Traceability In The Seafood Industry

ocean-beautyEstablished in 1910, Ocean Beauty Seafoods is a pioneer in the Northwest and Alaska seafood industry, ranking among the largest and most successful vertically integrated seafood companies in the Pacific Northwest. Its corporate headquarters is located in Seattle, while six of its seafood processing plants are located throughout Alaska.  Every year, Ocean Beauty Seafoods distributes millions of pounds of canned, smoked, frozen and fresh seafood to customers across the globe. Its customers range from retailers, like Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee Foods, to restaurants and grocery stores.

At the height of the fishing season in Alaska, approximately 2,000 Ocean Beauty Seafoods employees are working at the company’s Alaskan plants.

The Problem

Traceability and product quality are key to Ocean Beauty Seafoods meeting global food standards. Its fresh seafood cannot sit in the distribution center for long periods of time. With six Alaskan plants processing and distributing thousands of pounds of fish a week, employees need the ability to track product easily and efficiently. In 2003, Ocean Beauty Seafoods installed SIMBA, a software solution that uses barcode technology for tracking, at its plants. While the distribution process became streamlined and more efficient, Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ handheld devices were unable to withstand the harsh, wet conditions in the plants and were constantly being sent out for repair. They needed a more rugged handheld device that could streamline, accelerate and simplify its distribution process.

The Solution

To meet this need, Ocean Beauty worked with Dynamic Systems Inc. (DSI), a systems integrator that specializes in barcode technology. DSI suggested Psion’s Workabout Pro™ 3 because of its ergonomic form factor, ruggedness and IP65 rating. The Workabout Pro 3 is the perfect solution for a business that operates in extreme conditions, such as coolers and freezers, in wet environments, and for users that are focused on speed and accuracy, and aren’t in a position to handle the equipment carefully.

With the SIMBA software running on Psion’s device, today’s distribution process at Ocean Beauty Seafoods is streamlined, efficient and reliable. After a batch of fish is processed, the product is placed in a carton and given a barcode label created by a dedicated barcode label printer. The label contains important tracking information including the product’s date of processing. When the carton is removed from the freezer for shipment, an employee scans the barcode with a Workabout Pro 3 and enters what container the order was loaded onto and where the shipment is headed. This system is integrated with the inventory system used at the company’s Seattle headquarters. Now Ocean Beauty Seafoods can track its fish throughout the distribution and delivery process, ensuring its orders are accurate  and its seafood is fresh. It has also enabled the company to handle a wider variety of products.

The Benefitspsion-seafood

“Before we implemented SIMBA and Psion’s Workabout Pro™ 3, the products were shipped to our Seattle headquarters for cold storage,” said Tom Marshall, Superintendant for Ocean Beauty Seafoods Excursion Inlet Alaska Plant. “With SIMBA and Psion’s Workabout Pro 3, we’re able to ship directly to the customer out of our Alaskan plants, giving us better transportation rates. Without these two technologies, it would be impossible to track such a high number of varied shipments from vessel to destination.”

Approximately 15 Workabout Pro 3s are in use at Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ Alaskan plants with plans to roll out additional terminals in the future. “Our employees appreciate the Workabout Pro 3s intuitive interface and durability,” said Marshall. “The support we’ve received from DSI and Psion has made the transition seamless.”

To learn more about Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ use of SIMBA Food Distribution Software, please contact:

Dynamic Systems, Inc.


Contact DSI



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