Applying technology to solve the management problem and optimize resource planning is a challenge for seafood businesses. This will help to turn assets into resources and enforce the position of the whole industry globally.
The journey to a successful deployment of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution was shared by Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu Sac – Chairman of Hai Nam Seafoods: it took more than 10 years to learn, experience, try and fail for both businesses and implementation consultants.
Sharing with about 50 seafood businesses at a meeting in Can Tho last weekend, Mrs. Sac said that in 2007 Hai Nam signed a contract to deploy the Micorsoft Dynamic solution for management, but “It’s new for the consultants as well as businesses and we keep drowning in it because we don’t understand what ERP is and don’t even know if we want to manage production, we must have a norm.”
It took nearly five years for Hai Nam to “swim in ERP”, according to Mrs. Sac, “money lost, opportunities lost, personnel also lost because they had to work twice as hard in both software environment and the actual system, they had to enter data, redo product codes, size shrimp and fish… It was extremely complicated” Hai Nam went back to the beginning. After the failure with Microsoft Dynamic, with the fear that foreign software would not be suitable for Vietnamese enterprises, Hai Nam returned to customed local solution, and it took another 2 years to manage business activities.
According to Mrs. Sac, at that time, solutions like SAP or Oracle were considered “treasures”, but most Vietnamese businesses could not afford. And for the past two years, Hai Nam Seafoods’ management system has operated smoothly on the SAP S/4 HANA platform. It was the basis for them to convert resources into assets in real time from business activities, goods, financial status, inventory reports …
“ERP is to turn resources into assets,” Mrs. Sac said. Hai Nam has faced management pressure: the head office in Saigon has to manage farms and factories in other provinces and cities, goods are exported to many markets; manage a variety of products from large fish, small fish, shrimp, squid, bird’s nest… so a human resources and accounting software cannot solve it.
Responding to Sao Ta Food Company (Fimex)’s representative, Mrs. Sac gave out advices: “Investing in technology is definitely expensive, if not under pressure to change, without enough will, the investment will be wasted. !”. Mrs. Sac shared that she was once turned away by the board of directors, and the staff because it was too difficult to implement ERP.
The distinct value that ERP brings is to digitalize to integrate processes into a synchronous and unified management model. Especially for manufacturing enterprises, ERP is the foundation optimizing human resources, machines, materials, etc., to organize production business.
“This platform is a resource for automating production. In the future, the seafood industry will certainly move to production with higher level technology.” According to ERP implementation expert Nguyen Cong Tan – general director of Citek Technology Company.
According to Mr. Tan, the specificity of the seafood industry is the participation of human in many stages from farming, production to processing…, ERP implementation will be complicated because it has to be adjusted at many stages. The digital transformation process must combine management in parallel with technology. Standards accompanies with technology to create infrastructure as a “digital core” for businesses. “This is an inevitable trend for businesses, when the market moves, the processes move along,” according to Mr. Tan.
The big challenge in the seafood industry is the pressure in the US and European markets to tighten antibiotic residues and the trend of testing products from source is increasingly focused, which demand business to control the supply chain from farm to fork. Enterprises are under pressure to build smart business models that support production, business and farming management while understanding the changing needs of customers.
According to Mr. Nguyen Cong Tan, technology helps each individual in the business grasp the expertise of different departments and creates opportunities for them to expand their professional skills. Photo: Bich Tram.
According to Mr. Tran Minh Triet – SAP solution manager for Southeast Asia, the seafood industry is undergoing major changes. The population explosion leads to an increase in consumption, leading to the development of related industries such as aqua feed, veterinary medicine, ancillary production… This actuality puts more pressure on chain management of businesses to improve their competitiveness and response to market changes. “Quality is now a top priority. With high quality-required markets, with just 1-2% antibiotic residues, the product is returned. Users require to know the whole process chain from the time the fish or shrimp is caught or farmed to the production. So data must be the resource that is managed carefully,” Mr. Triet shared.
Mrs. Sac also noted that the strength of digital transformation is to help increase transparency and break the “invisible power” of an individual or a department. There will be no more “island lords”. Managing details in real time on an integrated, decentralized system makes the system flexible and accurate.
Determining the core problem when implementing ERP is personnel. Above all is the participation of business leadership and consensus on the board of directors. The leader of the enterprise should be the director of the digital transformation project. “Only leaders have the ability lead the project and make decisions, promptly handle any arising. They have to assess the success or failure of the project in order to promptly help everyone in the company continue to go up,” Hai Nam General Director affirmed.