Welcome to the Red Maverick’s first post.
Today, let us invite you to meet Mr. Akino and his company: The Akino Fishing Company. They’ll be the subject of many of our articles, videos and projects, and knowing them will be valuable to help us make some decisions along the way.
Mr. Akino was born in December 1st, 1946, in a small fishermen’s village called Tomonoura. His father was a fisherman and took Mr. Akino to the sea from a very young age. He helped his father whenever he could.
In 1962, Mr. Akino got himself a boat and started to work as self-employed. After a few years his business was doing great, so he employed a few more people and got a ship. By then, the Akino Fishing Company was born.
From then on, Mr Akino bought some more ships, employed more people, and business grew to a point where he started buying smaller fishing companies.
The Akino Fishing Company is now the Japan’s largest fishing company, with offices in Tokyo, New York and Lisbon.
Mr. Akino is married and the father of 3: Akai, Sato and Okino. They run most of the company now, supervised by their father.
The company is spread across the globe, with their headquarters in Tokyo, their fishing offices and plants in Tomonoura, and sales offices in New York (their entry point into the US Market) and Lisbon (entry point to the European Market).
Akino Fishing Company Offices
The Akino Fishing Company operates in 4 core areas of the fishing industry:
- Fresh Fish – Typically supplied to high end restaurants and food companies. Must be delivered in very tight deadlines and top notch quality.
- Frozen Fish – The prime target is the retail industry. Mainly mass market products, with the occasional special fish.
- Preserved and Canned Fish – Specialty products for the retail industry. Has a line of higher end products, such as caviar.
- Leftovers – For the animal food industry. Takes advantage of the remains from the previous 3 areas, and unsalable fish.
The company is still very traditional, with most of the work being manual, although some IT Systems are used thoroughly throughout. Most of the documents in the company are still hard copy.
Although the Akino Fishing Company still is Japan’s largest fishing company, it’s losing ground to its competitors fast. Competition is able to negotiate faster, with more data, getting better prices and fulfilling orders much faster than Akino. And, as the fish market increases the pace, Akino Fishing Company is being left behind. Something is wrong, but it’s difficult to find out what. Some of their best customers are starting to source their fish somewhere else.
After meeting with his managers, Mr. Akino and his sons think the issues revolve around the delivery times, which then reflects in lower quality fish, but these may not be the only ones and they aren’t sure these are actually the most important ones.
In order to address the problems, a decision was made to invest in IT to try and get a better grip on the company’s processes. The idea would be to find out what’s wrong, through careful and comprehensive monitoring. Also, the increase in Business Process Automation should prevent problems cut on delivery times and reduce operational costs.
Because Akino Fishing Company already has some Oracle products and considering the top class features, they decided to go with Oracle Fusion Middleware, leveraging the “Red Stack”. They’ll use Oracle BPM Suite to model, automate and monitor their business processes. With Oracle BPM Suite, they also licence Oracle SOA Suite, best of breed SOA Integration platform. Akino Fishing Company now has the tools they need to address the Business Process Management initiative.
The BPM Initiative
Akino Fishing Company’s CIO, Okino-san, hired a consulting firm to help plan and implement an enterprise-wide BPM initiative, with which they hoped to identify and solve their problems.
We’ll tell you about it in the next post. Until then..