seen the impact data analysis has in other industries. For example, algorithmic trading in the finance sector or medical imaging in health institutions. In our world of “big data”, it is important to use the tools we have to make the best decisions we can.

As technology is becoming more prevalent in the seafood industry, it is clear it is essential for the future of companies. From improved traceability to getting temperature data in real-time, technology is transforming the seafood supply chain and the increased capacity for data analysis makes it all the more important. As our society continues to change and evolve, so do the techniques and operations we rely on. As long as we are ready to adapt, the possibilities are endless.

Authors:

Jack Hipson & Robie Gonzales

Sources:

https://www.edf.org/oceans/high-tech-future-fishing

https://www.michiganstateuniversityonline.com/resources/supply-chain/technology-transforming-the-seafood-supply-chain/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242337905_Benefits_of_traceability_in_fish_supply_chain_-_case_studies