Thursday, July 28, 2022
Thursday, July 21, 2022
“I don’t have time.”
How often do you seek someone’s attention only to hear that phrase? How often do you use that phrase with others?
In the seafood industry, where staff layers have been cut back and where margins are razor-thin, it’s customary to be extremely busy. Some may even feel a sense of importance because they don’t have room in their schedules.
But are you keeping busy with the right things?
Recall the Eisenhower Matrix, which organizes work based on urgency and importance:
Are you too busy here…
…to have time for what’s here?
Wouldn’t it be nice to receive the gift of time? To free up your schedule to focus on more important things, and things you don’t get around to enough in your daily activities?
Negotiating seafood transactions is pretty important, and urgent, so this usually receives a lot of attention, rightly so.
But after the transaction is negotiated, what happens next? Hiding right behind the negotiation lies a host of necessary tasks which eat up valuable time. Think about all the different teams both inside and outside your company who need to be informed of the details of the transaction – logistics services, inspection services, operations, accounting, and more.
Dealboard believes you can gain back valuable time by rethinking how you connect the place where you negotiate transactions with the rest of your business. Any time you re-type something into another system or pick up the phone to recite information to someone else, you’re consuming your own time on tasks which, though urgent, aren’t the most important. To make matters worse, if you are anything less than absolutely perfect every time you do this, you might make a simple mistake and introduce an error which costs you and others even more valuable time to correct.
Give yourself and your team the gift of time by improving and automating your operations. Negotiate transactions using a platform which can automatically and flawlessly transmit the transaction details to the systems, departments and third parties who need to spring into action to fulfill it.
You deserve the gift of time.
Friday, July 8, 2022
Everything which used to be reliable and stable in seafood has changed… so what's next?
Professor Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University wrote an engaging book some decades ago titled How We Know What Isn’t So. It’s about our human propensity to form beliefs which were never true.
That’s a bit different from what’s happening in the seafood industry right now, where quite a bit used to be true, but isn’t so any longer. Nearly everything traditionally reliable about the seafood supply chain has now changed.
These aren’t misperceptions. Truths we used to rely on have been thrown overboard.
Case in point:
What Used To Be So…
…What We Now Know
Our labor force would turn over, but was generally stable and returned year after year
We face constant worker shortages in plants and in ports
China’s processing industry was an insatiable source of raw material demand
China’s Zero-COVID policies idle processing facilities, killing demand
Fuel and transportation costs would fluctuate but over the long term were fairly predictable and inflation was a non-issue
Fuel costs are almost 50% higher than a year ago, influencing transportation and other costs of doing business
Growing openness between nations increased economic interdependency
War drove international sanctions, closing the Russian market to outside seafood
Is there a war on the global seafood supply chain? Probably not. Does it feel like there’s a war on the global seafood supply chain? From inside the industry, facing this volatility and the invalidation of our prior means of operating, it can absolutely seem that way.
Seafood companies need to rethink processing. We need to seek new markets to replace the old ones which are now closed. We need new trading partners who are open for business. We care about the location of trading partners more than ever before because of port and transportation cost issues.
Essentially, seafood companies need a new way to do business. And given that change seems to be the one thing which is consistent, the new way of doing business needs to enable our businesses to become more nimble than they are today – the best thing we can do is prepare our businesses to withstand future volatility.
Are you ready?
Thursday, May 19, 2022
How many of you clicked that? How many of you knew not to click it?
The link above is harmless, but the next email you receive might not be. In the seafood industry we do a lot of fishing, but how much do we worry about phishing?
Phishing is the practice of sending emails which look real for the express purpose of stealing private information. Phishing emails might lure the recipient into providing things like account number or passwords, or they might trick the recipient into clicking on a file attachment which unleashes malicious code.
When your business revolves around communicating or responding to offers via email, your business is at risk for phishing. Think about it....
Do you feel like clicking on the file attachment in your next offer email? What if it launched a virus which stole all of your email contacts - your trading partners - and sent them to your competitor?
It pays to spot phishing. But here's the challenge -
This may not be a phishing email...
...and this may be a phishing email:
Can you spot the difference?
Neither can we.
The only path to phishless fish is to manage your seafood trading in a private, safe and secure platform... and not in your emails.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
How do you negotiate the terms of the deal?
(price, quantity, payment terms, delivery, and more)
Dealboard’s research indicates the overwhelming majority of the seafood industry relies on text messaging – Skype, iMessage, WhatsApp, WeChat and more.
Here is yet another example of technology under-serving the seafood industry, because these methods of communication introduce problematic situations for something as important as the terms of the deal for a large seafood transaction between two companies.
Problem 1: Did the Chicken or the Egg Come First?
Seafood deals require agreement on a lot of different terms and conditions, requiring exchange of many messages to arrive at an agreement.
Unfortunately, since messages cross each other, the sequence in which you see your messages may not be the same as the sequence seen by the recipient. This means you see the discussion differently.
Consider how confusing it is to rely on text messaging for something much simpler than negotiating a seafood transaction - such as arranging to meet my son for dinner later in the week. This simple task falls down under the constraints of text messaging. To understand why, read the text exchange pictured below:
What is it that we agreed to, exactly? I have no idea whether he likes the time, the first location, or the second location I proposed.
Text messaging leaves dangerously wide room for interpretation. Do you want your trading partners to misunderstand shipping information? Payment terms? Price or quantity?
Problem 2: The Single Thread
Text messaging is convenient, but it reduces communication between parties to a single thread. If you communicate with someone frequently, that's a long thread! It becomes tremendously difficult to scroll back in time to review what was agreed some time ago.
What happens when you're negotiating with one person about the mussels, but also the cod? It is nearly impossible to keep track of which text messages relate to which product offers.
Problem 3: Privacy, and Preserving Your Margin
How many times have you, or someone you know, accidentally replied on the wrong thread? When this happens in our personal lives it's embarrassing, but when it happens in professional life you are probably giving away critical information which could harm your negotiations and rob you of available margin.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were a better, cleaner way to negotiate seafood transactions that was just as easy as text messaging, but with none of the shortcomings associated with that generic technology?
That's where Dealboard comes in. Stop being under-served... learn more or sign up for a free trial at www.dealboard.biz.
Thursday, April 21, 2022
How do you discover who is interested in what you have to buy or sell?
According to Dealboard’s research, if you are like 90% of seafood producers, processors and wholesalers – by far the majority of the industry – you rely on email communications and some texting to figure this out. It’s clear that technology has under-served the seafood industry, and this is yet another example. Email is an incredibly un-productive way to conduct the business of seafood transactions, for a host of reasons:
Email requires manual effort and copy/paste to construct, which takes time and introduces errors
To use email effectively for seafood offers, Dealboard often finds companies maintaining product and pricing information in Excel spreadsheets. They use this to copy-and-paste information into an email offer. But how do you know that all your buyers or sellers are working from the latest information? And, for each offer, there are always specific details that are unique to the offer and need to be filled in manually. It’s a cumbersome process in which mistakes happen. With email, you might accidentally communicate the wrong thing.
Your message easily gets lost in the noise
Seafood buyers and sellers typically receive 150 to 200 emails a day. If what you’re offering isn’t what they’re looking for at that moment, will they remember you an hour, a day, or a week later? They might. But it’s more than likely that your message will get lost and they will respond to someone else who offered them a similar product more recently than you did.
Email is unstructured, which makes it nearly impossible to find all the right opportunities
One way to find earlier emails is to search for them. But, search is problematic because email is unstructured and subject to semantic differences and input errors. Consider the following two offers, for identical product. If you were looking through the last few days of recent emails (hundreds, maybe thousands) to find offers for sole, you would want to find both of these:
They’re identical, but described differently.
Various parts of the world refer to the same fish using different names, which is understandable (orange boxes).
Luckily, we have the scientific name to use as a common means to identify a species of fish, however in one of the cases above the scientific name is misspelled (purple boxes). As Dealboard works with seafood companies around the globe, we uncover scientific name misspellings very frequently.
Even standard codes such as FAO fishing areas can be referred to in different ways (green boxes). A human being can easily identify that both offers were caught in the same fishing area, but your generic email system wouldn’t.
If you were searching your inbox for recent offers for sole, none of the normal search terms you might use would show you both of these offers. You would miss one or the other, or both of these offers. That means missed opportunities for buyers and for sellers.
Moral of the story:
A rose by any other name might smell as sweet… but you would never be able to locate it in your email inbox.
It's time for a new way to discover who is interested in what you have to buy or sell, which gets around the limitations of email.