Profiles - Orca Bay Seafoods

Orca Bay logoOrca Bay Seafoods, Inc. processes a full line of frozen seafood that is sold to food service, grocery stores, fish markets, and club stores throughout the United States. Two partners started this Washington-based business in 1985 and have since retired. In 1989, Orca Bay purchased a 4-user AddonSoftware Accounting and Distribution for lotted seafood inventory and work orders. 

“AddonSoftware has done a consistent job of satisfying our objectives," said Pam Vessey, Controller of Orca Bay. “When I run up against an obstacle, I throw our VAR a curve and they always figure it out.”

The problem

  1. The RF (radio frequency) warehouse management system was outdated and needed to be replaced.
  2. The FDA passed a law requiring heavier labeling requirements.

The solution

The latest large project undertaken at Orca Bay was the implementation of a new RF system. Troy Roy, Orca Bay Warehouse Manager, and AddonSoftware engineers, went to an RF software show and then they helped Troy with the basis for integrating the new system with AddonSoftware. The new Windows CE units are mounted on the company’s forklifts. They work in the freezer and each unit has a heater imbedded in the screen. The forklift units have all the same capabilities as Orca Bay’s desktop PCs.

“I’ve managed many warehouses including Associated Grocers and Seattle Cold Storage and none has a warehouse system that fits as well as ours,” explained Troy. “We have a stable environment and the system runs great. AddonSoftware has been a savior…and they usually answer the phone when I call!”

Orca Bay has 30,000 square feet of freezer space that holds 2.5 million pounds of fish. They ship 600,000 pounds a week and bring in the same amount. The number of SKUs has tripled in the last ten years and sales have more than doubled.

Reliance on AddonSoftware in this growing environment is extreme. The FDA now requires that packaging labels include the country of origin. AddonSoftware programmers wrote a program that assigns the country of origin to the product when Orca receives it and that information follows the product through the system until its sold.

“I know others were spending millions on COOL [country of origin labeling] and AddonSoftware did ours for a fraction of that cost,” said Pam.
“And it’s working excellently,” added Trish Haaker, Orca Bay Senior Vice President.

Orca Bay works on staying ahead of the competition. Trish explained that they are always looking for the “latest great thing” to give them the competitive edge.

Several years ago, Orca Bay shopped around for a new computer system. They found they could spend a half million dollars on an Oracle system which included implementation, but could not meet their Work Order system needs, especially with invoentory costing! Trish said that the other companies didn’t understand their Work Order system because in the fish industry, there is one item out of which many other items are made, all with varying values per pound.

Shopping for a new system was an eye-opening experience. “The money and time we would have lost by scrapping our existing system didn’t make sense because we wouldn’t have gained anything,” said Pam. And they would have lost the Work Order system that handles their business! 

Now, Orca Bay is looking forward to the new capabilities of AddonSoftware including viewing historical data and inventory in a multitude of ways. Transmiting invoices electronically will also save paper as their 60-user system currently prints over 900 3-4 page invoices a month. 

Pam summed up the relationship with AddonSoftware: “With over 20 years of history with AddonSoftware, we don’t have to explain things when we call for customizations and that makes it less painful! It’s nice to know that I can call and explain a problem and it’ll get solved. They have a wonderful capability of providing us with solutions that we might not have thought about.” 

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