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SNOHOMISH, WA, August 23, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When the Alaska King Crab season opens this August, distributors and retailers seeking fresh King Crab will be able to place and track their orders 24/7 - thanks to an innovative tool created by Northport Fisheries, UniSea Inc.'s marketing partner for Royal Aleutian brand fresh King Crab sections since last fall.
Northport Fisheries has launched a new King Crab program that allows distributors and retailers to have fresh product shipped to their restaurants and retail locations both quicker and more cost-effectively.
"The ideal candidates for this program are larger distributors, retailers or large restaurant groups that have a centralized buyer," says Jeremy Lee, vice president of purchasing and sales at Northport Fisheries, headquartered in Snohomish, Washington.
The tool's efficiency allows for large purchase orders to be placed quickly, and it's designed to be user-friendly for larger distributors who have multiple clients and are placing multiple orders concurrently. At the same time, the tool opens the ability for smaller customers to place lower-volume orders cost-efficiently.
"It has opened up the market for us," Lee says.
Customers can place multi-destination orders weekly, maintaining their own private list of clients. It takes seconds to input each order in one convenient window, and quantities and orders can be adjusted any time up until the shipping cutoff.
The system sends an automatic response about the pending orders and after the cutoff time, Northport confirms product status and provides FedEx tracking numbers. Northport takes care of all the logistics, following the product every step through its final destination.
Historically, fresh seafood was shipped to and handled by distributors, where it waited on trucks for final deliveries. Northport's online order tool eliminates that step, shipping fresh crab directly from Anchorage, Alaska, to restaurants and retailers via FedEx. That means after each cutoff time, the orders are immediately processed and arrive to the end customer by the middle of the following week. By using this system, Northport is not competing with its distributors, but rather making the process more efficient, reducing delivery time in half.
Northport launched the tool, programmed from scratch, last year at the beginning of King Crab season and picked up about 10 new customers, even without promoting the program. With a more aggressive advertising strategy this year as well as the redesign of the online system to make it more user-friendly, Northport is ready for growth.
Keith Goodnight, company owner and president, expects to see fresh King Crab sales double or triple in the next few years, thanks to the winning combination of the online order tool and the UniSea partnership. He sees many new opportunities for the program, considering the excellent reputation both companies have.
As the second-largest crab producer in Alaska, UniSea Inc. is known to supply some of the finest crab in the world. The high-quality product has a unique, sought-after flavor. The brand is owned by Nippon Suisan Kaisha, which last year was the No. 5 North American seafood supplier based on sales, according to SeaFood Business trade magazine. The crab is processed at a state-of-the-art facility in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is dedicated to quality assurance.
"UniSea Inc. is among the top seafood companies in the world. To be selected to represent them in the fresh market is a big honor," Lee says. "We were excited to have a company of that magnitude back us."
Committed to Customer Service
Goodnight founded Northport Fisheries in 1993 with the goal of servicing distributors and retailers by providing them with up-to-date market information. With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry at the time, he understood the value to a distributor of quality and timely information.
Even during its early days, his company was innovative.
"In 1993, not a lot of processors and marketing companies produced many promotional materials," he says. "We were certainly at the forefront of that. Our goal was to provide information to distributors so they could plan, set promotions and advertise specific products throughout the season."
That goal has remained at the core of Northport's strategy of delivering top customer service. Accessibility has also been paramount: Goodnight and his top executives are available to customers nonstop via email and cell phones.
But where the company stands apart is not simply through keeping communication channels open.
"We are very good at following our fish from point A to point B," Goodnight says. "We know exactly what's going on with every pound of fish."
Quality, of course, begins at the supply line. Northport Fisheries works directly with fishermen on boats from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Bellingham, Washington, and as far south as Astoria, Oregon. "We've allied ourselves with some of the best producers in Alaska, and with top fishermen," Goodnight says.
By using custom-processing facilities around the region, the company is able to produce fresh seafood year round. To pair quality with value, Northport follows fish runs throughout the various seasons to obtain the best pricing at peak times. And there is never compromise - no second- or third-grade fish just to get better pricing.
Goodnight believes it' s that high integrity, along with the extensive inventory control at Northport Fisheries that attracted UniSea Inc. to the partnership, which will continue to grow this season.
Northport has been marketing its new program and the fresh order tool more extensively this year. The company hopes to gain a bigger share of the fresh King Crab market based on superior quality of the product and the ease of online ordering," Lee says. "We're excited about the opportunity to market some of the world' s best crab and help complement our accounts."
For more information contact:
Keith Goodnight, President
6105 61st Avenue SE
Snohomish, WA 98290
Northport Fisheries provides high-quality, high-demand North Pacific seafood to wholesale distributors, retail and restaurant customers. Headquartered in Snohomish, Washington, the company prides itself in superior customer service and a high-integrity approach that puts quality first. Founded in 1993, Northport Fisheries provides current, year-round marketing information to customers, along with up-to-the-minute ability to track every shipment. For more information, visit www.northportfisheries.com or call (425) 743-0200.
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