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Getting ROI out of predictive analytics

Predictive analytics can help produce companies make better decisions rather than relying on past results or gut instinct.

Diane Wetherington, CEO of iFoodDecisionSciences BB #:300785 said two specific ways they help companies is that they can manage their food safety risk better and they can help more effectively launch new products.

“Predictive analytics are the easiest way for companies to get into the world of data,” she said during a Produce Marketing Association BB #:153708 town hall webinar Oct. 28.

Garland Perkins, senior manager of insights and innovation for Oppy BB #:116424 said analytics help her company in category trends, market intelligence and expansion opportunities.

“It helps us look at what’s statistically likely to happen, not just what’s happened in the past,” she said.

Kathleen DeBrota, senior manager of research and development for AeroFarms, says she is constantly experimenting with different growing techniques in the company’s indoor vertical farms.

“We use growing algorithms based on data, and they’re constantly being improved,” she said. “We cut a growth cycle from 16 days to 14 days for baby leafy greens” for example, which makes the company more efficient.

But DeBrota said it’s not enough to collect data. Companies have to have employees with the right skills to interpret and implement the data.

“With data, you have to find the right info that people care about,” Perkins said.

Wetherington added that data is a blank slate, so you have to know what you’re looking for before you start collecting information.

Gina Jones, vice president of commercialization, insights and innovation for PMA said the association plans to debut a data analytics tool for members on its website in February.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services