RFP Clarifications

Timeline update:

The deadlines for our RFP process have changed. The updated timeline is as follows:  

  • Clarifications issued: January 16, 2018; All Q&A will be shared with all respondents
  • RFP responses due: January 24, 2018
  • RFP response analysis: February 22, 2018
  • Shortlist notifications: February 22, 2018
  • NFC Clarifications and Interviews: March 5, 2018
  • Final notifications: March 15, 2018

Currency Clarification:

  • Dollar amounts shown in table are Belize dollars. (Second number is a loss).


Questions and answers

1) Copies of Document Templates: NCF is collecting a lot of data inside its facility and at landing. Could you provide copies of the various forms used to collect data. We’d prefer forms with data since it will provide a clear understanding of how data is currently collected and when. We’ll have a better understanding of your data collection if you provide us with your current paper forms which need to be digitized.

NFC is capturing data in the form of Fisher Receipts and also total weights by product on notebook paper. There are not standardized forms for most of their data.

2) Tech Goals:

a) Is NFC using any financial or ERP software currently? What are they using for accounting software?

NFC is not currently using any financial or ERP software. All their accounting is done manually/on paper.

b) Could you explain "access control" to configure KDEs in more detail? Do you foresee the need to constantly change the KDEs that are being captured? Or would you need to change the KDE’s periodically?

Access control in this context is primarily focused on the expansion of the tool to other fisheries, or Coops in Belize.  Access control could (as noted) also have to do with method changes such as new rules in the processing, or a new line of products that would require changes in method.  The current KDE list is fishery specific, so the ability to expand the access would potentially be an advantage with other fisheries.  It is not apparent that there are forecasted changes necessary.

If a respondent wishes to take the time to build additional KDEs into the tool, it would seem possible that enhancement could be turned on and off based on fishery need.  This option may not be necessary for NFC, but could be beneficial at a later date for another fishery.

3) Receiving: Totes are confirmed for listed weight as they are offloaded from boat or truck to the plant. How are the listed weights confirmed? Are the totes weighed again? If they are weighed again, there must be some shrinkage and does this shrinkage need to be taken into consideration?

Totes are weighed at offload and again before they are processed. The totes aren’t numbered, so they are tracking the total weight of all the totes for the delivery - mass balance in and mass balance out. There are slight fluctuations in weight at different points in the processing and weights are tracked throughout.

4) Landing: Does catch aggregation mean the mixing of catch from several vessels at the landing or does it mean putting totes from several vessels on a single truck? Are identifiers or labels currently placed on the totes?

Catch aggregation means both the mixing of catch from multiple vessels at landing, as well as putting totes from different vessels on a single truck. Currently, there are no identifiers placed on totes.

5) Harvesting: What is the "BFD log," first mentioned on page 10 of the RFP? Is this the Fisheries Catch Landings Data Collection (CLDC) Form? Is this a paper logbook filled out by the fishermen? Is it filled out each day or for each trip? Could we receive a copy of one of these.

The BFD log is a paper logbook that each fisher/vessel is required to keep to report to the Belize Fisheries Department (BFD). Not sure how often they record or how frequently BFD receives this information. This is independent to NFC’s reporting.

The Fisheries Catch Landings Data Collecting (CLDC) form is what NFC reports to BFD. This is reported bi-weekly: they send it to BFD and BFD also comes and verifies each invoice against NFC’s records. 

6) Buying at landing: On the Product Flow Overview and Charts pages, there is a reference to “fisher receipts”. Is this the BFD log or CLDC form? Are the fisher receipts templates provided by the government? Related to the question above, could you clarify the BFD log, CLDC and fisher receipts? We’d like copies of each if possible.

Fisher Receipts are neither the BFD log nor the CLDC form. See description above.

The Fisher Receipts are the most important form of data collection for the purposes of internal traceability, as they are the point where weights of each product type is captured for each fisher.

7) Processing: On page 11, the red triangle describes “catches blended, multiple species”. Does this mean catches from multiple vessels are mixed in totes or in the processing? Does multiple species mean that conches are in the same totes as lobster? Currently, it seems like product from different vessels is kept separate until the grading/sorting stage in the facility. Can you confirm this?

You could have mixing in the tote of lobster or conch, but the species are never mixed together. Product from different fishers are kept separate on the boats, and each fisher has an individual mark they use to identify their catch from each other (notches on the tail in the case of lobster, separately marked plastic bags in the case of conch), so their catch is identifiable to each other even after mixed. Product from different vessels are kept separate as well until landing, where they may get mixed in totes. Multiple vessels sometimes offload at the same time; however, the catch from each vessel and each fisher is inspected and weighed, and recorded separately, and product from different vessels is not mixed until it has been received and recorded and goes into processing.

8) Sort Catch: There is a yellow + sign with “KDEs Maintained” on the flow chart that says “opportunity to maintain traceability by fisher, by vessel, and harvest area, then to aggregate by common data after sorting.” Could you please explain this more? Given the number of vessels landing each day and the number of grades, it seems to me that you would not be able to maintain vessel-level traceability on your production lots because the lots would be too small? Do you think you could maintain vessel-level traceability on final product or do the 50 lb boxes have product mixed from a variety of vessels?

The plus signs were placed in the chart to note potential tracking back to the boat that would help NFC note specific performance by a member.  Current processes are done on paper throughout, and weight and quality performance are not easily monitored by vessel or member for bonuses, etc.  If the tool could provide this data to the Coop, there potentially exists an opportunity to reward members based on their contribution.  As noted in the question, due to the small loads, once aggregated the specific product could no longer be tracked.  Whether the Coop would track performance by shipment (bill of lading) or in aggregate, would be a decision that could be based on the capability of the tool and the Coop's desire to recognize member performance.

9) Traceable Unit: Currently, you are maintaining a daily traceable production lot. Would you want to change this to a vessel level lot? Even if you are doing a daily production lot, would you want to change this to serial lot coding so that each box of wholesale product would have a unique code on it? This would improve inventory tracking.

Would be interested in considering this, yes.

10) Labeling: The RFP refers to “product-data pairing” as a need; however, current labelling/tagging practices aren’t described and no specifications are listed in terms of the new labelling. Here are some questions: How are totes currently labelled at landing and do you want to improve on this? When the totes are received at the processing plant, are they relabelled? Is there any other labelling of product in the processing facility? For final product, for both conch and lobster appears to be “bagged” and then placed in 50 lb boxes. How do you currently label the bags and wholesale boxes? Would you want to uniquely code each box for the purposes of tracking inventory?

Currently, there is no labeling of totes at landing or once they enter processing; however, we would like to improve this. For the boxes, there is no stick-on label, only a printed box case which is labeled with the processing date only. For conch they are in 5 lb individual boxes and 50 lb master cases. For lobster tail they’re in 10 lb individual boxes and 40 lb master cases. We would like to uniquely code each box of product to track inventory.

11) Palletizing: Do you currently label pallets? Do pallets only consist of one product or are they mixed? Is the integrity of pallets ever changed, i.e. boxes removed or added to a pallet? When loading shipments, are you loading the product via pallets or are you breaking down the pallets to load them box by box?

Pallets are not labeled, but they do not mix different product types on a single pallet. They offload the boxes from the pallets for export. For lobster, each box is ordered by grade; conch is not graded.

12) Receiving Sites: From the description of the raw material flow, we understand there to be three remote receiving locations which feed product into the single processing facility. These three receiving sites have internet and electrical power available. Please confirm this to be correct understanding of the situation.

The Placencia facility has electricity but no internet; Caye Caulker has electricity and no internet. The Riversdate site is not currently producing or in use, but also only has electricity.

13) Product Categories: There are three categories of product received: lobster, conch, and fin fish. Please answer the following questions about the product categories.

a) Lobster

i) Please provide all forms of which lobster is received (Live, Whole Frozen, Tails fresh, Tails frozen, etc. Forms in which lobster is received: whole live, tails iced.

ii) Species name of all lobsters received. Panulirus argus

iii) Grade names assigned to each product received and processed. They are graded further along in processing, but not on receiving. Graded by size only. Tracking of weight by vessel is also an opportunity at this point.

iv) Size categories (including minimum size)? Market clean conchs must weigh 3 oz., while lobster tail must weigh 4.2 oz. There is a 1 pound minimum for whole lobster.

v) Do you want to electronically capture sizes with caliper, or at least verify larger than minimum size electronically recorded? Not necessary. They are currently measuring with calipers, but they aren’t recording the size and weight of every individual. Capturing this data could benefit our stock assessment efforts, as well as identifying where the stocks are the strongest and where we may be overfished.  This is a value add, that could be outside of the basic scope.

b) Conch

i) Please provide all forms of which conch is received (Live, Whole Frozen, meat fresh, meat frozen, etc. Market clean meat on ice.

ii) Do you wish to measure Conch Shell with electronic recording calipers? Shells are discarded at point of capture.  (This is a different practice than US waters, where shells are required to be retained with the meat).

c) Fin Fish

There is no processing of finfish at this time.

14) Fishing Operations: For fishing operations, there are single captain/fisher vessels and there are “mother ships” with multiple fishers and smaller vessels.

a) Does each fisher have their own license? Yes, and each fishermen is individually licensed and tracked by BFD.

b) Does a trip consist of a fishing day or dock to dock (what constitutes a fishing day)? A fishing trip consists of dock to dock and the number of days is recorded.

c) What information exactly would you like to capture about the fishing vessels/gear/bait/hooks/nets and mesh size used (ie, HP of engine, tonnage or vessel length, quantity of fuel/bait used, price paid for fuel/bait? The vessel information is the minimum that needs to be recorded. The rest is already being captured and stored externally to NFC.  Connecting to an ERP system down the road would potentially absorb some of this manual administration.

d) Do single vessel trips require additional permits and licenses other than fishing licenses for captain (if crew need license or permit, please provide examples) No.

e) Do vessels have manual or electronic logs to record hold temperatures? No.

f) Do vessels take temperatures of non live product received? No.

15) Tracking Catches:

a) Do you wish to track each fishers catch only to receivers station, then can be batched with other catch, OR to processing facility, then can be batched, OR through processing to final package? All the way through to packaging.

b) Do you wish to track each fishers catch while fisher is at sea via hand held device such as Android phone? No.

16) Smartphones:

a) Can fishers provide their own android smartphone? Yes, but we are not interested in using them to collect data.

b) For mother ships, would there be a desire to capture information on each fisher, by daily trip, electronically while at sea via handheld android phone. No. FDA probably requires ice logs from the vessel (need to confirm) for the HACCP program.  Having those on-board logs could have value.

c) Would mother ships have such device or would they need to be provided? No.

17) Multiple Vessels: For multiple vessels fishing from a mother ship, what information is needed to be captured? Does each smaller vessel have a number or license, and  do all the crew on a smaller vessel need to have an individual license? For vessels, just the sailboats and skiffs have licenses. All the fishers have individual licenses.

18) Receiving: How exactly is the catch received daily on the mother vessel (is it kept separate, do they weigh or count it each day, or just upon landing at the dock? Who does this recording and is it recorded multiple times by multiple people. Who are the recorders (mother ship captain, landing place personnel, processing facility, etc.)? Each fisher keeps own catch separate from others and is recording it (not multiple people). This is another aggregation point, where tracking fisher may require a change in behavior.

a) Does any grading or sorting take place at sea, if so what are the categories or grades product is separated into while at sea? No.

b) Does the mother vessel have other permits or licenses that need to be recorded with each trip (Coast Guard Inspection, DOT License, etc., Please provide examples)? No.

c) Do they record receiving temperature, manual or electronic? Yes, they document temperature for all incoming product and it’s manually recorded on their receiving data sheet.

19) Receiving Stations

a) Does receiving station provide containers for product or are product transported in container from vessel? Product is transported in container from vessel.  Providing totes and trackers could have value.

b) What data is collected at receiving station? Total weight of totes.

c) Does receiving station wish to record data electronically and share electronically with processing plant? Yes to both.

20) Transportation of Landed Product

a) Who records the vessel or vehicle transporting the product? The NFC Managing Committee (board).

b) Are there complex aggregations systems where multiple vessels or vehicles are used to transport product aggregated at different points or levels? No.

c) What information is available or necessary to capture?

i) Drivers Name No. The Management Committee either accompanies the driver or drives the truck themselves.

ii) Drivers Permit or license No

iii) Vessel or vehicle permit or license No

iv) Shipping Document or bill of lading (provide examples) No

v) Seal number for sealed holds No

vi) Refrigeration temperature recorded or logged (manual, electronically) If it’s required? If it’s a listed KDE.

vii) Sanitation inspection of transporting vessel or vehicle? No

21) Processing Facility

a) Does the processing facility record information about transporter of product from receiving stations? Yes, they know who the driver is for the trucks. If the driver changed, we may need more data here.

b) Does processing facility return reject product (poor quality, undersized, illegal, damaged) to the fisher or transporter? Rejected product goes back to the fisher prior to transport to the plant.

c) Does the processing facility mix product once received? Yes.

d) Does the processing facility submit reports on behalf of fishers (provide examples)? Just their report to BFD (the CLDC).

e) Does the processing facility front any supplies or money to fishers that must be accounted for prior to paying fishers? Yes, they advance them credit for ice and fuel, which then comes out of what they are paid for their catch.

f) Does processing facility wish to integrate traceability system with ERP system (electronic ERP system, what product is used)? Yes. They currently do not use any electronic ERP, but need to transition to one and it will need to be interoperable with the traceability system.

g) Does processing facility wish to have traceability system create receiving ticket for fisher or reconciliation of receiving and advances for fisher payment? Yes.

h) What type of reports or reporting would processor, landing stations or fishers like system to generate? Just the fisher receipts for now.

i) Does processor wish to have data about traceability available online to customers/end users? Yes.