Seafood CRC research (2009/727) has shown that there is significant potential for increased product storage life through supply chain management improvements. In one major supply chain (MG Kailis) it has been demonstrated that savings of $150,000pa ongoing can be achieved through implementation of relatively simple improvements. In that study, the QI method was introduced to the company and the QI manual is now used at various points in their supply chain to assist supply chain monitoring. However, to date there has been very little broader uptake of QI schemes within the Australian Industry, despite efforts (including commissioning SeaNet, FRDC 2010-305) to commercialise and raise awareness of the benefits of using QI.
With proposed investment by the Sydney Fish Market, De Costi Seafoods and MG Kailis for improving their supply management processes to achieve increased product storage life, the timing is now right to work with these companies to introduce the QI method and assess how to better meet their operational needs. This will be most effective where the QI tool is in a readily-useable format. A criticism of the current hardcopy manual format is that they are cumbersome and difficult to use in the varied supply chain environments. However, the manuals are still highly valuable as a QA management document and it is intended to maintain these in the short to medium term.
The Seafood CRC has the opportunity to build on the prototype ‘app’ platform developed by the Sydney Fish Market and create a more useful QI tool format for the entire Australian seafood industry. Working initially with three supply chains will generate traction within the wider industry with the goal of mirroring the outcome of European success of widespread adoption of QI methods within their supply chains.
This project has raised awareness within targeted seafood supply chains of QI methodology and the advantages of use within quality assurance systems.
Initial focus centred on updating the existing Australian Quality Index Manual with all schemes developed for Australian fish species. Over two hundred hardcopy QI Manuals have been distributed to appropriate seafood businesses. The QI Manual provides a comprehensive resource for information on the QI technique, how to use it for quality assurance assessment and includes QI scoring templates, along with visual depiction of ice day storage correlated to QI score attained. Industry comment on the usefulness of the QI Manual recognised the value of a QA system formalised with background science, along with the benefit for audit purposes and the benefit of common language between industry participants.
The project’s main goal was to provide QI method in a format that was most readily applicable in any environment at any point along the supply chain. To achieve this, an Australian Seafood Quality Index App (ASQI App) was created suitable for use on multiple devices.