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How New Digital Roadmaps Are Improving Sustainability in Chilean Aquaculture

June 23, 2022

Salmon like it cold. Which explains why the mild-flavored fish teem in the pristine fjords of southern Chile, which began reaping the fruits of its chilly seas in 1979. Today, the country is the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of farmed salmon. But to maintain its position as supplier of choice to the world’s environmentally-conscious consumers, Chile’s aquaculture industry is turning to consulting on digital maturity.

That transition can be seen in the picturesque port city of Puerto Montt, home to Ventisqueros, a major salmon farm operation that employs around 1,200 people and produces about 50,000 tons of fish per year. The company, which produces sustainable fish for consumers throughout the Americas and sashimi-grade fillets for Asian markets, recently chose Kyndryl to support the re-design and modernization of its entire value chain.

“Our objective is to help customers, connect their strategic objectives with existing technology and build a roadmap,” says Giorgio Perucca, a Chile-based consultant for Kyndryl who specializes in Industry 4.0, the practice of applying smart automation technologies to industrial strategies and business processes to drive greater efficiency and value. “We’ll be helping [Ventisqueros] with the use of new technology and data to reach their business objectives, reviewing the entire operation of the company including those non-technical aspects.”

Salmon farming is the largest part of Chile’s burgeoning aquaculture and fisheries industry, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the $11.5 billion generated by the sector in 2018. Chile supplies almost one-third of the world’s farmed salmon, up from about 10 percent in the 1990s, and Chile’s salmon farmers are positioning themselves carefully for the future by focusing on sustainability.

Enterprises around the world are modernizing their tech infrastructure to operate more efficiently and securely in an increasingly digital economy, and the aquaculture industry is no exception. To that end, Ventisqueros was especially curious about using blockchain-based platforms to manage critical data about their value chains. Doing so would enable them to share appropriate data securely with other stakeholders — including companies in their supply chains — to enhance food traceability, safety and sustainability.

Perucca spent several weeks at Ventisqueros’s farms in Chilean Patagonia, where he learned firsthand about every aspect of the company’s value chain, from the purchase of eggs to the rearing and the processing of salmon.

“During the consulting we discovered that Ventisqueros could update its technology to improve the customer experience and sales. We also identified several improvements that would support productivity and improve relationships with local communities. We also developed a roadmap that will allow a clearer understanding of Ventisqueros’ short, medium and long term strategies to address evolving business trends.” says Perucca. 

Ventisqueros already gathers an immense amount of data about its salmon, including their growth rates, flesh color, and the quantity of antibiotics they ingest. Kyndryl helped them figure out how to analyze and make use of that data.

“We said to them, ‘Look, you already have the technology and the data, how can we work together to get the main value out of it?” says Perucca. “The challenge wasn’t the technology, but relating the technology to business needs to build a holistic roadmap that was aligned with current and future strategic objectives. Our consultancy work included areas such as quality management, innovation, communication, human resources, among others. As a result, Ventisqueros was given a clear roadmap for the next three years.”

Our Advisory and Implementation Services experts helped to offer improvement points in their supply chains for greater flexibility, along with oversight of critical production elements, such as salmon production and fattening, to meet ever-increasing demand of consumers.

“Ventisqueros’ mission is to continue being an outstanding boutique salmon producer,” says CEO José Luis Vial. “With the support of the Kyndryl consulting team, we made and developed an exhaustive diagnosis for the company’s digital maturity that will allow us to continue offering products and improve our production chain to meet and increase our sustainability standards.”