How much is the fish?
How much is the fish? About 17 000 Dollars per ton in 2023. That’s for the high-quality fish. The global market size for fresh fish was USD 228 Billion in 2021. A ton of fish for 17k may sound like a lot. The thing is, it’s pretty much the same money for every producer out there. Operational efficiency is essential for companies to be competitive. Everything counts.
Waste is a massive challenge in food production
Waste is a massive challenge for any company involved with food production. It’s about the money, but not only about the money. About 40% of the food never gets eaten. In this case, the fish will go to waste for nothing if it doesn’t even get to the stores. What a waste of resources. One large processing company – let’s call it the Fish Factory – has estimated a production loss of up to 1.2 million USD per year. The Fish Factory owns over 25 000 containers and more than 20 industrial freezers. It’s no wonder the fish containers get misplaced. 1.2 million Dollars’ worth of fish is a huge amount. All this due to human errors causing spoilage when containers remain outside freezers for too long when moving them in and out.
Then there’s labor. Not the general work that’s needed to get the job done. It’s the extra labor caused by inaccuracies in inventory or containers getting lost in the wrong freezers. And these freezers are the big ones, where you could get lost. All these create costs for locating containers and resolving discrepancies. The same company, who estimated they lose over a million per year, also noted they use more than 300 000 Dollars per year as extra money for labor. It all adds up. As if the 1.2 million a year wouldn’t be a hefty sum on its own.
For tracking at this level, what would be needed? A reliable way of keeping track of containers moving in and out of the freezers. Moving containers might create challenges as they could go undetected, resulting in miscounts. Visibility too plays a big role: A real-time location of containers across the site, not just at specific points of their move. It wouldn’t be enough to track the whereabouts of each container. It would be necessary to track the conditions the containers are in. The Fish Factory turned to RedLore for help.
How to tackle the challenges
Moving containers around with a wired solution would be impractical, if not impossible. Leaving battery-powered devices as the only active tracking solution. An easy-to-install solution always helps as it reduces downtime in operations.
Each container is fitted with a tracking tag. This serves two main purposes: it monitors the position of the container and the temperature of each of them. In addition to the temperature and location tracking, the trackers may contain product-specific data such as the date of catch, quality, and sell-by date.
In addition to the container tracking tags, the whole site gets anchors across the production facility. These anchors are positioned every 12m, including the freezers. Based on these stable anchors, the software calculates the location of each container. This happens with the help of the positioning engine, and the network itself runs on Wirepas Mesh 2.4 GHz. The positioning engine calculates the positions of each tracker. The trackers themselves also monitor the temperature level of each container. If the temperature drops, a warning will allow time for corrective actions to save the full fish container before anything goes bad.
After all trackers and anchors have been placed, the site plan is uploaded to RedLore’s dashboard. Next, the facility is mapped for every freezer to provide accurate inventory on freezer levels. Then a few cellular gateways are provided so the data can be moved to a cloud-based analytics platform. From there, the data flows to The Fish Factory’s own IT platform.
Despite the huge number of tracking tags and some wi-fi gateways, this is all a standalone solution. It does not need a connection to The Fish Factory’s IT infrastructure, nor does it interfere with it. Even better, new tracking tags can be added without a hassle. Just add a new tracking tag to a container, and that’s it.
And here are the nice results
The Fish Factory has a full real-time container inventory in place. They know precisely where each container is and at what temperature it is. The solution solves all the spoilage and inventory tracking labor problems they have been experiencing.
The solution is expected to pay itself back in less than 1 year from implementation. Saving annually 1.1 million Dollars per year after the first year.
That’s some very very good IoT.
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RedLore provides wire-free and high-accuracy on-site asset tracking (RTLS). It provides full coverage for any facility without expensive scanning tunnels or readers. The solution automates processes, saving costs while being resilient to human error.