District Admin users can quickly setup their item database from scratch using the Vendor Item Upload tool. This will use reports commonly available from each vendor to add these items to their database all at once. This is also useful to update an existing vendors catalog of items or pricing.
This bypasses the need to perform this action manually item by item and therefore saves menus planners and the procurement team hours of time in getting their items into the item database with all nutrition, purchasing, and inventory information prefilled. .
The high-level process for importing items is:
- Get Report from Vendor
- Prepare to Upload Report
- Start Upload Process
- Preview and Fix Results
- Process Upload
Get Report from Vendor
The information that is needed to upload and match to an item in the Nourish to Flourish (N2F) Database is commonly available via standard reports from your distributor. A "Velocity Report" often has the information required, although not every vendor includes all the required attributes in their Velocity Reports. Other reports which may have the correct information include an Order Guide or sometimes a Nutritional Report. The recommended attributes are shown below:
- *Vendor Product ID
- *Item Name/Description
- Pack Size
- *GTIN or UPC
- Brand Name and/or Mfr Name
- Mfr Product ID
- *Net Weight (Lbs.)
- Price of the Pack
The most important attribute is the GTIN (commonly known as a UPC code) as that will make the matching process automatic. If a GTIN is not available from the distributor or that product, the other information like Brand, Mfr Product Code, Pack Size, and Net Weight become more important at helping to find the correct product.
You may be able to find the required report yourself from your distributor portal, or you may need to request the report from your vendor.
This article contains a sample letter that you can adapt to your purpose: Sample Vendor Letter Requesting List of Items.
NOTE: This report must be in a format that can be opened within Excel. A PDF version will not work.
Prepare to Upload Report
Transfer Information Into Upload Template
Once you have the report, you will need to transfer it into the Vendor Item Upload Template.
You can access the latest version of the template at this article: Vendor Item Upload Template.
It can also be found directly within the application as an download link from within the first step of the Vendor Item Upload process.
The recommended process is to open both the report and the template in Excel, and then copy and paste between the two files.
NOTE: When you paste into the template, the recommended practice is to "Paste Values", which will retain all the formulas and data validations in the template.
One tab of the spreadsheet contains instructions for how the data from your Vendor Order Guide should be copied into the corresponding columns. You'll find a key for what columns have mandatory, recommended, and optional data. The more data you can enter into the spreadsheet for each item, the more streamlined the match/import process will be.
NOTE: Delete the items in rows 3-7 of the item list before uploading the file. These items should all have asterisks and say "EXAMPLE - DELETE ROW" in the Vendor Item Name column. These rows are only intended to provide users an example of the data type that should be entered into each column of the template.
Create a New Vendor
**You do not need to create a new Vendor each time you do a Vendor Item Upload. If the Vendor already exists, you can skip this section and move on to the next.
- From the Vendors Module, create a new Vendor by clicking on the [+] plus sign button on the bottom right-hand side of the Vendors tab. Click the [Add Vendor] button.
- In the first combobox, search through the list to see if one of the predefined vendors is in the list. If it is, this will make their exclusive brand products visible to you and possibly catalogs as well. If your vendor is not in the list, select "Other".
- Enter Vendor information into the pop-out window. The Vendor Name is a required field, all other fields are optional and can be edited/added/updated at any time. Click the [Save & Close] button when complete.
For predefined vendors, the chosen contract will appear as added when including a new vendor. Verify the information is correct and click the [Save & Close] button.
Start Upload Process
Once you have the template file ready to upload, you can begin the upload process.
- From the Vendors module located on the left-hand navigation bar, select the correct Vendor from the list.
- Click on the Items tab. Then click the [+] plus sign and click the [Upload Report] button to start the process.
- Click the Select File Icon. Locate the template file on your computer.
- If the vendor has a contract setup, select the contract for the vendor.
- Once this has been done, click the [Match Items] button on the top right hand side of your screen. This process can take several minutes depending on how many items are in the file. You can click [Refresh Page] button on the top right-hand side of your screen to refresh the screen.
The matching process looks for items within the N2F Database that have the same GTIN as the item in the file. If a Contract was selected, it will also search for items with the same Vendor Product ID.
NOTE: If you navigate away from this page, you may return to the upload by following the steps in Returning to an In-process Upload.
Preview and Fix Results
After the matching process has been completed, you will see the results of each row in the file and the status of that item. There will also be a summary at the top that shows the total count of each item.
The wizard shows the Status of each item based on automated data quality checks after the matching process or after the user has performed some action. Here's what they mean and how to handle them:
- No Match: This warning means the item isn't matched to a standardized record from the N2F Database. Click on the “Search N2F DB” link in the N2f Item Name column to access the N2F Database search tools to locate and select the appropriate item. This will fully enhance the record with information from the manufacturer. Refer to the Fixing "No Match" Errors Using Search N2F Database Tool article for detailed instructions.
- Bad Input Data: The data in the uploaded file is invalid and will need to be corrected on the file and re-imported to process this item. Refer to the Error: Bad Input Data section in the the Appendix for more details.
- Bad Item Data: This warning means that the matched item is missing critical data, such as Serving Size Weight, Calories, Sat Fat, or Sodium. Complete the item by entering the missing information by select "Edit Item Info" (or click the warning message). Refer to the Error: Bad Input Data section in the Appendix for more details.
- Match: Item has no warnings and is ready to process.
- Duplicate: The item already exists in the users Item Database from this Vendor and the existing item will be updated.
- Manual Item: The item was created manually and will be added to the database.
This column shows what will happen upon pressing "Process Upload".
- Add: A new item will be added to the item database.
- Update: The item already exists in the database and will be updated with a new vendor or price.
- Skip: This record will be skipped during the import.
After all Items on the Vendor Item List have been matched, manually added, or purposefully skipped, the upload is ready to be processed. Any Items with a Status of Add will be added during this process. Once the function is performed, the upload cannot be reversed and users can no longer abort the import.
- Review the Record Summary and ensure all expected Items have been Matched or Manually Added. Items with Bad Item Data and Bad Input Data will not be imported and will be skipped
- Click the [Process Upload] button when ready to process the Vendor Item Upload
- If the Upload doesn't automatically move into the Complete phase, click the [Refresh Page] button
- Review the completed upload summary and ensure all expected Items were Added or Updated. Download the Results in an Excel file if desired by clicking on the download icon in the Complete step box
Congratulations! You've successfully uploaded, matched, and processed your Vendor Items. This process will be repeated for all Vendor Item Lists for all Vendors. This process will also be repeated each year or when new items are ordered. If a single new item is ordered, it is unnecessary to go through the import process. Rather, District Admin users can add a single item (either via GDSN search, Generic search, or manually) by following the instructions here.
Returning to a Prior Upload
All uploads will be kept for a period of 30 days, after which they may be deleted. All uploads and their statuses (Preview Ready, Aborted, Complete) can be viewed from the Vendors module at any time within the 30 window. To view the upload history from the last 30 days:
- Click on the Vendors module from the left side menu panel
- Locate the vendor you'd like to view an upload history for and click on the Vendor name
- Click on the Items tab
- Click the View Upload History link
Aborting an Upload
Uploads can be aborted should the user decide they would like to abort the process and start over or abort the upload all together. Aborting an upload can only be done from the Preview Results stage. Once the upload has been processed (Process Upload or Compete stage), the upload can no longer be aborted. To abort an upload, from the Preview Results stage, click the [Abort Upload] button. A confirmation pop-up window will appear. Clicking the [Abort] button will abort the upload and no data will be processed or entered. Clicking the [Cancel] button will return to the list of matched/unmatched items and nothing will happen.
Error: Bad Input Data
Items at minimum must have a Vendor Item Name as provided on a Vendor's bid list or order guide. If this information is missing from the spreadsheet that gets uploaded during a Vendor Item Upload, that item will get tagged as having Bad Input Data and must be corrected.
- Items missing a Vendor Item Name will have no available actions the user can take to import the item. An item without a Vendor Item Name will always have an Action of Skip and will get skipped in the import/upload process
- To correct this issue, determine what the item in that was on the upload spreadsheet that was missing a Vendor Item Name. Enter a Vendor Item Name into the spreadsheet, remove the other items that didn't have an issue getting imported, and Save the changes to the spreadsheet
- Re-upload the spreadsheet and follow the workflow shown above for the type of item you're importing
Error: Bad Item Data
Items can be imported and run through the matching process but if they have any critical data from the manufacturer that is missing or bad, you'll be made aware of an issue and need to correct the issue before the Item can get imported into the local Item Database. Critical item data is data such as serving size, unit of measure, required nutrition information such as calories, saturated fat, or sodium, etc.
- Click on the Item Name link of the product that has a Status of "Bad Item Data"
- The Edit Matched Item Information screen will open. Toggle between the tabs (Item Info, Nutrients & Meal Components, and Inventory Setup) and locate any issues in the data
- Correct the issue by consulting your Vendor Item List, contacting the manufacturer, or reviewing the data from an Item Product Formulation Statement/Item Spec Sheet (note that there may be multiple errors or the different tabs and all will need to be corrected)
- Click the [Save & Close] button when all desired data has been entered and no red exclamation points remain
- If all errors have been fixed, then the Status will change to Matched
I Matched an Item to the Wrong Thing
During the upload process, it is possible to remove a match in the event a match was incorrectly made to the wrong product prior to processing the upload. To un-match an item, simply click on the red "X" corresponding to the item with the incorrect match. You will get a confirmation window to confirm you'd like to clear the clear the matched item. If the [OK] button is selected, the status of Match will change to No Match.
Once an upload has been processed, there will not longer be the ability to clear the match. Rather, the user will have to delete the item from the item database and re-add it either via a different Vendor Item Upload or by searching the N2F Database from the Item Database or the Vendors module.
What does the red "X" mean next to matched items?
The red "X" allows you to un-match a matched item. Clicking the red "X" will clear the matched item and allow a user to match the item to a different item by going through the matching process. When the red "X" is clicked, there will be a confirmation window pop-up to which warns the user of the action being taken before initiation. If the user selects [OK], the process will be performed. If the user selects [Cancel], nothing will happen and the user will be taken back to the list of matched/unmatched items from the upload.