Seacore Grows Business with VAI on IBM i
September 11, 2012 Alex Woodie
Seacore Seafood, a Canadian wholesale distributor and retailer of fresh and frozen seafood, attributes the recent improvement in sales and business operations to its implementation of VAI‘s IBM i-based ERP software, which replaced largely manual, error-prone processes.
Seacore Seafood started out 22 years ago with a small building, one truck, and half a dozen employees, who fulfilled wholesale orders for a variety of fresh and frozen fish and live lobsters. Since then, it has grown considerably, and now employees more than 100 workers and runs a dozen trucks out of its 75,000 square foot distribution center in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan, Ontario.
About five years ago, Seacore implemented S2K, the RPG-based application developed by Ronkonkoma, New York-based VAI. The new software gave Seacore a much-needed bump in automation in the areas of inventory management, accounting, route management, order entry, logistics, and retail point-of-sale, according to Seacore controller Massimo Prevedel.
“A lot of processes were done manually with paper [before implementing S2K]. It was a very tedious system,” Prevedel says in a video testimonial on the VAI website. “A lot of things weren’t updated on time so we never had an accurate view of what our inventory was. In order to grow, and be more efficient, we needed to make a change. We wanted something that incorporated our retail and wholesale and S2K was the greatest choice.”
Since the implementation, Seacore has realized real business benefits. For example, delivery times were reduced thanks to a 50 percent improvement in the time it took to generate truck routes and a 40 percent reduction in picking times, both of which can be attributed to S2K. Seacore also reports that 85 percent of its account receivables are current, which is a good number for the food industry.
Prior to S2K, Seacore had separate systems to track its wholesale and retail divisions (it operates a store out of its DC). This meant there was a lack of visibility into how retail sales were affecting inventory available to its wholesale customers. With S2K, all transactions hit the same DB2/400 database, which eliminates potential conflicts between divisions.
Putting more information into the hands of employees makes the business more efficient, says Sal Battaglia, Seacore director of operations. “When you’re processing over 200 business orders that are all just-in-time–90 percent of our orders are just-in-time within a 12-hour timeframe–having all the information at our fingertips to see what a customer specifically buys and wants, that’s one thing that S2K allows us to do a whole lot better and more efficiently and effectively,” he says in the video testimonial.
The technological improvements have translated into business improvements at Seacore, Battaglia says. “We’re forcing a lot more expansion in business operations,” he says. “We’ve been able to see that in recent sales in the last year and it’s is a direct result of the technology. [The S2K implementation is] allowing us to better maintain our customers and go out and get new customers as well.”