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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2017

“We build client-centered software solutions for food safety and more”: iFoodDecisionSciences, Inc.

thesiliconreview-diane-wetherington-founder-ceo-ifooddecisionsciences-inc-2017iFoodDecisionSciences, Inc. delivers software solutions to help food companies continuously improve food safety and quality control operations. 

Faced with seasonal harvest variations, unreliable water supplies, low margins, and labor shortages, the current agricultural industry is facing unprecedented pressures. Software solutions and effective data management and analysis can help manage those pressures. Yet produce companies still rely on paper. Data analysis requires resources and time, resulting in missed opportunities for process improvements. 

iFoodDecisionSciences’ cloud-based products simplify data collection, management and reporting, assuring compliance across a company’s supply chain, and real-time improvement opportunities. 

iFoodDecisionSciences, Inc.,

a Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions provider, has extensive food safety experience.

iFoodDecisionSciences’ team assists companies in putting their data to work by confidentially compiling, managing, and modeling it and providing access to it through customer tailored websites. 

A Dialog with: Diane Wetherington, CEO/Founder 

Tell us why you started iFoodDecisionSciences.

After the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the spinach industry, associations came together to develop food safety best practices and metrics for leafy greens. We worked with companies developing and implementing these practices and in doing so realized the sheer volume of documentation required to manage food safety. 

iFoodDecisionSciences was launched to simplify the management of the produce industry’s monumental volume of records and documents being generated. With the Food Safety Modernization Act, we knew data management needs were only going to grow.

Could you give a history of the initial product?

We developed our first product with a group of leading grower-shippers to help them monitor food safety in the field. Grower-shippers not only grow their own produce but also buy from other growers. Lacking the time for overseeing all their grower operations, our first product or “tool” enabled time- constrained food safety personnel to monitor hazards in the field from anywhere. 

From the field, we expanded further into the supply chain after an early customer said, “The field software is great, but what I really need help with is our processing facilities.”

In response, we developed food safety supply chain software linking growing, packing, processing, cooling, distribution centers, etc., Today we have a robust suite of produce supply chain software products.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Paper. Some people are reluctant to part with the physical binders and move into the virtual world. Our success lies in identifying the willing adopters who see the value of their data plus the time and cost savings from the software. Labor is a huge issue in produce – whether workers in the field or skilled food safety employees in the office. Our software tools not only save money and resources but build actionable information about a customer’s operations. We help companies create a knowledge-based competitive advantage. 

How are you unique?

Our data architecture and development process,capable of rapid changes and innovations, are state of the art and tightly aligned to our business model. Since our products are developed in response to customers’ needs, rolling-out something new for them is key to our being a partner in our customer’s business. We are committed to helping customers continuously improve their food safety processes. Our customers are experts in growing, packing and processing produce. They do not want to invest to become data management and software leaders. iFoodDecisionSciences takes the burden from our customers of managing data so they can focus on producing safe food. We encourage readers to contact us and let us walk you through a process that will deliver these key benefits. 

Describe your key benefits.

  • A Toolbox of products – Designed and built by seasoned data architects.
  • Customer focus -We are there as businesses evolve and changes are needed.
  • The Team–Our employee diversity provides expertise from other industries and products delivering a broader product offering and better experience to customers.
  • Industry Associations - Partnering with associations enables us to reach more companies and better understand their needs.
  • Product features –Ability totailor features to a customer’s operations. 

What does the future look like?

We have plans to enter several international markets and are working in the food industry beyond produce. Our goal is to be the preferred partner for food safety supply chain solutions in several markets with software tools that not only meet customers’ specific data management needs but also improve their food safety and other operations processes. 

The Leader 

Diane Wetherington is the Founder & CEO of iFoodDecisionSciences. Having worked in the specialty crop industry since 2006, she has evaluated commodity-specific best practices, characterized food safety processes and worked with customers on process and cost improvements. Previously she held leadership positions with AT&T and MasterCard, where she

specialized in applying new software and technologies to information processing businesses. Diane holds three patents. She is also a member of the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Produce Safety, Science and Technology Committee.

"iFoodDecisionSciences works extensively in the produce industry, constantly evaluating and refining software to help clients with their ever-evolving data management needs."