AiThority Interview with Will Salcido, CEO and Co-Founder at Bedrock Analytics
Know My Company
How would you best describe your journey through retail? What inspired you to found Bedrock Analytics?
I started my career in category management/analytics in the CPG industry at Nestle, Novartis, Ghirardelli, and Lindt. I was Head of Analytics at Ghirardelli, and Head of Global Analytics at Lindt. Through my experience in the CPG industry, I found that turning data into actionable insights is actually a difficult challenge for nearly all brands.
In addition, the CPG industry is struggling to hire analytical talent at the rate that’s required to keep pace with retailers’ needs and the hyper-competitive landscape, a lot of the sharp analytical talent in the market is going into the tech industry these days. I’ve always felt that there should be a software that could address the analytical opportunities that exist for CPG brands.
What are some of the larger challenges in integrating advanced analytics into CPG?
There are a lot of data knowledge gaps in the CPG industry, and there aren’t a lot of companies in the space helping us define the CPG analytics category, which means that we have to educate CPGs on what advanced analytics can do for them.
The business rules and models built around AI and Machine Learning tools common in the tech world aren’t necessarily made for the CPG industry, which, in a lot of ways, is still very much an old school brick-and-mortar business.
Why are enterprises laying a huge impetus on building business models based on data insights?
CPG brands are starting to focus on data because their categories are much more competitive than they used to be, there’s a lot of data available now, and consumer preferences shift much faster than they used to. It’s also a lot easier to start a CPG company because of existing business networks, brokers, co-manufacturers, venture capital investors, etc. The old CPG business ecosystem has met the new, modern business ecosystem (as well as the internet) to create a whole new playing field.
Because there’s so much more competition than there used to be, retailers rely more on data then they used to when it comes to selecting which brands they carry.
How can the CPG industry best leverage Bedrock?
The best way for CPG brands to leverage the Bedrock Analytics platform is simple to use it. Bedrock ingests and harmonizes the data that CPGs get from data syndicators and retail portals, and creates insightful, actionable visualizations that show sales, analyst, and brand management teams exactly what’s going on with their products, categories, and markets. Within the Bedrock platform, the data can be segmented for custom visualizations, saved and automatically updated for future use.
Users can see topline reports, opportunities and threats, they can track the effectiveness of promotions and events, and most importantly, create compelling sales stories for their retail buyers, and export those to their own branded presentations. We created a stunningly simple user interface to interpret complex data.
Put simply, Bedrock vastly increases the value of the investment that CPG brands make in data.
What is your take on the raging trend of including ‘AI in everything’ in business?
AI will continue to fundamentally transform the way that the CPG and retail industries interact with each other. At the same time, AI can never replace the human factor in major decision making. AI is great for automating the application of rules across vast data sets, but the human element is still required when it comes to deciding which rules are relevant, and how to act on the insights that come out of the data.
The companies that will thrive in the future are the ones that leverage AI to augment the skills of their human resources.
How does Bedrock Analytics’ product range differ from other service providers offering a similar product(s)?
We play in the same space as software like Tableau, Domo, and Power BI. We’re a data analytics and insights tool. What sets Bedrock apart from those general-purpose business intelligence tools is that our platform has been designed and built specifically for the needs of the CPG & retail industries, which face unique challenges around data access and control, and reporting requirements.
Our mission is to demystify and simplify the use of data for CPG manufacturers.
Can you discuss an interesting use case when Bedrock Analytics’ solution solved a major business problem?
One customer leveraged Bedrock to get their first distribution at Walmart. The company had recently purchased data from a syndicated CPG data provider and wasn’t sure how to transform it into a selling story.
Further complicating the situation, they got their data on a Thursday, and their Walmart appointment was on the following Monday. Bedrock is so easy to use that they were able to create a compelling selling story for their brand, and it resulted in the generation of $2.1M in a single sale.
Does Bedrock Analytics infuse AI to bolster its Big Data & Analytics product?
We use a combination of Machine Learning models to harmonize data sets, AI to determine patterns, natural language processing for automated text-based reporting, statistical models to detect item threats, and the most modern technology infrastructure for speed and stability.
Which other industries will Bedrock Analytics be expanding into, in the near future?
Right now we focus on a handful of product categories within CPG, mostly food and beverage, but the full scope of CPG is huge, and our product is uniquely designed to tackle anything within the CPG space.
There are a few parallel markets that are interesting to us.
Where do you see AI/Machine Learning and other smart technologies heading beyond 2025?
I think that wherever there’s friction for employees at enterprise companies, such as repetitive tasks, basic data entry, light analyses, etc. that’s where AI and ML technologies will gain a foothold and grow.
It all comes back to using AI for tasks that can be automated, freeing up humans to do the work that truly impacts the business.
What start-ups are you keenly following?
I always keep an eye on what the big innovators are doing — Palantir, Uber, etc. and lately I’ve been really fascinated by companies working in the image recognition space, like Trax Retail.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
The CEO of Punchh, Shyam Rao.
They’re creating loyalty card programs for retailers, applying an intelligence layer to offers that consumers receive, based on location, previous buying habits, etc.
Really interesting stuff!!!
Thank you, Will! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Will Salcido is the CEO and Cofounder at Bedrock Analytics, a leading data analytics platform for CPG manufacturers. Previously, Will was Head of Analytics at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, and Head of Global Analytics at Lindt & Sprüngli, running data analytics in 12 countries. He has also worked in category management and data analytics at Nestle, and Novartis.
Bedrock Analytics powers the growth of today’s leading CPG manufacturers. The company’s cloud-based analytics platform and insights automation tools enable sales managers and business analysts to harness the power of data in order to craft powerful sales presentations that capture market share and drive increased revenue. Tracking more than $100 billion in CPG sales across more than 80 categories every month, Bedrock’s simple, powerful analytics platform and machine learning algorithms enable anyone within an organization to quickly and easily get the insights they need to close more deals.