Icicle Helps DaVinci Gelato Secure International Distribution

Excerpts from our interview with Felix Irnich, COO of DaVinci Gelato.

Our latest case study looked at DaVinci Gelato, a company that has gone from small farmers markets in Alberta to nationwide and soon international distribution in a very short period of time. They used Icicle to make this leap, getting HACCP ready in just three months. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Felix Irnich, DaVinci Gelato’s COO, in his own words.

On Choosing Icicle

“My personal biggest thing [when looking for software] was something without huge upfront investment. I personally like automation and streamlining; I hate bulky systems. I like something that is easy to use and doesn’t take a whole month to train someone to use it. My background is in IT, so I have experience in evaluating software. I knew what we needed.”

“We reached out through the website and David [Wang] set up a demo. He asked me about our requirements, I told him the plan, and he arranged the demo. [Icicle creator] Steve [Burton] did the demo and the features were exactly what I was looking for – when I saw it automatically generate a HACCP plan, I was sold!”

On Going Paperless

“I have over 120 flavours, each with their own formulations and ingredients. 30 binders behind me would get out of hand real quick. I needed a paperless approach for the complexity of our production process, and also for sustainability and efficiency. Paper records are out of date anyway. We’re taking a fresh approach – it’s 2019, let’s do it paperless.”

On Implementing Icicle (and HACCP)

“When I did HACCP training course, the teacher always said that the process was 1-2 years. But Sobeys already wanted to carry my product, I don’t want to wait 1-2 years. This was a huge turning point in our business; our gateway into retail. With you guys, I was able to pass our audit in three months.”

“It was about a month of really nose to the grindstone kind of work to really get it implemented. At the same time I was developing our HACCP program from scratch. Building the HACCP plan at the same time was an advantage because I didn’t have to adapt [an existing system to Icicle]. I worked really closely with [Project Manager] Ethan [Chen] and he really helped me a lot to get everything set up, explain HACCP processes.”

On Icicle’s One-Click HACCP Plans

“Generating the HACCP plans – that’s just huge. It’s amazing. My first impression came from the demo with Steve, so when I saw him generating a HACCP plan just like that on the spot, I thought, “yes – I don’t want to fill out huge paper records or make a giant Word document for all of my different flavours to try and make HACCP plans.” Being able to group the products – I have gelato and dairy-free sorbet grouped together – automatically generating it with the proper ingredients, products, all in place, in such a huge relief that it is easily my favourite feature.”

“Well, we were able to implement HACCP, which is a complicated system, very effectively and in a stable fashion. I have it implemented, it’s backed by Icicle, churning away and running smoothly. No stress, no giant pile of paperwork that needs maintenance. It’s paying for itself, especially since Icicle also helps us achieve compliance in other jurisdictions.”

On Traceability & Allergen Control

“I think the biggest impact for us was traceability, tracking all those lot numbers. Icicle automating a fair bit of that, helped us right away and in the future – especially with barcoding.”

“We have 120 flavours with a whole lot of allergens in the same production line. Icicle is definitely easy and streamlined to integrate into processes. I give Icicle 8/10 for intuitive allergen-control.”

On Icicle’s Integrated System

“Shipping, receiving, and purchase orders are also really great. I like the flow of it, that it properly tracks, I can add price lists so I can know what things are supposed to cost, what it’s going to cost, and if the purchase order matches the receiving record. I especially like that the purchase order appears on the receiving record when you select from the list.”

On Audits and Certifications

“Our auditor loves Icicle; we can do mock recall in 30 seconds or less, it’s so easy! Product, lot number, bang!”

“I was a newbie to HACCP. Ethan came in with a lot of experience, also SQF, etc. He was able to describe and prepare you for the experience of the audit.

“In terms of preparing for the audit, it was a few days of really solid preparation, making sure all the records were in place. Audit took a full day (9 long hours) but went straightforward, smoothly.”

On Training Employees

“Training was nice and straightforward. I can assign each employee their own areas (production runs, quality checks, etc.). I’m able to limit the scope pretty well so I didn’t have to do overwhelming training. Cleaning records and schedules went really well, overall roughly 10 people us it. Really easy, I was surprised.”

On Compliance for New Products, New Markets

“With our new Happy Hour Alcohol Gelato™, we got hit with additional regulatory requirements for manufacturing and inventory guidelines. We were able to marry those into Icicle as well and it’s really nice to have it all in one place. Exporting to the USA has its own requirements and we were able to cover those too.”

DaVinci Gelato is expanding into the USA, securing international distribution. “With the FDA, [the process is] going to integrate right into our existing system. All that is needed are some changes in some of the language of our procedures – it’s already covered.”

Final Thoughts

“I have recommended Icicle to other companies, especially small manufacturers, and will continue to do so! All the people impacted by the Safe Food for Canadians Act will need you guys – thank you!”

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

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