Let me tell you, the geek-out was in full effect. I smiled, nodded and sipped my cold beverage as they waxed statistical about things like BABIP, OBP, SIERA and WAR—all sabermetrics, a framework that applies statistical analysis to baseball records to gauge individual player performance.
I thought it was cool that there seemed to be a standard way insiders had of talking about the game in detail. They could communicate much more information more quickly as they chattered about stats in these terms, instead of trying to spit out phrases like “batting average on balls in play” between bites of their burgers. Their common language facilitated the smooth, rapid exchange of volumes of detailed data over the course of the afternoon.
In developing sabermetrics, somebody (the Society for American Baseball Research, actually) took the time to determine what were appropriate things to measure in a baseball game, the methods for measuring and what the measures should be called—so there could be a common language and an objective basis for evaluation.
I was a few steps behind as my friends tossed around their baseball jargon (those who know me know I am way more of a cycle and surf enthusiast), but I couldn’t help but keenly pick up on how these baseball metrics and terms work the same way one of my geek-out projects—the SIDI Protocol—works.
SIDI, which stands for “Standardized Information on Dietary Ingredients,” details the type and scope of information that an ingredient supplier typically needs to provide to a product manufacturer in a standardized format, as opposed to non-standardized, customer-specific questionnaires.
I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a science and regulatory nerd. I enjoy when experts come together to parse out details and develop the kind of objective building blocks for data that, when considered in the aggregate, drive growth, raise efficiency and ignite innovation. This is what we in the SIDI Work Group—comprised of staff and member experts from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)—did to create the updated SIDI Protocol 3.0 released this week.
The SIDI Protocol 3.0 is the work-product of supply chain experts aiming to harmonize format cacophony and “inside baseball”-speak, so that when manufacturers ask suppliers for technical ingredient information, suppliers can quickly provide a dietary ingredient’s data as outlined in the protocol. And manufacturers can anticipate the type of information they’ll receive, since everyone is working from the same playbook.
First published in 2006, with revisions in 2008, this 2018 version now addresses the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements. With both suppliers and manufacturers accepting a standardized format, SIDI streamlines the information exchange.
At the game I thought that, for a supplier, SIDI would be a bit like me having a sabermetrics glossary at the baseball game to help explain all of the different terms, scenarios and variables that can happen when, for example, bases are loaded, it’s the bottom of the ninth inning—and you find out that the Echinacea that you just received is the wrong species and won’t be able to make it to the plate. That botanical reference may have come out of left field, but it speaks to how a manufacturer applying the SIDI Protocol during ingredient procurement could avoid curveballs like that.
The game was exciting. It ended in extra innings with slugger Bryce Harper tying the game in the ninth and wining it in the tenth, saving pitcher Max Scherzer from the loss against his hometown team, the Cardinals, as he hit a benchmark 250 strikeouts for the season. Another illustration of how synergy among ingredient suppliers and manufacturers, just like the synergy of offense and defense on the field, can yield big wins. SIDI helps foster that synergy.
Most ingredient suppliers recognize the need to provide comprehensive ingredient information to the manufacturer. However, they can receive such a high volume of customer questionnaires that it can be difficult to quickly provide information for each customer’s specific questionnaire. Since these questionnaires seek similar ingredient quality and regulatory information, the use of a standardized format is beneficial, efficient and user-friendly for both suppliers and manufacturers.
Supply chain managers feeling today’s increased pressure to get their ingredients and products to the marketplace rapidly, while maintaining a high level of integrity, should get to know SIDI. I encourage you to download the SIDI Protocol 3.0—it’s available free at www.SIDIWorkGroup.com. You may just end up being MVP at your company.
About the author: Duffy MacKay, N.D., is the senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).