Icicle Helps The Chai Company Manage Their Complex Production Runs

The Icicle team recently sat down with Director of Operations Simon Lam and QA Manager Barbara Jedrzejewska to understand how Icicle has improved their operations over at The Chai Company, where complex production runs posed a challenge.

On Adopting Icicle

“Icicle was recommended to us by a consultant, Karine Lawrence from the Post-Farm Food Safety & Traceability Program. We knew that it’s really hard to evaluate software without using it first – there can be a huge difference between the demonstration and when you actually use it. Icicle was recommended and had good reviews, so we just plunged right into it. Once it was implemented, there was no going back. Because Icicle is easy to work with, we focused on working with Icicle to make all the changes we needed. Other companies will benefit from that too.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“We were already SQF certified so we didn’t really want to adjust our system to Icicle. We wanted Icicle to adjust to us. And we were pretty impressed with how that turned out. — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

“Icicle made us better and vice versa.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

On Record Keeping

“Icicle won’t allow anyone to record lot numbers in production if those lot numbers are not in storage – for things like this, Icicle enforces consistency. It’s quite important because sometimes there are issues with two sets of labels and things like that. Icicle also enforces legibility of records. Everybody is able to read them.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“I think the number one thing for production runs is that Icicle only allows you to choose ingredients if it’s available, so you can’t write something different if it’s not there. This helps us prevent mistakes.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

“Collecting, storing, and managing is a lot easier with Icicle. Surprisingly, QA [Quality Assurance] is a lot of regulatory work and I’m a one-person department.”— Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

On Vendor Management

“Vendor certification is a very useful feature because it tracks all supplier information, updates, etc. Now my suppliers know exactly what information they need to send me.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“I like the Vendor Management feature especially because of expiry dates. Once we input all certifications and expiry dates, I don’t have to check the whole folder for the supplier every time. I can anticipate deliveries and click on their name to bring up the whole database of their certificates, what’s expired, etc. It’s way faster than going one-by-one.”— Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

On Inventory Management

Inventory Management is a good feature – being able to go back and find out where certain things are, finding inventory transactions and specific logs without having to actually go through every single one is great.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

“We have four warehouses: one in England, one in Canada, and two in the United States. We can see inventory in any of those warehouses, so that’s a lot easier. I don’t have to use any other software to access this information – I can see it all in Icicle.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

On Facing Audits

“When we get audited, [Icicle is] readily available and makes the audit way smoother and quicker instead of having to go through all the paperwork. That was one thing I noticed immediately. I remember the first time the auditor came after we adopted Icicle, it seemed a lot easier to provide [the information they needed] right away instead of having to look in the folder for it.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

On Managing Recalls

“When it came to recalls and being on the ball with inventory management, a software system like Icicle was ideal for us.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

“Recalls are a lot easier with Icicle.”— Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

On Universal Accessibility

“All of us love the fact that we can access all the production and QA information from anywhere in the world. This is really needed because we are a small company – sometimes, we just don’t have a backup and we need to get involved while travelling. Even spending 20 minutes in Icicle when you’re away is very valuable.” – Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“Availability is the biggest thing – being able to access Icicle from anywhere and catch problems, whether you’re at the plant or not. I usually work from home a lot too, so being able to monitor what is going on is great.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

On Trending & Oversight

“I like trending, actually. That was a big reason that I got our Pest Control Contractor to use Icicle instead of submitting paper reports; I can trend directly from his reports.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“When it came to the actual production runs, it took some time to learn because people are used to writing things down. Now it might take a bit more time to enter the information into the system, but the employees are able to see what’s available and what’s left. They’re able to know what the next run will be and see the forecast as well. Previously, they didn’t really know this unless they were told. Now they can oversee more.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

On User Friendliness & Customer Service

“Icicle’s team has been really responsive to our enquiries. If we’ve had any problems, we can get help and it’s quickly resolved. The customer service is great! — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“Our employees are quite good with computers so they quickly absorbed what they needed to know. There were some specific quirks of Icicle that they needed to remember, but the interface is easy to use so they learned quickly.”— Simon Lam, Director of Operations

Final Thoughts

“Overall, we are very happy with Icicle and would recommend it to other companies. It’s great when it comes to having the things we need on-hand and resolving problems quickly.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager

“Icicle is really great for someone to start up with GFSI certification.” — Barbara Jedrzejewska, QA Manager 

“I would recommend Icicle – it’s good when it comes to having the things that we need and resolving problems quickly.” — Simon Lam, Director of Operations

A big thanks to Barbara and Simon for taking the time to talk to us about Icicle’s impact on their operations. Check out our new case study with The Chai Company and request a demo of Icicle today!

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