10 Apr 2017
Indah Rufiati

Have you ever entered a fish processing plant? If so, did you pay attention to the person at each station who records typical production information? Do you know their job title?

A person who writes down and records particular production information in a fish processing plant (maybe in other type of processing plant also) is often called a “Tally”. In other words, the tally has responsibility to keep the internal traceability running smoothly in order to provide good quality production data. Therefore, the role of a tally is crucial for the business sustainability of a company. While production data is used to measure the profitability of the business, traceability is a tool to help to ensure food safety of the product and more recently, used for sustainability initiatives, such as combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.

Conventional paper based tally. Photo credit: MDPI

In most fish processing companies, especially small and medium companies, records are usually undertaken manually. The tally person writes down the information on paper which is afterwards inputted into computer by another administration staff to create a report i.e. monthly production or production yield. In addition, the tally is also responsible to mark traceability or production code on the product packaging. This analog method is vulnerable of multiple problems such as human error in data recording, data aggregation, and data encryption, no real-time analytics and time consuming.

Pursuant to the aforementioned circumstances, a collaborative work funded by Netherland Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) initiated the development of traceability based technologies (TBT) for small-scale fisheries supply chains. The consortium consisted of Wageningen University, Dalhousie University, Institut Pertanian Bogor, Anova, PT. Harta Samudra and MDPI, and hired Ecotrust, an organization from Canada as the system developer. This one year project was named ‘Technology Innovation towards Sustainability of Tuna Fisheries in Indonesia’. Along with Tally-O, the project piloted a tracking device called Spot Trace on fishing vessels, an electronic data collection app named Dock used for portside monitoring and the Ourfish app for suppliers/middlemen.

The Tally-O system is comprised of software and hardware which digitize tally activities connect through a local area network. The software is a web application which can be operated in Google Chrome on Android or Windows O so that no prior and special installation on the device is needed. In terms of the hardware it is comprised of a local server, router, raspberry pi, digital weighing scale, label printer, scanner and tablet or laptop. The system enables users to digitally set up raw material lots and product specification, input production data, print packaging label, scan label and produce raw production report in CSV format.

Illustration of Tally-O system in PT.Harta Samudra

Installed in three processing plants in one supply chain line, the project was carried out in a series of development.  Scoping initially occurred in September 2015 to assess the needs and field condition of each processor partners. Afterwards, in February 2016, the system was installed in PT. Harta Samudra by MDPI staff, remotely assisted by Ecotrust from Canada. Along with the improvement, the system was also setup in two other processing plants, CV.SLI (Buru – Maluku) and Amanda Food (Dong Nai – Vietnam), in March and May 2016. Until the end of 2016, Tally-o has recorded 51 production lots, equating to ~1,000 tons of tuna in Vietnam and 2,940 production lots, equating almost 500 tons in Maluku.

User scanning tuna loin in packing stage using Tally-O. Photo credit: MDPI

Even though the project is officially over, there is still the opportunity for development. The app is open source and available from GitHub, so that any processor can use and develop their own version based on the characteristic of their processing. We know that the dream to create a credible, affordable and reliable internal traceability system for small and medium size tuna processing plants is not yet fully realized but we will continue to work and develop from the strong basis we have built and from the many lessons learned we have gained. However, we feel this has been an important step in creating impact and change, especially for fish processors in Indonesia. We welcome any collaboration with stakeholders sharing the same vision, to make fish more sustainable and traceable.

Writer: Lalu Hizbulloh


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