One of the biggest struggles in cross-border online seafood trade is accountability through the supply chain. It’s an industry issue that pre-dates the online era. With seafood’s perishable nature, there’s no certainty that goods will get from A to B in the same condition as when they came out of the ocean, despite a direct path from supplier to buyer on Gfresh. So a key question that’s consistently asked of us is, ‘how do you manage accountability and claims when trading such delicate and perishable products across the globe?’
Trading the world’s premium seafood both needs and deserves meticulous and reliable quality assurance and claims processes. So as a key part of what Gfresh offers to encourage global commerce and bring accountability to every step in the supply chain, we have professional teams on the ground dedicated to inspecting and filming goods on arrival, reporting quality and managing claims on every single order.
It isn’t a simple task, but recognising the difficulties suppliers face with distributing internationally, we stand to give the industry the service it needs. Heading up the initiative is one of the most passionate and hard-working seafood logistics professionals under the sun- Gfresh Claims Manager, Grace Yu.
It took a while to convince Grace to take a break from work and talk about what she does (she has her priorities right!). But here’s her insight into Gfresh Quality Inspections and Claims, and why she’s so passionate about delivering this service to the industry we’re all a part of.
Gfresh’s slogan, ‘making global trade easier’, really hit a note with me the first time I heard it. Before joining Gfresh, I was an operations manager at a fresh produce wholesaler and I’ve always been enthusiastic about being involved with the fresh industry. I also graduated from University, having majored in logistics and supply chains, and since then I’ve made it a personal ambition to find solutions to reducing logistics lead times and developing highly efficient supply chains for global traders. So I joined Gfresh knowing that this was a place where I could achieve these goals.
I’m Gfresh’s Claims Manager, to set up the claims process and handle daily claims and reporting accountability in the supply chain for global suppliers.
Buyers through Gfresh purchase tons of seafood from around the world and we provide professional customs clearance, inspection and delivery services to both buyers and suppliers every day. Because of the goods’ perishable nature, it’s difficult to avoid mortality and shrinkage during international transportation. Gfresh stands to protect the interests of suppliers and buyers equally - which is where I come in. My everyday job is checking the videos which our inspectors record during the inspection of every Gfresh order. Those videos tell the full story when a box is opened and checked.
When it comes to performing inspections of products, we adhere to strict standards. Each video is checked following Gfresh’s guidelines. For instance, each video begins with a closed box, capturing the packer’s label and continuous filming as the box is opened for the first time, temperature monitor is retrieved (if applicable), net weight taken, product unpacked and product inspected. Also, if dead product is discovered during the inspection, the animal must be flipped upside down (belly facing up) and scanned over slowly with the video camera. We make sure each video captures every necessary detail and if there are any parts of the procedures missing from a video, it’s considered an unqualified video.
Inspection reports are created and checked according to very thorough inspection criteria. For instance, if an order is 5 or less boxes then the whole order needs to be inspected; if it’s more than 5 boxes, then 20% of the order needs to be inspected. And then if mortality rates for any single order exceed the acceptable default rate then two Gfresh inspectors are required to sign off on the inspection and sample size is doubled - that’s just to name a couple of the criteria. There’s a lot of guidelines we need to follow, but it’s the only way to do the job properly.
So if both inspection video and report are up to standard, the claims report is processed and sent via email. All those procedures will be completed and notified to the supplier and buyer within 24 hours of the shipment arrival. This is a really big challenge for the inspection team and I. Every day at least 100 videos need to be uploaded onto the system by our inspectors, and I need to collect the unusual data (which exceeds the default rate) from the Gfresh management system. And final claims email will be sent after I go through the related videos and inspection reports.
To be honest, sometimes I'm up completing the claims until midnight if there’s a higher mortality applied on an entire shipment. But I'm happy to do that because through our continued improvement of claims and inspection procedures, we find it encouraging that more and more suppliers recognise that Gfresh is not only providing the platform for trading their products, but also providing the value-added services.
Well more importantly than all of my previous answers I think is, according to our claims report, suppliers can trace their products’ quality and logistics processing. Regarding those experiences, a supplier will reconsider their quality standard and choosing the right logistics provider to reducing the mortality and build their reputation. Gfresh is not only providing the online market, we would like to help build suppliers’ businesses smoothly and continually.
After talking with Grace, it's pretty clear that she and her team have a huge undertaking in managing order reporting and claims. Every single order is inspected, filmed and reported for the benefit of both suppliers and buyers. It certainly isn't an easy job, but thanks to Grace, accountability is brought to online seafood's supply chains, and suppliers are able to function more effectively as global exporters.