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’, 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.
Many of you might wonder what the roles, duties, and responsibilities of the focus groups are when it comes to the solicitation process. Focus groups are composed of school personnel who are wanting to provide feedback on the solicitation process, assist in developing the terms and conditions, creating the product specification list(s), evaluating responses and recommending vendors for live presentations.
How much time will it take?
Members of the focus groups are not required to drive X amount of miles to attend focus group meetings. The cooperatives will make accommodations for those who are not able to attend in person (when applicable). A majority of focus group meetings will occur over webinar, conference call and/or email. Focus group participants, however, do have to commit to responding to the cooperative within a timely manner when requested (i.e. evaluations due, review of the RFP drafts, providing feedback, etc.).
Interested in Participating in the Focus Group?
If you haven’t already signed up through the Letter of Commitment to be part of the focus group, contact Lisa Truax at [email protected] and she’ll send you the required paperwork to be an active member in the focus group.
What to expect next?
Once the Letter of Commitment deadline has passed (September 29, 2017), the cooperative will begin communication with the focus group or groups. Depending on the number of those wanting to participate and their representation, the cooperative may create smaller focus groups depending on the service zone(s) created for this solicitation. Meetings (in-person, webinar, and conference call) dates and times will be scheduled and coordinated with the focus group(s).