The Nourish to Flourish Initiative Brings GDSN® to a Broken K-12 Supply Chain

What is GDSN? 

The Global Data Synchronization Network® (GDSN®) is the standard framework that manufacturers use to communicate product information across the supply chain to their customers with unique product identifiers such as UPCs and Global Trade Item Numbers® (GTINs).

Why GDSN in K-12? 

With GDSN as its organizing principle, an industrywide initiative was launched at the Nourish to Flourish Industry Summit in 2017. The resulting work group included multiple school nutrition stakeholders who were frustrated by redundant work and the difficulty of sharing data across systems. The “common language” of GDSN standards enables electronic transactions that simplify collaborative functions like forecasting, menu planning, procurement and many more.

The Nourish to Flourish Database has since become the largest collection of standardized K-12 product specifications available from a single consolidated resource.  GDSN Connect equips school districts, purchasing co-ops, and state agencies with electronic data exchange and quality control tools. Administrative burdens and errors rates associated with manual data entry and outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete data sets are reduced.

The Last Mile

Regular Data Exchanges with leading “Back of the House” software brands carry updates for the “last mile” with an electronic synchronization process supported by those brands. The net result is more efficient and accurate daily operations for forecasting, menu planning, production, ordering, inventory control and financial reporting. If a district’s software is not shown here, inTEAM will work with that software provider to get them setup with GDSN updates.

New Tools for Stakeholders

inTEAM supplements basic data published by suppliers to GDSN by tapping into secondary sources to provide the most comprehensive product specifications available. GDSN Connect ensures that this data is maintained and current by running data matching algorithms and quality control checks with twice weekly updates from primary sources.

Critical Data Points

K-12 Operators require comprehensive, timely and accurate data to comply with complex federal and state regulations.  GTIN product attributes of specific interest include nutrients, allergens, meal pattern credit, scaling ratios of portion sizes to recipes to inventory and  purchase units, Buy American, storage and preparation instructions, and full disclosure of ingredients and additives. New reporting requirements for added sugars and sesame allergens are likely to drive many update cycles across tens of thousands of records.

Data From Many Sources – One Standardized Format 

The Nourish to Flourish Database combines data from multiple official sources to build and maintain digital records in the standardized GDSN format. The core of the Nourish to Flourish Database is made of standardized, branded product data published by manufacturers. Other sources of product data include locally procured foods, private label foods, and non-branded “generic” products where USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and/or FDA defined “Standards of Identity” may apply. Adoption of GDSN Standards can also help identify and isolate products subject to recall.

GDSN Connect:  One Product – Three Editions

GDSN Connect contains complete solutions for Districts, Purchasing Co-ops, and State Agencies.  Each edition includes access to the industrywide Nourish to Flourish Database with full data sharing, quality control tools and connectivity. Some editions are configured with a Data Exchange to continuously update existing back of the house software, eliminating most error prone manual data entry.  Each edition addresses different business requirements.

School District Edition

The GDSN Connect District Edition includes features for users to search and access the N2F Database, sync product information with their existing back of house software and manage procurements using GDSN. GDSN Connect may be added to existing software support agreements as an add-on feature.

Co-Ops & Affiliated Groups Edition

This version of GDSN Connect is built for  purchasing cooperatives, affiliated groups, and other organizations (such as FSMCs and broadline distributors) to seamlessly share data with automatic updates across stakeholders.  Organizations can provide value added services to multiple districts with additional tools to access product data from GDSN for their procurements, assist with administrative review preparation, pre-cost suggested menus, and communicate catalog product information to their member districts.

State Agency Enterprise Edition

GDSN Connect’s Enterprise Edition equips state agencies and their recipient agencies with full featured electronic data sharing tools to access and update product specifications system wide.  It includes functions to conduct local (non-co-op) procurements, plan and pre cost “what if” menus and prepare for more efficient reviews.

Contact Us for additional information and a demonstration.