Seattle-based Trident Seafoods switched from an HP3000 to a combination of System i and System x boxes to make its slogan -- "From the Source to the Plate" -- more of a reality.
Seeking growth in 2004 and dealing with legacy systems from Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), Trident shopped around for servers that could deal with in-house applications and allow integration with other companies during mergers or acquisitions.
Also, in a time when careful eaters want to know exactly where their fish came from, and how it was caught or farmed, the company needed a more sure-fire way to perform inventory of the king crab, salmon and other fish their 30-plus vessels haul in almost year-round.
"We are vertically integrated," said Dan Palumbo, chief technology officer at Trident, explaining the source-to-plate concept. "We have our own factories; we have our own warehouses and distribution network. We manage the whole process."
"You have to have that trail," added John van Amerongen, a marketing communication specialist at Trident,.. "It helps you clarify the integrity of your product to all your customers. If there is a problem, we can trace it down, sometimes to the actual vessel that caught the fish. We can walk back through and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Palumbo said that with the HP3000, a lot of the company had home-written applications that weren't tightly integrated. Trident was looking for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software package to manage its inventory, allowing an easier way to track where and when the fish and seafood had been and was going.
Besides, the company was looking to grow its business through acquisitions and wanted programs that could transcend multiple shops. After sorting through the major options, such as Oracle and SAP, Trident decided to go with JD Edwards software on an iSeries platform.
Trident needed fault tolerance on its systems as well, so it uses a program called Mimix from Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Lakeview Technology Inc. to run its applications simultaneously on two iSeries boxes -- a newer 570 and an older 830 on a separate site.
Trident uses a software program called RFGen from El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based Datamax Software Group Inc. that allows it to scan bar code information into a database and integrate it with the ERP software. So as soon as the fish leaves the boat, its tracking number is in a database that officials can double-back if needed to retrieve the information.
"If you buy fish from us, it's not mystery fish from a broker someplace," van Amerongen said. "It's fish that we know where it had been swimming in the ocean. It's tagged, and we know where it is. We know how long it's been in the freezer, we know which product to move out first, and it helps us manage our inventory and make sure we don't make any mistakes with customers."