The Food Distribution Program (FDP) module is a web-based, user friendly application that simplifies the management of the USDA Commodity distribution process. By leveraging the accessibility of the Internet, states can expect to drastically reduce the staff hours needed to manage the Program and schools can utilize the Internet to submit online orders and surveys, as well as review the data that was otherwise unavailable to them.
CTS has unequaled experience in the development of software products tailored to assist states in the management of federally funded Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Programs. We integrate emerging computer technologies with custom applications and system software to provide innovative, reliable, cost-effective and turnkey solutions. We have been developing Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Programs since 1994. Our software and services have been used in over half of the country. Our track record of outstanding services and products makes CTS a strong choice when planning to automate the Child Nutrition Programs.
Food Distribution System Key Features
- Calculate and distribute entitlement based on CNP claim data (if available)
- Track USDA ordering and receiving, interfacing to WBSCM
- Track entitlement usage at the school level
- Create online survey
- Allow schools to place and track orders
- Allow schools to order available Surplus Inventory online
- Manage warehouse inventory (supporting multiple warehouses)
- Generate online and printed shipping documents for use by Warehouse(s) (Bills of Lading, Warehouse Pick-lists)
- Manage direct diversions and direct shipments efficiently
- Generate invoicing documents and interface billing information
Ordering and Receiving
The Ordering and Receiving component has been designed to allow for flexibility when tracking inventory orders. Receiving new inventory is a simple two-step process. First, the warehouse receives the product via the Internet. Next, the state commits it to inventory and assigns it to a program or programs. In addition to tracking traditional USDA orders for commodities, orders that originate from other sources can also be tracked. (e.g., orders being received from processors as end product.)
Inventory Management Control
One of the key features of FDP is the way it tracks inventory. Inventory can be broken down by multiple warehouses and by unallocated or surplus levels within each warehouse. In addition to these inventory-tracking categories, total quantities on hand are tracked for each warehouse. is provides simple reporting capabilities when perpetual inventory counts are needed to reconcile inventory levels.
The commodity allocation process has been designed to allow for maximum flexibility when allocating commodities to participating sponsors. Both unallocated and surplus inventory can be allocated. The allocation process guides the user through a step-by-step process for allocating commodities. Once the allocation has been completed, the results can be reviewed before posting to production data. If the results are not satisfactory, the allocation can be cleared and processed again.
Special allocations are a mechanism for moving surplus commodities out of the warehouse. For many states, managing surplus commodities can be costly. FDP provides a mechanism for the listing of surplus commodities via the Internet, thereby allowing sponsors with Internet access to place orders against them. is means that sponsors can place orders against surplus commodities any time they need to.
We have found that the distribution process varies considerably among states. Some states may use their own warehousing and delivery facilities, while other states may choose to contract these services out to vendors. FDP has been designed to allow for as much flexibility as possible in this area. The Distribution Component takes advantage of the Internet by publishing information about sponsors’ allocations, and then allowing sponsors to utilize the Internet for placing orders against their allocations. is reduces the amount of data entry performed by state personnel. As long as the allocation has not been closed, sponsors can place their orders at their convenience. Since surplus commodities are published via the Internet, sponsors can also add items to their order and help reduce inventory levels at the same time.
FDP will allow states to survey sponsors via the Internet thereby allowing states to plan their commodity diversions to USDA approved processors. FDP offers a design that can be customized according to each state’s needs.
One of the more laborious tasks for any commodity program coordinator is knowing what and when to order from USDA. e Commodity Planning Component once again takes advantage of the Internet by allowing states to publish commodity surveys via the Internet. Once on the Internet, commodity surveys can be completed by sponsors, and then submitted to FDP for processing, which in turn becomes valuable information for placing orders with USDA.
Entitlement Monitoring & Tracking
FDP handles entitlement tracking internally. Each time an allocation or adjustment is made to a sponsor’s account, their entitlement is updated automatically. FDP also provides an interface for distributing state entitlement to sponsors using a fair-share allocation process that is based on each sponsor’s average daily participation (ADP).
FDP provides the capability of assessing a fee for various types of services provided by the State, and then producing invoices to offset the costs associated with these services. e billing cycle is an on-demand process initiated by the state. Once the process has been initiated, the system will produce invoices for each sponsor identified as owing a fee for services provided.