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  • Writer's pictureJadon Groves

Meet William Madden III of Whole Brain Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to William Madden III.

William, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.

Whole Brain Consulting offers knowledge and expertise on all sides of the food industry equation. Starting with a degree in business management from Georgia Tech, I began my career with five years at Nestlé and five years at Little Lady Foods, working as an account manager. I then invested time learning the ins and outs of the industry first as the director of new business development at Hearthside Food Solutions and later as a key account manager at Fonterra.

I founded Right Brain Consulting, utilizing my knowledge of the food industry to negotiate contracts between food companies and co-manufacturers. As my influence in the industry grew, I merged Right Brain Consulting with BJH Food Safety, which now operates as Whole Brain Consulting.

Has it been a smooth road?

Originally I designed my business, Right Brain Consulting, to be a lifestyle business. I was still working a full-time job, and I merely wanted to make enough supplemental income that my wife would not have to return to the workforce yet. Then my marriage failed. At that point, I realized I wanted my work with Right Brain Consulting to be lucrative enough that it could be my only source of income. If I were to make the kind of money I was interested in making, the business model had to change.

At the start of the business, my primary focus was on contract negotiation for food companies. We offered a couple services: negotiating contracts (and more often than not, renegotiating poor contracts) between food companies and co-manufacturers, and finding co-manufacturers for food companies. We were quite successful; we took on tons of clients (around 100) and successfully completed 100 projects.

Finding a co-manufacturer is an endeavor most food companies cannot successfully handle on their own, but the problem was this: the better I did my job, the less follow-on work I had. Once I’d found a good co-manufacturer for my client and negotiated a beneficial contract for them, they did not need my services any longer. While they returned to us every time they had a new product or wanted to expand their co-packer or co-main network, they didn’t have on-going needs for service from us. This meant we spent a lot of time working to win bids and providing satisfactory solutions for clients, and then we had to go out and pound the pavement again for the next client.

That is unless I expanded my suite of services. This is where the pivot comes in. Customers wanted us to do more for them. They often asked what other services we provided.

I took a birds-eye view of my client’s needs, and I realized that if we branched out into food safety and supply chain, we could easily build a sustainable business. Now, at that time, I knew a lot about contract negotiation, and I knew a lot about what a healthy co-man/food company working arrangement should look like. I also knew that food safety, quality assurance, operations protocol, and supply chain operations were important, but I didn’t know enough to take it all on myself. I knew enough to know when it wasn’t done right, but not enough to sell my services as a consultant on these essential processes.

That’s when I considered the great colleagues I’d met during my career in various food companies. Over the years, I’d worked with experts in each of these verticals. I realized we needed knowledgeable talent. The right talent. Experts in the field with street cred in the industry.

I started with food safety and quality. I reached out to a very knowledgeable, very talented colleague of mine who is probably the very best in the industry when it comes to food safety and food quality. I first farmed business to him. In fact, I farmed so much business to him that he had to reach out to experts he knew, and he had to hire his colleagues in order to handle all the work I was sending him. At that point, we decided to merge our two companies into one, and that’s when we formed Whole Brain Consulting in 2015.

It didn’t take long for us to realize we needed to provide outsourced operations services. We needed to get into supply chain management because our clients needed help figuring out issues like ingredient sourcing, product storage and transportation, inventory management, and forecasting and demand planning.

I reached out to the best talent available – the top experts that had sat across the table from at various points in my career, and my partner did the same. The end result? We now employ 16 consultants and plenty of business. Our decision to pivot resulted in tangible success.

We’d love to hear more about your business.

Whole Brain Consulting provides comprehensive outsourced operations management services to the food industry, including-but-not-limited-to supply chain management, contract manufacturing strategies, and services related to food quality and safety regulatory compliance.

Seamless management of outsourced operations by experts who know the industry inside and out.

We stand out from the competition because of our expertise and our reputation for being straight shooters who cut through the bull. We provide sound advice and leverage our contacts in the industry to make excellent matches between food companies and co-manufacturers while advising food companies on prudent outsourced operations decisions.

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