Icicle Helps FreeYumm with Traceability and SQF Certification

FreeYumm Testimonial Traceability Vendor Management SQF Certification

The Icicle team recently sat down with Terry Goulah, Vice President of Operations and Co-Founder of FreeYumm, to understand how Icicle has helped FreeYumm meet their food production goals. FreeYumm came to us looking for a traceability solution, and they got more than they bargained for – including a smooth road to SQF Certification.

FreeYumm responds to the real and pressing need for allergen-friendly snacks, providing healthy and tasty products for their consumers. But maintaining an allergen-free facility (and not just allergen-free products) is no easy task, especially when the team at FreeYumm holds themselves to the highest standards for safety and quality. They have to keep meticulous track of their vendors, ingredients, and all aspects of production. For that reason, FreeYumm knew early on in their business that they needed to build and maintain an exceptionally rigourous traceability program.

On Choosing Icicle

“We were looking for a very robust, user-friendly system and that was really important to us. When we went through the initial presentation for Icicle, those two items were marked off quickly. We rapidly got the sense, having not used software before, that we needed lots of customer support. It was evident that we would get all of that with Icicle. It came together as the best option for us in terms of the functionality of the system, the usability of the software, and the customer support. We knew the relationship would be well-managed, so it was a pretty easy decision and we didn’t bother looking any further.”

On Getting Started

“Being a startup, like a lot of small food companies, we are extremely busy and didn’t have a lot of time to devote or a team to put on this job. We did it a little ad-hoc and Icicle really held our hand through it as we hoped they would. Training was one day or a half-day, with further training as needed. We started using it, building it out, hit a roadblock, asked for help. At every stage of growth, having that kind of customer service brings it back to why we chose Icicle. We couldn’t have been happier with implementation.”

On Vendor Management & Traceability

“For us, being an allergen-free facility, it is very important for us to have a really strict formal management process of our suppliers. We didn’t really think it through in the beginning that we could do our vendor management through the system. We have all the vendors and inventory in there so it’s easy to track documents for vendor approvals, etc. It was really a nice extra feature that we didn’t think through at first because we were so focused on the traceability.”

“[My favorite feature is] the mock recall feature in [Icicle’s] traceability system – to be able to generate a report of exactly what our products are within seconds to a minute. Since we market our products as allergen-free, it’s so key for us to be able to pull up that information if any issue ever arises.

On Automation

“One of my favorite things about Icicle is just allowing us to do everything electronically. I can’t imagine having all the paper reports for shipping or receiving, traceability documents. I couldn’t even fathom doing all of that manually. It’s easy to say that we have saved at least half to full-time headcount at current volume. As we grow, I could see that growing. Icicle has definitely made us more efficient.”

Now Icicle is the one place that we have everything. When I talk to people with legacy systems – who have partially manually systems for HACCP and processes and traceability through an inventory ERP – I realize how nice it is to have everything in one bundle. We can record incidents in real-time, we can track everything and pull our inventory. Having it all as one complete package has been the most useful.”

On Customer Service

Icicle provides what I would call ‘true immediate customer service.’ There is no long auto-directory or long queues; the service is immediate, by phone call or email. As a busy small business that is understaffed, we need to deal with things as they arise and not two days later.”

On SQF Certification & Audits

To be honest, I don’t think we could have done it [achieved SQF certification] without Icicle. In less than a year, we implemented Icicle, created all our plans and processes, and collected the data we needed for the auditor. I was really happy that we were able to quickly and easily do that.”

“It was so easy. They’d give us a query or ask a question and I’d pull it up on my laptop and pivot it around on the table to show them. They were impressed that we could show them any information they wanted. It just took two or three minutes. From my standpoint, that made the audit go very smoothly.

“We knew we had to get to SQF [certification] and we didn’t want to go down the route of manual. For us, we built our food safe program on Icicle from the beginning. For us to create a system and then go through a certification manually, I couldn’t imagine. We did it together – building food safe program and software. That made the audit a lot easier than it would have been had we done it manually.

On Future Opportunities

“Once we decided we wanted to expand out-of-provide and into the US market, we realized we needed a robust tracking system and that is just wasn’t going to be possible without software. Some of our newer sales that we’re pursuing depend on the certification [we’ve obtained with Icicle]. Costco is going to come and audit us and they’ll be happy to see our system. It’s certainly giving us that edge to pursue those larger companies that require us to have SQF certification and others.

A big thanks to Terry for taking the time to talk to us about Icicle’s impact on his business. Check out our new case study with FreeYumm and request a demo of Icicle today!

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