Alaskan Fishery Catches Success with Microsoft Dynamics GP

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Not for the first time, I was standing in front of a new customer and I had no idea what I was in for.

In fairness, they just kept saying “fishing boats” while we talked about their processes.

One of our Dynamics GP customers is an Alaskan fishery.  As I learned over the next several hours, these “fishing boats” aren’t like what you’re picturing in your head right now.  There’s no swarthy captain wearing a yellow rubber rain hat and smoking a pipe while his crew tosses the nets over the side singing shanties.  They don’t pull into harbor every afternoon and wheelbarrow their fresh catch to the nearest market square.

I had been brought in to help the users implement Analytical Accounting (AA) so that they “could better track some of the boats’ costs”.  Since I assumed the boats were pretty simple, AA made sense to me.


That’s not a boat, that’s a factory!

However, each boat has its own manufacturing facility with multiple processing lines. The largest boat has five lines and smaller boats generally have two lines.  They are pulling fish out of the ocean and putting them through the lines to be processed, packaged, and flash frozen.  From that processing they get a block of frozen fish filets, fish meal, fish oil, and something called surimi which is like a fish paste.  If they’re lucky, they can even get fish roe out of the process.  Each product produced also produces raw materials for the next product.  Everything coming off of the line at the end of the day is being tracked and warehoused.  There are a lot of lines that the same box of fish could be made on, so it is a fairly advanced routing process requiring just as much planning as any other manufacturing facility I’ve worked with.


Armed with the right information, here's what we did.

This company has an existing manufacturing solution running on the boats, and it has been highly effective.  Although we were originally brought in to implement AA for them, we ended up integrating the boats’ manufacturing system with Dynamics GP Assembly BOMs so that we could easily get a Bill of Materials (BOM) into Dynamics GP and start capturing their costs in their financial system.  In the future they could decide to use Microsoft Dynamics GP Manufacturing (with the Extended Pack) to run their entire process, but for now this seemed the simplest most elegant solution to their problem.


When you have the right solution, good things happen.

Now they are consuming all of their packaging materials, and actually tracking the cost of the fish as it is produced.  In the past they had to do all their cost estimating at the end of the season, now it is being estimated as they go, which helps them to be more efficient and responsive.  At the end of the season, they can focus on variance analysis instead of data entry and validation.

Now they have a much more real-time view of all their stock and their costs so they can flow it through and sell it.  We are tracking lot numbers on the finished product and now have a complete history for every box of fish.  If it was ever needed, they now have the ability to quickly track products for a recall (like many companies, this was previously – effectively – tracked in Excel via manual processes).

Now that this fishery is using Microsoft Dynamics GP for inventory management they are better able to:


-          Capture costs

-          Track inventory by warehouse, including several 3PL locations

-          Do cost estimating in real time

-          Be ready for recall incidents


If you are a manufacturing company (or boat) that is looking for benefits like these, Microsoft Dynamics GP from Briware could be the right fit for you.  Contact us at 844-BRIWARE or


By Briware Solutions,


Follow me on Twitter: @Briware_Rod

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