Focus Group Members Connect to Discuss Solicitation Process

A little over a week ago, the first official focus group meeting took place. Focus Group Schools agreeing to participate in the focus group gathered on a conference call. While the service cooperatives’ got the group up to speed on what the cooperatives’ have been doing over the summer, there was great discussion in regards to what Minnesota schools want out of their prime food distributor. For a quick recap of the meeting, follow the highlights below.

Getting Up to Speed

  • The cooperatives’ met with 26 different manufacturers and brokers this summer to learn more about their side of the food industry and how it relates to K12.
  • The cooperatives’ hosted an in-person distributor meeting in August 2017. Ten different distributors attended to learn about the cooperative, the solicitation process and the value of the program.
  • The cooperatives’ has been working with 87 schools to complete their Letters’ of Commitments along with gathering information such as delivery needs, usage/velocity reports and financial reports. *Usage/velocity reports severely influence the total volume for all participants. The cooperatives’ stated schools not submitting their usage reports will directly impact the discounts offered by manufacturers and brokers.

Service Zones
The cooperatives’, based on conversations with distributors and logistics composed around route structure have divided the state of Minnesota into four (4) service zones.  Click here for a map laying out the service zones and highlighting which schools belong to each zone. For a closer look at which districts are participating, visit our interactive map.

Focus Group Responsibilities
The focus group for the solicitation was made up of food service directors, business managers, and superintendents, all of which have a direct impact on a schools’ child nutrition program. Members of the focus group will be required to review solicitation documents, provide input and feedback on various items. These members will be the initial group that will evaluate qualified responses from vendors and make recommendations for live vendor presentations.

If you would like to be part of the focus group, please let me know by sending an email to [email protected].

As we move into the draft and development stage of the RFP, please review the updated timeline posted below.

November 2017 – December 2017: draft and development stage of RFP documents.

  • January 2018 – February 2018: release of RFP.
  • March 2018: due date, evaluations, presentations, and award(s) made
  • April 2018: NDESC to execute contract and awarded distributor(s) to start implementation/onboarding plans for any schools making a shift to a new distributor.
  • July 2018: official contract start date.