Business process management can get gory! At least that is the case when a fish exchange looks to automate parts of its supply chain processes. Recently, the Portland Fish Exchange in Maine built an online fresh seafood auction system based on Progress technology. Progress Application Partner DC Systems helped implement a bar-code-based approach.
The new system can handle more than 8 million pounds of fish – Cod, Pollock, Flounder, and other – per day. As the fish come off the decks and into the auction they must be sorted and handled somewhat as in the past, but the new system eliminates traditional manual data entry and use of pen and paper on the piers.
“As the boats unloaded, it’s pretty much the same,” said Bert Jongerden, General Manager of the Portland Fish Exchange. “But now, when it comes to weighing, there are barcodes [applied] for species, lot, and vessel.”
For Progress, applications like this show how its advanced technology portfolio can work with its well established Progress ISV partners’ program. Under the covers of the fish exchange trading system is a JMS server, originally out of Progress’ Sonic operations.
“What typically happens is that a technology is created with the enterprise market in mind – large shops. That is the first step,” said Colleen Smith, director of partner marketing, Progress.
“Now something like a messaging system is seen as part of an inventory management system. After it’s been out there, in the Sonic case some four years, you see a huge market opportunity for small companies to take advantage,” she said, referring to the Sonic MQ JMS messaging capabilities embedded in the exchange.
The fish exchange system is used by employees working on the docks to enter inventory data, then buyers in an auction room or online can bid on the catch.
Fish exchange processes have very unique semantics.
As Bert Jongerden describes it: “A Pollack catch (e.g.,) will get culled into market sizes (large, medium and small). It moves to the back field where containers are stacked on pallets. One person stacks while another one tallies. After a lot is completed, it’s tagged on a tote or collection of totes.”
Many BPM experts emphasize that BPM includes human actors, not just computers. This application is just such an example. Here the actors also include our finny friends the fishes.