The aim of this project is to improve the operations of Blueshell Mussels, the UK's leading mussel farmer based in Shetland. The company felt they were spending too much time on paperwork and wanted to streamline and manage their operations better, really getting the most out of technology. It was decided a bespoke system built around their current working practices was the best way to serve the business.
Phase 1 - Office
This phase involved streamlining admin operations - order taking, creating despatch notes, invoicing - replacing several spreadsheets that had to be maintained or created daily. This saves around 40% in admin time per day. Main features include:
- Fast order taking - orders can be taken in the system with minimal effort. Common information such as haulage routes are pre-populated based on past orders, and features such as standing orders for repeat ordering and "cloning", which allows similar orders with the same lines to be created from existing in seconds, are very convenient for staff.
- Task reminders remind staff when customers should be called for orders, displaying contact details and past orders, with options to quickly take an order, or base it on a previous one, over the phone.
- Despatch notes - this once timely process is now done instantly. By choosing orders and actioning a despatch, large numbers of summarised despatch notes are automatically generated by the system for all the distributers and customers involved with the orders, and conveniently bulk sent as either faxes or emails in just one click. Previously staff had to make up each despatch note individually by collating and summarising information for each haulage firm and customer, so this saves a great amount of time and effort, also reducing scope for mistakes.
- Sage Integration - orders are automatically created inside Sage by the system in a single click for same-day bulk invoicing and posted to the sales ledger to keep accounts up-to-date. Again this saves a lot of time and the automation removes scope for mistakes. The system also re-uses various information that already exists in Sage such as product price lists and customer details to prevent duplicate data entry.
Phase 2 - Factory
This offers the following features:
- Large-screen LCD displays in the factory that replace whiteboards with a dynamic and constantly updating display, showing orders, recording trimmer and sheller weights, highlighting changes, and indicating packing progress on screen. This greatly improves communication between the office and factory.
- Factory printing - food labelling printers that tie in with the system to produce labels for packaged items. Tub, box, and customer labels are all available at the touch of a button for the current order.
- Realtime progress - the system works out order progress each time a factory worker prints a label, and from this provides real-time progress information in the style of percentage-bar indicators alongside orders that office staff can visually inspect to gauge exact progress. This improves visibility of factory operations and allow the company to plan and prioritise activity better, also gaining useful insights into performance.
- Automatic traceability from source batch to customer as a result of producing label, fast and flexible accessing and searching of information, and a variety of automated print outs from supplier statements and financials to measuring business performance.
- Realtime chat between office and factory display boards
- Fisheries office integration for automatically submitting landing data
- Bulk SMS text messaging to boats from system