A small fishing boat leaves Greenland’s west coast to catch wild Greenlandic halibut in the North Atlantic. The small dinghy sails in between icebergs to reach the rich fishing grounds in Disko Bay. What could be an epic picture of human endeavor exposed to primeval nature is the daily routine for more than 2,000 fishermen and women who deliver their catch to Royal Greenland, one of the largest fishing companies globally. These individuals don’t have much time to enjoy the Nordic environment; fishing in the bitter cold and under harsh arctic winds is backbreaking work.

Royal Greenland is one of the world’s leading groups in the seafood market and a long-standing partner of Greenland’s fishing community. The government-owned company employs more than 2,500 people, has a fleet of deep-sea and coastal trawlers, and operates 37 fish processing plants and ship bases around the world’s largest island. It runs around 50 production facilities in Greenland, Canada, and Germany, conducting sales activities on all continents. Royal Greenland is committed to bringing wild-caught, high-quality seafood from the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean to consumers. As a member of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Royal Greenland has a strong focus on driving sustainable practices for fisheries.

Royal Greenland uses SAP Business Technology Platform to Strengthen Relationships with Fishermen

Video by Angela Klose

Starting Point: High Sustainability Standards, Paper Forms, and Manual Effort

Deeply rooted in its Nordic island, Royal Greenland knows the importance of offering sustainably sourced seafood so consumers can be sure they are not supporting excessive or illegal fishing that threatens fragile marine ecosystems. What’s more, the company is committed to making it as simple as possible for fishermen to sell their catch for the best possible price. Earning Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainable fishing is critical to both of these ambitions, but to get it requires extensive documentation that wild-capture fish were caught following strict sustainability guidelines.

To document and duly report on all fishery supply chain processes requires an ongoing dialogue with local suppliers and individual fishermen. At the same time, the company has to ensure that all fishing activities are registered and carried out in full compliance and communicated to the appropriate authorities. Only a few years ago, the company had about 70,000 purchase orders filled out on paper and signed by fishermen in frosty weather – only to be digitalized later manually.

So, Royal Greenland aimed to holistically digitalize the process of bringing fish into factories and tie this together with a full quality control and registration process.

Joint Digital Journey Strengthens Partnerships with Local Fishermen

For this complex digitalization endeavor, Royal Greenland worked with SAP AppHaus Network member Trifork Smart Enterprise A/S. Together, they created user-friendly iOS-based apps on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) to help simplify the company’s supplier relationship with local fishermen, streamline the procurement process, and contribute to global sustainability goals. These apps enable fishermen to submit their catch data in a fast and simple way.

“We try to digitize the process of bringing the fish into the factories and tie this together with the entire quality control and registration process,” said Lars Bo Hassinggaard, corporate IT manager, Royal Greenland A/S. “We have developed apps for all these scenarios, and we use this platform strategically to build a close partnership with the local catchers.”

Holistic Solution from Three iOS-Based Apps and SAP BTP

Even for people with limited smartphone experience, the intuitive solution requires no onboarding. It enables local fishermen to register their catches and secure documentation, which can then also be used by municipalities to secure transparent and sustainable fishery. Empowered through mobile devices with seamless access to SAP data and processes, 2,200 fishermen now have access to the technology and can register relevant data on the go. The more than 70,000 purchase orders per year could be converted to digital documentation. Today, three iOS-based apps help the fishing community and Royal Greenland staff alike:

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  1. Intuitive native iPhone app for the fishing community: This app allows the fishing community to enter catch information in a simple way and digitally submit legally required signatures right from the dock. It also validates relevant licenses for specific species when reporting data from catch fields.
  2. iPad app for the landing staff: To support the continuous flow of data between fishermen and Royal Greenland, a second iOS-based native iPad app lets landing staff register information on catch texture, quality, temperature, and weight, which is automatically delivered to back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
  3. Web-based app for the procurement staff: Back-office procurement staff have a Web-based app in which they can approve the procurements based on data from the first two apps. With this information, they create purchase orders, which are automatically shared with the relevant fishermen.

Continuing the Innovation Journey

The enterprise continues to explore new ways to support local fishermen and their families while growing the business. Tools could also be added to help give fishermen and women a total view of their finances, help them set budgets, and build up savings. Royal Greenland is also looking to establish an information portal for fishermen to connect with the company as well as an e-commerce platform for buying and selling fishing equipment. In any case, the openness and extensibility of SAP Business Technology Platform can offer many opportunities for further growth.

At the end of the day, prosperity for fishermen means prosperity for Royal Greenland. “Royal Greenland’s success is based on supporting people, planet, and profit”, said Hassinggaard. “These groundbreaking apps are strengthening supplier loyalty, optimizing internal processes, and helping boost fishermen income as well as our bottom line.”

To find out more about how Royal Greenland is using mobile technology and SAP Business Technology Platform, check out this business transformation study.