MRPC GDSN Connect- Setting Up Item Database Quick Refence Guide

Introduction

Signing In

Adding Items to Item Database

Step 1: Gather Reports of Items to Setup

Step 2: Set up Vendors

Step 3: Vendor Item Upload

Step 3.0: Start the Vendor Item Upload

Step 3.1: Select File

Step 3.2: Match Items

Step 3.3: Preview & Fix Results

Step 3.4: Process Upload

Step 3.5: Complete

Introduction

This guide will assist new users of GDSN Connect as they setup their Item Database so they can use the native tools of GDSN Connect (prepare for Administrative Reviews and manage bids and RFPs) and also export their product information into their existing back of the house software application. 

Items within GDSN Connect are linked to items in the industry wide Nourish to Flourish (N2F) Database, which contains product information directly from the manufacturers for branded products and information from USDA and other official sources for generic items. The benefits of using the from the N2F Database include:

  • The N2F Database contains product specifications for 190k food items from hundreds of K-12 brands
  • Each product has information needed for K-12 menu planning and procurement, including nutrients, allergens, ingredients, meal pattern credits, servings per pack, product images, and many other fields
  • You are notified when a manufacturer changes the product specifications, so your items are accurate and up to date
  • This information is standardized and easily importable into your existing software which reduces the amount of time and effort to setup and maintain that data

Our goal is to make your implementation as smooth and effective as possible.  Please reach out with any questions at Customer Support or by e-mail at support@e-inteam.com and we will respond promptly.

Signing In

Credentials are sent via email from inTEAM and should be kept confidential. You can use those credentials when you login to the GDSN Connect website.

For assistance logging in, click the “Help” button in the bottom right corner to access inTEAM’s Help Center.

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Getting Support

Click the “Help” button in the bottom left corner of the GDSN Connect application (or the bottom right of the login page) to open the inTEAM Help Center. The Help Center offers detailed “how-to” guides and articles. Select articles are also available directly from within the GDSN Connect home page.mceclip1.png

Navigate the Knowledge Base Help Center homepage through one of the following options:

  • Search Key Words and Phrases: Type in key words or phrases to populate various help articles and guides.
  • Getting Started Tab: Select articles related to getting started and setting up in the software.
  • Guides Tab: Select articles related to navigating the software.
  • Troubleshooting Tab: Select articles to help answer any questions regarding the software.
  • Submit a Request: Submit a help ticket or question directly to our team.

Adding Items to Item Database

In general, users can add items to their Item Database in one of the following methods:

 

  • N2F Database Search: Adding items via directly searching the Nourish to Flourish (“N2F”) Database is most useful when looking for a specific item or going “shopping” going “shopping”
  • Catalog Search: Adding items via the Catalog is available for MRPC-contracted vendors and is best used when searching for new items from MRPC vendors.
  • Vendor Item Upload: Adding multiple items all at once using reports from your existing software or vendor using a Setup Wizard is recommended for the initial setup
  • Add Item Manually: Adding items manually is a last resort in the event an item cannot be found on the catalog or in the N2F Database.

Regardless of which approach you use, all items that you setup will be exported into your existing software. However, any items added “Manually” will not receive updates from the manufacturer. 

 

For the purposes of getting setup initially, this guide will describe using the Vendor Item Upload.  Instructions on the other approaches can be found within the inTEAM Help Center.

Step 1: Gather Reports of Items to Setup

There are two approaches for getting the reports of items to setup GDSN Connect: 1) Export a report from your existing software, and 2) Request a report of items from each vendor. Once you have this report, you will need to manipulate the data into the format used by the Vendor Item Upload Template.

 

Export Report from Existing Software

There are separate instructions for how to generate this report for each software application. Contact inTEAM to receive a copy of the instructions for the software that you use.

 

Request Report from Vendor(s)

If a report is not available for your software application, you can request a report from each of your vendors that contains the information needed for the Vendor Item Upload.  Once you have this report, you can copy the information from the report into the Vendor Item Upload Template used by GDSN Connect.

 

We have found that asking for a list of products that you have purchased over the past 12 months is a good way to get most of the items that you will want to setup.

 

Here are some sample emails that you can use as a template to send to your vendor. Because the MRPC vendors have already been setup in GDSN Connect, you don’t need to request much information. 

 

Sample Letter: MRPC Vendor

Dear (Vendor Contact Name),

Our district is working with Region 10 MRPC and inTEAM to streamline how we obtain product information and add that into our current software. This will assist us in USDA K-12 audit reviews, procurement, and management of product data and changes. Below is a list of information needed from you for the products that we have ordered over the past 12 months as we prepare for this process. Please know that while all the items below are important, the most crucial have an asterisk (*) next to them. If you cannot provide all the requested information, please ensure the items with an asterisk are completed. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

A complete list of the products we have ordered over the past 12 months along with:

  • *Item Name/Description
  • Pack Size
  • *Vendor Product ID
  • GTIN
  • Brand Name
  • Mfr Product ID
  • Net Weight (Lbs.)

 

Sample Letter: Non-MRPC Vendor

Dear (Vendor Contact Name),

Our district is working with Region 10 MRPC and inTEAM to streamline how we obtain product information and add that into our current software. This will assist us in USDA K-12 audit reviews, procurement, and management of product data and changes. Below is a list of information needed from you for the products that we have ordered over the past 12 months as we prepare for this process. Please know that while all the items below are important, the most crucial have an asterisk (*) next to them. If you cannot provide all the requested information, please ensure the items with an asterisk are completed. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

A complete list of the products we have ordered over the past 12 months along with:

  • *Item Name/Description
  • *Pack Size
  • *Vendor Product ID
  • *GTIN
  • *Brand Name
  • *Mfr Product ID
  • *Net Weight (Lbs.)
  • Servings Per Pack
  • Serving Size
  • Commercial Price of the Pack
  • Effective Date of the Price

 

Copy Data into the Vendor Item Upload Template

Once you have the report from your vendor, you will need to copy the information into the appropriate columns of the Vendor Item Upload Template file.

    1. Download the Template from the home page (under Vendors) or the Vendor Item Upload wizard (Select File) stepmceclip2.png
    2. Open the Report File from your vendor and the Vendor Item Upload Template file from GDSN Connect.
    3. In the Template file’s tab “Items to Upload,” paste the item information from the vendor file into the appropriate column in the Vendor Item Upload Template.
    4. The following fields are required to be populated:

      • MRPC Vendor
        • Vendor Item Description
        • Vendor Product ID
      • Non-MRPC Vendor
        • Vendor Item Description
        • Vendor Product ID
        • GTIN (if the item does not have a GTIN, then Pack Size, Brand, and Mfr Product ID are extremely helpful for the matching process)
        • Net Weight, if the item is not a branded item (such as fresh produce)
      1. Save the excel document 

Step 2: Set up Vendors

The Vendor Item Upload is vendor-specific, so you must first setup the vendors that you plan to use within GDSN Connect. MRPC contracted vendors are automatically configured in the system for you to select from, so there is a slightly different setup process for MRPC vendors than for the vendors that you purchase from outside of MRPC. 

 

Important note to users: Labatt will already be setup, but you will need to setup the other vendors that you use.

 

  1. Select “Vendors” module on the left-hand side
  2. Click the [+] sign at the bottom right of the screen
  3. Select “Add Vendor”
  4. Enter the information for the desired vendor as follows:
    • MRPC Vendor: Select the desired MRPC Vendor from the drop-down menu. If that vendor has multiple locations, select the location that you purchase from. You can modify the name of the vendor if you like.

Important note to users: As of 12/1/2022, not all MRPC vendors have been setup. If you don’t see your vendor on the list, contact inTEAM and we will notify you when that vendor has been setup.

  • Non-MRPC Vendor: Select one of the other predefined Vendors if appropriate (e.g., “USDA Foods Direct Delivered”) or “Other” and then enter the preferred name of the vendor.
  • The email, website, and fax numbers are optional.
  1. Select “Save & Close”

 

Repeat this for each of your vendors.

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Step 3: Vendor Item Upload

The Vendor Item Upload is a wizard that guides the user through the steps of uploading an Excel file that contains all the items that a user wants to setup for each vendor.  This process must be run separately for each Vendor. However, if an item is already setup in the system, it will simply update the existing item instead of creating a duplicate copy.

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The wizard process involves the following steps:

  1. Select File: Step where you select the report of items to upload. This is the file from the step above.
  2. Match Items: GDSN Connect searches the N2F Database and matches the items based on the Vendor Product ID and/or GTIN.  No user interaction required.
  3. Preview & Fix Results: Step where you can review the uploaded items and fix any items that were not automatically matched.
  4. Process Upload: GDSN Connect processes the items that had no errors and adds them to the database. No user interaction required.
  5. Complete: Summary page where you can view the results of a completed upload process.

Step 3.0: Start the Vendor Item Upload

Follow the steps below to start the Vendor Item Upload

  1. Select “Vendors” on the left-hand side
  2. Select a MRPC vendor
  3. Click the “Items” tab at the top, right-side of the page
  4. Select the [+] at the bottom right of the page
  5. Select “Upload Items”

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Step 3.1: Select File

Select the file from Step 1 for the selected vendor. This file must have been formatted to align with the Vendor Item Upload Template file. 

Important Note to Users: For performance reasons, we recommend limiting the file to no more than 500 items. If you have a file with more than 500 items from a single vendor, you should split that into multiple files.

Follow the steps below to select the file:

  1. Select the “Report Icon” under the Select File section
  2. Navigate to the location on your computer where the desired file is located, and select that file
  3. Select the desired Contract

MRPC Vendor: Select the MRPC Contract.

Non-MRPC Vendor: Select None or the desired Contract if you have setup one.

  1. Press “Match Items” button to move to the next step

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Step 3.2: Match Items

This step is when GDSN Connect is matching the items to the MRPC vendor catalogs or to items in the Nourish to Flourish Database based on the information from the file.  This process may take a few minutes, and you can navigate away from this screen and return if necessary by pressing “View Upload History”. You may refresh the page to see if it has completed. 

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Step 3.3: Preview & Fix Results

This page displays the results of the automated matching process. If any item was not matched, then you can search for a match yourself in the N2F Database using the information provided in the file. You can also create a new item manually if you cannot find an appropriate item.  If any item is missing a minimum amount of information, then you will see an error message and can fix the item data prior to processing.  Once your review is complete, press the “Process Upload” button to move to the next step.  You can cancel and start over without making any changes by pressing the “Abort Upload” button.

 

There are six types of notifications displayed in the Status column for each item.  Only items that are considered “OK” will be processed; any items with “Errors” will be skipped.

 

The following statuses are considered “OK” and will be added (or updated):

  • Match: An exact match from GDSN was found and no further manipulation is needed for this item to be processed and imported. You can clear/reset a matched item by pressing the red “X” to. 
  • Duplicate: The item already exists in the user’s Item Database from this Vendor and no further manipulation is needed for this item to be processed and imported. If the price has been updated, it will update the pricing. If the same item is set up with another Vendor, it will only add this vendor to the existing item without creating a duplicate item.
  • Manual Item: The item was created manually (this requires manual data entry for this item and no data from GDSN will be used).

The following statuses are considered “Errors” and need further input before the item can be added.

  • No Match: No item was found matching the imported information. See the section below for how to address this issue.
  • Bad Item Data: The matched item is missing required information and will need to be corrected before the item can be processed and imported. See the section below for how to address this issue.

Bad Input Data: The input data from the uploaded file is invalid and will need to be corrected on the file and re-imported.

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No Match

This item needs to be manually matched.  This will happen if the item did not have a GTIN on the import file or the GTIN wasn’t found. 

 

  1. Select the blue text that says “Search N2F Database” to display a search screen.
  2. Select “Branded” or “Generic” as the Item Type and then press “Smart Search”
    1. Branded: Branded items are mainly items published directly from manufacturers through GDSN.
    2. Generic: Generic items are useful for items such as produce, dairy, spices, and bakery items that have a common standard of identity and the nutrition and CN crediting information is the same regardless of the brand. This information comes from USDA's Food Data Central and Food Buying Guide to help you match your purchased items with generic equivalents so the data entry process on generic items is streamlined.
  3. Review the list and select the correct item that matches.
    1. The Smart Search will search the entire N2F Database of products for items that are most likely to match the information provided in the Vendor Item Upload File. Brand, Manufacturer Product ID, Net Weight, and Serving Size are all useful fields.
    2. Generic only: You may select multiple items to add different preparation or serving styles for use in menu planning. This will setup multiple Menu Items that are both linked to the same Item. Examples are “Sliced Apples” vs. “Whole Apples” as two Menu item that are both linked to a single Item that is a case of apples.
  4. If a match is found, press “Select” to return to the main page.
  5. If no match is found, the item will need to be added manually by pressing “Add Item Manually” at the top right of the pop-up.
    1. Data that was entered into the Vendor Item Upload spreadsheet will pre-populate in the corresponding fields but all other fields for this item will be blank.
    2. Fill in all available data on the Item Info, Nutrients & Meal Components, and Inventory Setup tabs.
    3. Required fields have a red asterisk and/or red exclamation point.
    4. Click the “Save & Close” button to save changes made to this manually entered item and return to the main page.

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Bad Item Data

GDSN Connect has multiple error checks to ensure that the data is complete for use in menu planning and procurement. Sometimes products published by manufacturers may not be setup correctly (e.g., missing a serving size). Instead of allowing incomplete records into the system, GDSN Connect requires that a certain set of minimum fields be populated.  Any items that do not have these minimum fields will have a “Bad Item Data” error which must be fixed by the user prior to processing.

Complete the following steps to correct Bad Item Data:

  1. Select the product name in blue font under “N2F Item Name” tab to view and edit the product information
  2. Review the information and add or correct any of the required fields on the three tabs
    1. Common errors are missing serving size, missing calories, saturated fat, or sodium values, or missing net weight or servings per pack values.
  3. Select “Save & Close” to return and re-run the error check.
    1. If the error has been resolved, the status will change

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Step 3.4: Process Upload

This step is when GDSN Connect is adding all items that were OK into the district’s Item Database. This process may take a several minutes depending on how many items are on the list, and you can navigate away from this screen and return if necessary. You may refresh the page to see if it has completed. 

 

Important note to users: Wait for one upload to complete before starting another upload to avoid any errors overwriting items. 

 

Step 3.5: Complete

After the upload has completed, you can view the status and download an Excel file with the results.

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