Fish Farming ERP Software
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Fish Farming ERP Software

Aquaculture presents unique enterprise resource planning (ERP) problems. While fish farms are financially beneficial to consumers, those engaged in fish farm management have some unusual challenges. The supply chain, stock management, and shipping processes can each involve live fish, which must have a controlled environment to survive.

Benefits of Aquaculture

While the human population has increased dramatically over the past decade, the amount of wild fish consumed by humans has increased only modestly. Most of the increasing demand for fish has been met by fish farms. They have experienced rapid growth, and that growth will likely continue for years to come.

Fish farm in scotland

Fortunately, fish farming is a scalable method of food production. It helps humans avoid over-fishing wild populations. By meeting the growing demand for fish, it also helps keep the cost of fish at an affordable level. There are also transportation benefits, because fish farms can provide healthy meat to populations that are not close to natural fishing grounds.

In 2010, Kevin Fitzsimmons of the University of Arizona told Bloomberg Magazine that in the future, we are no more going to get our seafood from the wild than we get our beef, nuts, [and] fruit from the wild. Fish farms will be a critical component of humanity?s future food production.

A well-run fish farm can be profitable, but it must overcome some difficult logistics issues.

Challenges of Aquaculture

Fish farms must react quickly to changes in the demand for their products. The supply of fish on the market can change drastically in a short period of time, especially for popular types of fish. To avoid losing money, aquaculture businesses must be able to plan their production levels with precision.

Environmental changes are another challenge. Disease, temperature fluctuations (for outdoor farms), changes in the water supply, and increases in the predator population can all affect a fish farm's profitability.

Fish products need tracking

Managing the Stock

Although fish farms vary in form, they all deal with the same stock management issues. Aquaculture companies have to manage growing fish in various stages of development, which are kept physically separate from each other. At certain times, they must be transferred from one stage to another.

Facility management, therefore, is quite important. Tanks, water pumps, filtration systems, and food delivery systems must all be kept in working condition. Failure to remove contaminants from water can quickly render an entire batch of fish unfit for consumption.

For certain types of aquatic livestock, the temperature and salinity of water can also be critically important. Supply chain issues are also complex. Aquaculture's inputs include fry (a living input), various forms of food, disinfectants, probiotics, and hormones. A missed shipment of fry can impose a major cost in the form of lost profits. Large enterprises use ERP software to manage these issues.

While the idea of farming fish might invoke images of a small pond with a farm, the reality is that most farmed fish come from operations managed by giant agribusiness corporations. These businesses must keep track of incredibly complex supply chains, and errors are costly.

Fish farm property

Shipping Aquaculture Products

In recent years, it has become possible to ship live fish long distances. Most fish today, though, are frozen for shipment. Often, a farm will raise fish, and then ship the live fish to a processing plant. The fish are then slaughtered and quickly frozen. Finally, they are packaged and shipped. The processing plant may or may not be owned by the fish farm.

Regardless of whether harvesting occurs onsite or at a processing plant, large aquaculture companies must manage fleets of delivery vehicles. Here, too, enterprise resource planning becomes critical. Existing software can manage the complexity of packaging, transportation, and delivery schedules. Timing is critical, because fresher fish are more valuable to consumers.

Conclusion

Aquaculture is an exciting, growing industry. The business of raising fish presents unique challenges and opportunities. It seems destined to be an important part of humanity's future food supply, but it also present logistics problems. At its root, though, fish farming is much like any other business. Managers need to engage in enterprise resource planning to coordinate the many processes involved in a successful fish farm.
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