Success in a Greenshell
Whakatōhea is an indigenous New Zealand iwi (confederation of Māori tribes) centred around the small coastal town of Ōpōtiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand.
Over 20 years ago, Whakatōhea created the aspiration to develop a Greenshell™ Mussel aquaculture farm off the coastline of Ōpōtiki. The vision was that the farming operation would support the development of a mussel processing factory in Opotiki and be the foundation of employment for their people, provide income for whanau (family), and support improved outcomes for the entire community.
Creating the world's first Open Ocean Greenshell™ Mussel Farm of such magnitude was no easy feat. The consent process took over 10 years of legislative change and resource consent approval, followed by a further 5 years of research and feasibility trials. When the venture needed capital to reach commercialization, the community came together – with both local Māori and Pakeha, businesses, families, and local trusts investing to enable the farming operation to further expand.
Today - with iwi support, national government contribution, and significant shareholder investment – the dream for Te Whakatōhea iwi and the local community is no longer just a dream; it is a living reality.
Te Whakatōhea Mussel Farm currently lies just over 8.5 km off the coastline of Ōpōtiki. The farm expands across over 3800 hectares of nutrient-rich, clear, and open ocean water space.
Mussels are harvested daily from the farm and delivered directly to the Ōpōtiki Processing Facility. From there, mussels are immediately processed and freighted all over the world under the brand name Open Ocean.
Upon completion of the factory, the team at Whakatōhea Mussels realised that to provide a world-class product with traceability back to the farm, and even to the area of the farm where the mussels were harvested, no ordinary software package would do the job. After a worldwide search for a solution, Whakatōhea Mussels contacted Emydex. Emydex already had a fully functioning manufacturing execution system (MES) providing complete traceability in many seafood processing sites around the world.
Given the new processing facility was due to start processing in a few weeks, speed was of the essence. Within weeks the system was in place and ready to use. Being deployed in the Cloud meant no additional IT infrastructure was required at the plant with the existing touch screen terminals and scales easily integrated into the Emydex solution. Android-based barcode scanners connect seamlessly via the Internet to the Warehouse Management System's database allowing for the issuing and dispatching of stock from the plant.
Mussels are bought into the plant in large hessian bags of up to a tonne where they are weighed and labelled which is recorded in the system with the harvest information resulting in a clear view of the quantity and origin of raw materials on the plant. From here the mussels are issued to a production grading ‘job’ where they are scanned using a traceability barcode into the job linking to the original harvest number thereby providing traceability back to the farm.
From here the mussels are recorded out of grading as a work-in-progress product again using a traceability barcode to track the mussels through the process. Finally, they are issued to the packing process where they are recorded and labelled for shipment whilst still retaining the traceability from the farm to the finished items. The traceability is retained throughout the process by simply scanning the traceability barcode at each stage of the process.
Scott Fitzgerald, ICT Manager for Whakatōhea Mussels said of the implementation
‘The team at Emydex have done a great job, the documentation that was pulled together so quickly because our business needed a quick implementation was good, it is well-detailed and easy to follow. Emydex provided training for the admins and super users, all of which has been useful.’
When asked after the go-live how he viewed the implementation Scott commented,
‘Very successful, being a greenfield site, we have been finding our way through the processes, not only with Emydex but as a business moving forward. Sometimes we knew what we wanted, other times we needed Emydex to be patient with us and help us to discover what we can and cannot do with the system. Emydex was great in helping us do this. Moving from the manual system to Emydex has already increased our productivity and will continue to do so.’
And finally, how was the process overall?
"In one word, great. Emydex has been easy to deal with and helped us to give our business the commercial push it needed regarding a production system.*"
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