WHO ARE SHETLAND SEAFOOD AUCTIONS?
Shetland Seafood Auctions Ltd (SSA) was formed in 1998 with the aim of maximising the value of white fish landings in Shetland to the fishermen. Significant growth and improvements to the supply and demand for white fish have been achieved in Shetland over the years, driven by the introduction of an electronic auction in 2001, which allows auction users to buy remotely.
THE SSA CHALLENGE
SSA was introduced to The Data Lab’s Highlands and Islands team in October 2021, who quickly recognised that SSA could benefit from working with TORCH and introducing digital solutions. By December 2021, they’d teamed with us for a short project, with the aim of recommending practical routes forward to increase operational efficiency and improve the use of data across the business.
At the time, their mix of commercial software platforms and reliance on manual processes left them prone to quality issues and security risks, resulting in continuous manual reconciliation work.
The initial focus of the project was to significantly improve the (currently very) manual back office processes, e.g. wages payment, client invoicing. SSA also wanted to establish and adopt proven good practises in the use of data and technology across all their activities.
By bringing together their different operational data sets and leveraging technologies, they would see significant efficiency improvements. Long-term, this should free up employee time and also open up other data-driven opportunities.
HOW DID THE DATA LAB HELP?
Initial discussions with TORCH and Highlands & Islands team identified that SSA’s available budget was constrained. The Data Lab were able to provide additional funding from the Data Drive HIE campaign to enable SSA to undertake a project with TORCH.
TORCH worked with SSA to understand and document their current landscape at a high-level. An assessment report was produced, setting out SSA’s current position and recommending various actions over the short, medium, and long-term. This was broken down for their team across the domains of people, process, data, and technology.
In parallel, TORCH assisted SSA in securing a Digital Boost grant to part fund any follow-on work.
Now, with a firm understanding of their goals and strategy, SSA were able to present the assessment report to their board and gain approval to fund the recommended follow-on work.
“I was able to present a quality report that TORCH had produced around the work that had been done. It was extremely helpful at board level; not too detailed, but it wasn’t too brief either. In any board of Directors, there’s a different complement of skills around the table, so it was really important that this was put in a language that they understood. This process made it much easier to get the authorisation and approval we were looking for.” – Martin Leyland, Auction Manager at SSA
WHAT IMPACT HAS THE PROJECT MADE?
Introductions to suitable partners were discussed during the engagement, and TORCH worked with SSA to identify and engage Shetland-based organisations who could help undertake the short and medium-term recommended actions.
“TORCH discussed the work with potential suppliers for us, and this was really helpful when it came to deciding who to go out to tender with.”
They told us, “We’ve already made some of the changes outlined in the report, and that’s already addressed a lot of previous operational frustrations. One of the changes to our system has been a real time-saver which, in turn, has reduced team frustrations and we’re noticing a lot less errors.”
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