Customer story

Innova is part of the DNA at Australis Seafoods

14 Nov 2017

Australis Seafoods considers Innova Food Processing Software to be an integral part of its Fitz Roy processing plant. Everything they do is through Innova: from setting up systems or changing programs, to generating reports and monitoring and controlling work stations.

“Innova is now a part of the DNA of our operations,” explains Gerardo Crot, Processing Manager at the plant. “Before implementing the Innova solution, it could take 36-40 hours for a fish to be processed. Now we can ensure it takes no more than 20 hours by having the Innova system set alarms that enable us to better organize production, make quick decisions and avoid delays.”

“Our next goal is to reduce this even further, to 14 hours, and I’m confident we can achieve this goal,” Gerardo adds.
 

GREATER PRODUCTION CONTROL

Australis uses almost the full Innova functionality, and can’t imagine running a plant without using Innova dashboards to monitor production. “With Innova, we have achieved greater yield and throughput, better quality and higher productivity,” says Gerardo.

Moreover, since installing Innova in mid 2015, the company has significantly raised its level of compliance. “In December 2015, we had a compliance rate order of 75%, now we have 99.5% compliance,” says Gerardo. “Because with Innova, we have much greater production control and can plan everything in advance. This is a big step forward and makes us more competitive.”

“Everything passes through the software – from when the raw material enters the processing plant until when it leaves as a final product,” Gerardo explains. “The system does everything, even the labels tailored to each product.”
 

TRACEABLE QUALITY

The market is very competitive, so Australis works hard at ensuring they produce fresh, quality products. With Innova, they gained complete control of the value chain and the ability to demonstrate the efficiency and traceability of the process. Before using Innova, their record-keeping was manual, which was both difficult and prone to errors.

Supplying their customers with quality products is paramount at Australis, and Innova helps them achieve this, as well as make the high level of traceability visible to their customers.

“With Innova we can ensure that every dispatch from the plant goes with an Innova report for our customers, detailing the traceability of the process for every product.”

– Gerardo Crot, Processing Manager
 

TRANSPARENCY BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY

Australis was quick to realize that making the information highly accessible would benefit employees as well as customers, and took the ingenious step of making their Innova dashboards visible to everyone in the plant.

“We implemented some dashboards to show what’s happening in the plant and we now have eight screens that show the performance of every work station for every line,” Gerardo says.

“The power of the information that we have now has put us at the forefront,” says Gerardo. “We have gained a lot in labor savings and now aim to boost productivity even further.”

“Innova has helped us improve our performance across the board, including a significant increase in throughput. Having all the information online also helps us make decisions right away in real time and means that now we can measure the performance of every work station, ensuring a fair bonus system and better control of every processing line.”
 

BETTER DECISION-MAKING RAISES QUALITY

One of the reasons Australis decided to invest in Innova is because they wanted to access information in real time and be able to react quickly to production challenges. As Gerardo puts it, “Speed of response and information!”

Faster response times lead to the production of fresher products, so Innova has enabled us to deliver higher quality products to our customers.

Innova also improves decision-making by providing the real-time information in a variety of ways. As well as having screens visible throughout the plant for employees, managers at Australis can access the information on site or remotely, and alarms can be set and monitored this way too.
 

BEING COMPETITIVE

Quality is a key differentiator with competitors too and drives Australis to be more efficient. Innova gives processors better production control, making it much easier to achieve higher efficiency. “The competition is tough,” Gerardo explains, “but Innova has allowed us to be competitive and you can see this in the market.”

“After we’d been operating with Innova for about six months, we could really start seeing the benefits,” Gerardo says. “Educating our people was perhaps the biggest challenge, but within a year, we could see the benefits even more, and that it had raised the whole level of our organization.”

“The greatest benefit of Innova is that it opens your mind and prepares the organization to step up to another level. Of course it helps to have control and have better results, but with Innova you also have a range of possibilities. Innova helps to make the best use of equipment with another mentality and put everything in line.”

“The reputation of our company it is important,” Gerardo adds, “so having Innova allows us to be a highly competitive plant, as well as improve our image to our customers and be known in the market for doing things right, such as demonstrating product traceability with Innova reports. Our customers are happy because they can see we offer a differentiating element that others don’t – or can’t – offer.”

“The big advantages are both for us, in terms of efficiency, and for our customers, in terms of quality,” he says. “Plus we don´t have any product delays.”
 

PARTNERSHIP WITH MAREL

Australis has been working with Marel for many years. “From the beginning, Marel was like a partner with Australis, and now around 80% of our equipment is Marel equipment,” says Gerardo. “One of the big advantages Marel offered from the start was integrated solutions – not just separate pieces of equipment.”

Marel’s trademark reliability of both equipment and service is also vital, and the integrated service agreement between the two companies is mutually beneficial.

As Gerardo explains, “The reliability of Marel equipment has always been a key advantage. Now Marel has also greatly enhanced its after-sales service, with strong support staff that really know how to maintain the equipment, and that level of security is of great value to us.”

“The service agreement allows us to set up maintenance plans and support, with strong software support with open communication,” he says. “We expect leadership, proactivity and consistent support from our suppliers, and Marel knows the customer needs. On the technical side, Marel provides robust support and teaches us a lot, which we believe is important. The last aftersales service, for example, was excellent, with detailed monitoring and great project management.”
 

INNOVA TAKES PROCESSING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

“Innova has opened our minds to a new way of looking at the production and given our people another point of view that lets them see the processes more clearly and make better and faster decisions,” says Gerardo. “Innova software adds a layer of technology that takes the processing equipment, and so the whole production, to another level.”

More about the Innova Food Processing Software
 

Australis Seafoods is a Chilean company based in Calbuco in Chile’s Xth region. They started production in 2007 and specialize in processing trout and salmon – both Pacific (Coho) and Atlantic. Australis’ market covers most of the globe, from the USA, South America, Central America and Brazil, to Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. They mostly supply supermarket chains and restaurants. There is plenty of room for the company to expand, and they plan to increase in size and reach, and enhance their activity in Chile’s south.
 
Australis prides itself on the high quality of its products. The company abides by the highest standards in quality, sustainability and care for the environment. Australis integrates all production stages and its production sites have highly efficient, highly trained staff. 

Gerardo Crot is Processing Manager at the company’s Fitz Roy plant, which has been operating in Calbuco since early in 2013. As well as whole fish processing, the plant handles fillet processing and portioning, and was designed to allow future expansion in production and storage capacity. The plant currently employs 600 people and processes around 4,400 tons per month.