In recent years, technology has played an increasingly important role in almost every aspect of our lives.
The proliferation of technology has had a tremendous impact on the business world. Companies generate more data than ever before. In order to make sense of it all and ensure you’re accessing accurate information at the right time, that data needs to be managed in an efficient and orderly way.
This is why more and more companies are starting digital transformation initiatives that enable them to ensure they always have access to the real-time data they need to drive their businesses.
Several companies in Peru, for example—including Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A., the country’s third-highest producer of fishmeal—have already started the digital transformation process to increase productivity and efficiency.
Courtesy of Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A.
Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A. has 25 years of experience and more than 1,000 employees. The company is responsible for extracting hydrobiological resources, processing and marketing flour, fish oil, and frozen products of marine origin. It has a fleet of 23 fishing vessels, six fishmeal and fish oil plants, and two plants that produce frozen hydrobiological products.
Due to the size of the company and the scope of its operations, Pesquera Exalmar generates a ton of data every day. The data comes from various sources and, as such, doesn’t serve as a single source of truth. Some data might be duplicate, obsolete, or inaccurate.
Digital transformation commences
At the start of 2017, Pesquera Exalmar decided to leverage technology in a way that enables them to digitally manage all of their data.
Juan Vega, the company’s CIO, guided the digital transformation process. His main objective was to make the company's core processes—operations and fleet—more productive in order to reduce costs and maximize profits.
To accomplish this, he focused on two key areas:
Once that was completed, Vega and his team designed the solution architecture, paying close attention to how the tools would link data stored in various repositories, including spreadsheets, field instruments, other software solutions, and the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Due to the size of the project, it was broken out into stages. Finally, Vega and his team used Microsoft Power BI to manage the data and generate indicators quickly via visualization.
Once the digitalization of both the operations and fleet organizations was on track, the company decided to expand its initiative to also include its security and maintenance functions.
First, the team identified the processes that could be improved, like safety inspections and the supervision of maintenance projects. To accomplish this, Pesquera Exalmar needed a tool that would help them manage tasks performed in the field more effectively. After doing their due diligence, Vega and his team concluded that mobile apps were the answer to their problems.
Pesquera Exalmar ended up contacting SmartD to create two mobile applications on AppSheet’s no-code platform. Thanks to AppSheet’s flexible design, those apps would also be integrated into the previously created system.
AppSheet, SmartD's strategic partner, is a company that has customers all over the world. AppSheet has been used to build more than 438,000 custom applications for all types of companies.
SmartD is AppSheet’s representative in Peru and—with AppSheet’s no-code development platform—designs and implements applications that meet the needs of their clients in a quick and cost-effective manner.
Pesquera Exalmar operates under the OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, thus ensuring compliance with global occupational safety and health standards. This is why the company continuously generates reports on security inspections in its vessels and offices throughout the country.
Prior to AppSheet, generating these reports was a time-consuming, cumbersome task. Each worker involved in the process had to register security inspections and fill out a physical report with observations about the inspection and the corrective and preventative actions that needed to be taken. They’d also have to take pictures with their phones to document the work. Once that was done, the workers would go to their computers, transcribe what was written on their physical report, download the photos from their phones, and create a final report.
Altogether, this process took a lot of time that could be used on other important tasks, like planning, training activities, prevention measures, and more.
Thanks to AppSheet, the whole process is much smoother. Pesquera Exalmar now uses their SSO Exalmar mobile app to record security inspections with their phones, capture pictures in real time, and add signatures of all people involved. Once a supervisor flags the information as complete, the app automatically sends a PDF report with the push of a button. Users can also access critical information from their phones, such as the number of total inspections, the number of inspections by supervisor, the number of inspections by area, the number of inspections by type, and more. The app also sends alerts and notifications when inspections have been registered and completed.
Remotely supervising maintenance work
In order to ensure the quality of their operations and the proper functioning of their vessels, Pesquera Exalmar’s fleet receives continuous maintenance. Although maintenance jobs are outsourced, the company still needs to supervise these tasks and monitor progress on a continuous basis.
To do this, supervisors are responsible for detecting and recording the necessary maintenance work for the equipment, machines, and systems on the vessels. They also set deadlines so their team knows when projects need to be completed.
In the past, all of this work was done manually. Data entry on a computer, in particular, was extremely laborious.
Thanks to another new app called Supervisión Mantenimiento, managers can supervise maintenance work from their phones. The mobile app enables supervisors to assign jobs, set deadlines, take pictures, record progress, and more. After the process is complete, a PDF report can be generated with a single tap of a button.
What’s more, Supervisión Mantenimiento allows users to see the most crucial data—like total supervisors, supervisions by vessel, supervisions by supervisor, supervisions by state, supervisions by motive, and more. Users also receive notifications on their phones that remind them how many days are left before each deadline
Easy to use
Though the company knew that mobile apps had the power to transform their operations, Pesquera Exalmar was worried that their operators would have a hard time adapting to the new workflows AppSheet enabled.
That wasn’t the case.
Thanks to AppSheet, Pesquera Exalmar’s mobile apps featured an intuitive design that very clearly enabled employees to do their work in less time. It’s easy for users to navigate their way around the app. And if any employee had a hard time figuring it out, SmartD was there to provide interactive and didactic training. Users could also access the manuals we created if they needed extra help.
While the fear of change often causes employees to be wary of new technology, users learned to use the app quickly and had no problems with it.
How the data is used
Pesquera Exalmar’s staff manages their applications. They can access them from their phone, tablet, or desktop, depending on the user's preference. Generally, phones are used to record information in the field.
When there’s a lot of data to edit, the company suggests that its employees use a tablet or a desktop in order to view the data in a complete and detailed way.
It’s not always possible to have internet access. Generally, when workers are on ships, internet connections fail. At best, service is intermittent.
With AppSheet's mobile applications, users can make changes that are stored internally on a mobile device until a network connection is available and the data syncs with a cloud-based database, making the information accessible across the entire company.
This feature is very important for the company because it allows them to keep their data in a single database, making it easier to visualize their global indicators in real time and, by extension, make the right decisions.
Digital transformation in progress
Pesquera Exalmar continues with its digital transformation plan, looking for tools that allow them to manage all of their data in real time.
Moving forward, the company plans to continue using AppSheet’s mobile apps as they streamline data collection and reduce the time spent preparing reports.
Thanks to AppSheet, Pesquera Exalmar is able to manage all of its data from one central location, ensuring that their employees are able to track data in real time—accelerating their digital transformation journey.
Gwen is a marketer with AppSheet. Prior to AppSheet, she was a digital marketer, a journalist and editor, a translator, and a college teacher. She has a master with Duke University in Environmental Science and an MBA with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.