As a large global seafood enterprise and one of New Zealand’s largest fishing companies, holding 20 percent of New Zealand’s fishing quota, Sealord’s systems and processes are its competitive advantage. With more than 1200 staff and a complex seasonal business that has grown and evolved significantly through acquisition and business change over the past three decades, Sealord needed a modern and forward-looking technology platform that would support these changing requirements, offering greater insight into business performance and driving vastly improved operational efficiency.
Sealord’s existing core business system, having served the organisation for 20 years, “had come to the end of its life,” Grant Wilson, Sealord’s Business Support Services Manager, says. “We needed to look at our key processes and see how we could get greater efficiency gains. We needed fewer manual transactions, less reliance on spread sheets, and improved reporting,” he explains.
The aging legacy ERP system had become difficult to support. It relied heavily on an ecosystem of manual systems and processes existing outside the core platform. “We suffered the ills of spread sheeting and our information was susceptible to manual errors,” Grant says.
As well as having to endure labour-intensive and imprecise workflows, the quality of data was compromised and often incomplete, presenting a limited view of the organisation and its performance in key areas. Moreover, the system was outdated and needed to change.
As part of its five-year roadmap, Sealord wanted “real-time inventory tracking from quota to customer”, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV was selected as the “most logical” technology choice to make this happen.
Sealord’s move to Microsoft Dynamics NAV came in the second phase of its technology Base System Replacement upgrade. Phase one had focused on enabling real-time production data capture, supply planning and production reporting from “the fish quota to finished goods”, from the water to the factory. Phase two set out to focus on the business processes in play once the fish had reached the factory, including inventory management, purchasing, sales, distribution, financial management, business unit and group financial reporting. Phase two functionality was deployed across the New Zealand Fish, Acquaculture, New Zealand Marketing and Sealord Hong Kong and North America business units, with consolidation across all units at Group level.
Together, phase one and two cover all aspects of Sealord’s operation, from starting point – the fish quota – to end point – the customer. The next step, phase three, will centre on fully leveraging the sheer volume of data now on hand and readily available, by working on Business Intelligence initiatives.
With ERP processes critical to every area of its business, Sealord couldn’t afford disruption to ‘business as usual’ throughout the 18-month project to replace a system that had been entrenched at the heart of the enterprise for 20 years. “Sealord also needed an ERP system that would deliver straight away,” Grant explains "And thats exactly what we got".
“We could do most of the things we needed to from day one – following more productive work processes, managing invoicing and supplier information.
“It’s been a really successful project. Business has carried on throughout the implementation without any hiccups or any disruptions whatsoever to our customers. This is a massive achievement, especially when you consider the complexity and duration of the project, and the number of people who interact with the system in some way,” he says. “And now with their Consolidation Module in place, there has been a reduction of time and errors in the generation of group results.”