Title Pond-to-Plate Analysis of the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Industry
Authers Terrill R. HANSON
Keywords aquaculture, catfish, LEAN manufacturing, yellow fillets, technology
Citation Bull. Fish. Res. Agen. No.35, 85-91, 2012
U.S. domestic production and sales of catfish have declined from 300.3 million kg of processed catfish in 2003 to 213.6 million kg in 2010, while during the same period imports of tilapia, basa, tra, and channel catfish have increased. Several factors contributed to the decline, including lower import fish prices, increasing domestic feed/fuel prices, inefficiencies in U.S. catfish production, and inconsistencies in domestically produced products. A proactive focus on industry improvement at all levels is needed. A Pond-to-Plate project was initiated in 2009, with the goals of improving the competitiveness of the US farm-raised catfish industry and evolving it into a modern livestock industry. Auburn University’s Fisheries Department has brought in LEAN trainers from the College of Business to assist in conducting Pond-to-Plate meetings in west Alabama. This project uses the LEAN manufacturing and continuous improvement concept and has been introduced at Pond-to-Plate meetings held in west Alabama. Each meeting includes participant representatives of the value chain; i.e., catfish producers, harvesters, transporters, processors, distributors and consumers. The LEAN enterprise produces more with existing resources by eliminating non-value-added activities. Manufacturers are facing increased worldwide competition and the stakes are high. The winners in this competition work to eliminate overproduction caused by traditional scheduling systems and to only make what customers want when they want it. Lean establishes a systematic approach to eliminate these wastes and create a flow throughout the whole company. It also helps companies develop and implement a long-term plan to streamline their operations for success. Training uses a hands-on approach involving a mixture of the company’s management and staff members. This approach was modified to address the fact that the U.S. catfish industry is not one company but is comprised of independent producers with few formal ties to processing plants. Catfish Pond-to-Plate meetings have used LEAN principles to address key issues of industry efficiency at each level of the value chain, increasing demand for catfish products, lack of product/value informational flow, final customer/consumer needs/desires, and non- or misaligned objectives, product quality needs, and incentives/rewards among value chain members to produce consistently high quality products. Meetings have resulted in articulated vision statements addressing the key issues identified and have focused on activities to reach the stated goals of increasing per capita consumption of U.S. farm-raised catfish.
URI http://www.fra.affrc.go.jp/bulletin/bull/bull35/35-10.pdf