Friday, October 5, 2012

Supplier Community Update, October 2012

Welcome to the latest in our series of Supplier Community updates. We’ve been very busy since our July update, and have news to share with you regarding many initiatives designed to improve the ease and effectiveness of your interactions with our teams. This update covers developments in UNFI’s Supplier Relationship Management team, process improvements and tools, and UNFI program news.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Team Updates

Single Point of Contact for Suppliers

As we continue with our plan to provide each supplier with a single, national Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM), the current regional responsibilities of our SRM teams will be replaced with national responsibilities, regardless of the SRM’s geographic location.

  • To date, many of our largest suppliers have been migrated to a national UNFI SRM.
  • We have completed the move of our Kosher suppliers and category to Howard Breitowich.
  • We have completed the move of the Hispanic suppliers and category to Hector Muniz.
  • Our plan is to move additional suppliers and categories to national UNFI SRM assignments through October of this year. We will not make any changes during the months of November and December. In January 2013 we will continue the migration with an anticipated completion date of July 2013.
  • We have made a slight adjustment to our previously communicated plan and will make the following moves:
    • The Frozen and Perishable suppliers and categories will be transitioned in September-October
    • The Beverage and Snack suppliers and categories will be transitioned in October

Current SRM Assignments

Click here to view the current SRM supplier and category assignments.

Process Improvements & Updates

Key Contacts & Important Email Address – Quick Reference Guide

Click here for a quick reference guide of key contacts and email addresses for UNFI programs and processes - where to go and who to contact.  We will keep this guide updated and available as we continue to streamline processes. The UNFI Supplier Support Site will always have the most recent version. If you are ever uncertain of who to contact, please reach out to your Supplier Relationship Manager for assistance.

Consumer Circular Promotion Processing

With the recent creation of the UNFI National Promotions team, we have the opportunity to improve aspects of the regional Circular process. Beginning with January 2013 circulars, after obtaining SRM approval for the promotion, brokers and suppliers should submit all circular promotion forms to the National Promotions Team using or as appropriate. While the program is still marketed and priced regionally, the National Promotions Team will be managing the data prior to SRM review, applying additional analytics to increase the effectiveness of the promotional vehicle.

The newly developed 2013 Circular Form was created to identify advertising commitment levels up-front. Click here for a video tutorial on completing the form.

2013 Key UNFI Publication Dates for Supplier & Brokers

This schedule has been established so that UNFI and suppliers can service retailers with critical and timely information. It includes submission deadlines for price and pack changes, monthly specials promotions and advertising materials. We have made slight adjustments to the 2013 schedule to improve service. The following changes are reflected on the new schedule:
  • Ad/Insert deadlines have been moved up slightly to ensure materials are received in time for publication.
  • Suggested UNFI buy dates have been added.

Publication Advertising

Beginning with January 2013 publications, UNFI will no longer require an Ad Space/Insertion Reservation form. Please email a PDF of your ad or insert to on or before the deadline. Make sure you indicate the region and publication in your email.

New Item Setup Assistance

The National Supplier Development team will be offering webinar sessions for assistance and training on the new supplier and new item packet and required forms. To schedule training, choose a topic from the list below and email Training topics:
  • New Supplier Information Form and Documentation Required
  • New Item Form – all tabs
  • Supplier Product Certificates and Attachments Required
The National Supplier Development team is always available to answer specific questions or offer assistance when you are in the process of completing paperwork – just email us at The team is focused on efficient, accurate and timely set up of your approved new items, and we need your support in providing all the necessary information. Key information includes:

  • Product Label – The label must be submitted in original Adobe PDF format in flat form so all sides may be viewed. The product label is used by UNFI to verify data for our systems, including:
    • UPC for customer ordering
    • brand name to ensure correct UNFI catalog listing and retailer product recognition;
    • product storage temperature and proper handling requirements
    • label attribute claims such as Organic, Gluten Free, Fair Trade
    • product ingredient listing for our publications and customer website
  • Organic Certificates – Organic products are central to our industry and we are required by law to have documentation supporting the information we publish. Certificates must:
    • have a current date
    • list the product as described on the label including the brand and the size if multiple sizes are available
    • comply with FDA, NOP (National Organic Program) or EU (European Union) standards. Please visit the NOP website for complete information at
  • Supplier price list – A complete supplier price list showing cost information for all supplier warehouse locations. Remember this price list will be used by UNFI nationally - please provide a pricelist that we can use for all of our warehouse locations. The price list should include:
    • FOB cost
    • delivered price if available
    • bracket costs for volume purchases offered
  • Supplier specification sheet, to include:
    • item, inner and case dimensions
    • pack and inner pack size(s)
    • all applicable UPC codes for the item and/or case
    • gross case weight
    • product storage requirements

2013 Retail Category Review Schedule

Click here for our 2013 Category Review Schedule. Items for consideration in the review process may be submitted to your UNFI SRM no sooner than 120 days prior to the review release date. Final decisions will be made 60 days prior. This timeline allows the SRM and Retail Category Manager (RCM) time to consider and collaborate on trends, items and data to make the most informed decisions for the categories under review. Your participation is both encouraged and appreciated in this highly visible initiative for UNFI!

Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR) Updates

  • Purchasing/Inventory Levels: UNFI continues to build inventory at a rapid rate to support very strong sales. As a supplier, this build-up may be starting a bit earlier than you have previously experienced in the fall season, but is an indication of the strength of our industry and of UNFI’s strong product offering. We expect our purchases to continue at the existing, elevated, and likely even greater levels in the weeks to come, especially as we also build holiday inventories. Please revisit your production forecasts so you are aligned to service this demand.
  • New Guidelines for Temperature Controlled Deliveries: Our Transportation and Quality Control teams recently distributed HACCP plan requirements governing the delivery of temperature controlled food products. Please click here to review this communication.

Website Broker Directory for Retailers: At the request of our customers, we have created a Broker Directory which is posted on the UNFI Customer websites. The UNFI Sales Team also makes frequent use of the directory. The directory has 2 parts: the Broker Contact List and the Brand-Broker List. The Broker Contact List is also posted on the UNFI Supplier Support Site for the convenience of our suppliers who are seeking broker representation. The Directory will be updated quarterly. To ensure that your information is included, brokers should designate a contact person and provide that person’s name and email address to Valarie Rozokat, Updates will be posted in January, April, July and October. Deadline for changes and additions is the first of the previous month (i.e. December 1 for January update).

Website Product Information and Images: To ensure that retailers have access to the correct information about your products, please send updates and changes to your product packaging, ingredients or nutritional panel to High resolution images may be sent to

 Program Updates

2013 Annual Advertising Agreement

Our Annual Advertising Program  allows the most cost effective access to the Monthly Specials Catalog, Triannual Catalog and New Arrivals marketing vehicles. Key program highlights:
  • The Monthly Specials is the Retailer’s primary source for promotional and new product information. Over 10,000 distributed nationally each month.
  • The Triannual Catalog is the Retailer’s primary reference guide and ordering tool. Over 12,000 distributed nationally with each publication (3 times/year).
  • The New Arrivals program is a weekly email sent to customers announcing hot new items. The program is designed to generate excitement and awareness with retailer partners about new items

Market Watch™
We continue to experience tremendous growth with our supermarket accounts! UNFI’s new Market Watch™ marketing vehicle has been designed to deliver promotions, new items, education and merchandising tools to this growing channel. The first (electronic) edition of Market Watch™ launched for November 2012 – January 2013 and the first printed edition will be available in mid-October for February – March 2013 planning. In developing the Market Watch™ program, we have incorporated feedback from our Supplier and Broker partners. As part of the program’s enhancement, suppliers may submit their own ads for the Market Watch™ publication to Click here for updated details and specifications.

Thank you for your support of UNFI. We welcome your feedback as we continue our focus on improving our processes and approach to ensure mutual success.


John Raiche
Vice President, Marketing


Friday, July 6, 2012

UNFI Supplier Community Update, July 2012

Welcome to our second Supplier Community update. We have significant updates to the initiatives discussed in our May 2012 communication as well as new information on Category Reviews, Certificates of Insurance, the UNFI Supplier Support Site and an introduction to Market Watch - a new publication for supermarkets.

Here are updates on the supply chain project initiatives previously outlined:

1. Streamline Supplier Contacts

Our ultimate goal is to provide each supplier with a single, national Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM). As we migrate to this structure, the current regional responsibilities of our SRM teams will be replaced with national responsibilities, regardless of the SRM’s geographic location.

  • To date, many of our largest suppliers have been migrated to national SRM responsibilities.
  • Our plan is to migrate up to several SRMs to national responsibilities each month, with an estimated completion date of August 1, 2013.
    • In July and August, we will transition the Kosher category and suppliers to Howard Breitowich, and the Hispanic category and suppliers to Hector Muniz.
    • The Beverage and Snack categories will be transitioned in September, followed by Frozen and Perishables in October.

2. Improve Support and Streamline Processes for New Suppliers/New Items

  • Our new item process continues to improve. We have simplified our forms, and added a simple to use checklist. We’ve also developed instructional videos to help guide you through the process. The videos can be accessed on our Supplier Support Site at
  • New item setup time has been reduced by 40%, down to a current 17 day average. We expect additional improvement as new resources and process come online.
  • We welcome Nancy Semmelrock to the newly created position of National Supplier Development Manager. Nancy reports directly to Marc Ghidotti, National Vice President Supplier Relationship Management, and will assist in improving supplier and item onboarding. Nancy has been with UNFI since 1989, and is well known as a team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • The new Supplier Development team is in the final stages of rollout. Four New Item Support Specialists (2 East, 2 West) will report to Nancy. We expect to have open positions filled by July 31.
  • Suppliers and brokers needing assistance with UNFI new item paperwork or the Supplier Portal Item Set Up Form will have an additional point of contact for help. Webinars and in-house invitational training sessions will be made available. Complete contact information will be shared shortly.
  • Nancy can be reached by phone at 860-779-2800 extension 32283, or email
  • Supplier information and current UNFI forms may be accessed directly on UNFI’s Supplier Support Site at which you can also reach via the UNFI web site, (click “More” in the Suppliers box on the home page).
  • Tips for successful new supplier and new item submissions:

3. Improve Execution of Promotions

Effective and well-executed promotions are essential to our mutual business. We are taking steps to better support this vital strategic component.

  • Gabe Viteri has been promoted to National Promotions Manager. Gabe started with UNFI in early 2007, and has held numerous positions in Purchasing and Business Analysis related to execution of promotional programs. His contact information: (401)528-8634 extension 32503, or email
  • The National Promotions department has been created to facilitate promotional processing. With the help of the Broker and Supplier community, the newly dedicated personnel will receive, analyze, and ensure the accurate and timely content for our publications. Below is the current structure of the National Promotions department:

  • With the support of these recently appointed associates, UNFI will be able to improve overall execution of promotions. Effective immediately, promotions for Monthly Specials, Case Stacks, and Circulars should be sent to the applicable National Promotions team email address indicated on each new 2013 form, and recapped below:
Monthly Specials

Case Stacks


  • Our new forms have each been built with simplicity in mind. We have minimized data entry, incorporated data validation, and highlighted required sections.
  • The National Promotional Form (for Monthly Specials and Case Stacks) is available on our Supplier Support Site, as is the Circular Form.
  • An instructional video for each form will be available with the forms on our Supplier Support Site.
  • The Promotions team will confirm receipt of each promotion and ensure publication. All efforts will be made to resolve any issues or concerns related to data within the form(s) as quickly as possible in order to meet the deadlines for print.
  • Previously submitted promotions for 2013 do not need to be resubmitted to the National Promotions team.
  • A revised 2013 Promotions Deadlines Schedule is available on our Supplier Support Site. This schedule supersedes ALL previously published schedules.
  • UNFI’s promotional process will continue to incorporate additional promotional venues as the needs of our mutual retail partners evolve. With the dedicated resources of the newly established National Promotions team, UNFI will be better able to source the appropriate item mix for our various publications, perform promotional lift analysis, monitor promotional occurrence of our brands, and proactively alert our buying staff of potential inventory issues surrounding future promotional items.

There are a number of new topics we wish to share information on as well:

1. Category Reviews

Some suppliers have expressed concern that our new category review process will mean new items may only be considered once per year based upon our review calendar. That is not the case! We will consider new items at any time, and strongly encourage you to share your new product plans with us as early in your process as possible.

The Category Review process provides UNFI with the opportunity to review each category annually with an unbiased view of the marketplace. We look at each category by region, using syndicated data as a guide to help us make well-informed quantitative decisions. We also incorporate regional trend information as well as insights arising from our own internal data and trends to ensure that we are carrying the right mix of product for our customer base.

We value the insight from our supplier partners and encourage participation in the beginning of the review process to ensure that we have a well-rounded perspective as we make decisions on assortment. Please send relevant information to your SRM no later than 60 days prior to the scheduled release of the review. Click here to view the schedule. We would appreciate trend information, new items, supplier rankings, consumer insights and decision trees for the category under review. All suppliers are encouraged to participate in the process; please set up an appointment with your SRM to discuss.

2. Important Information About Certificates of Insurance

A Certificate of Insurance or “COI”, is a document that outlines the types of insurance coverage a supplier has, and demonstrates to retailers that the supplier stands behind their products. Many retailers demand all their suppliers have valid COI’s in place. Lack of a current, valid COI precludes UNFI from selling the supplier’s products. When requesting a COI from your insurer or submitting one to UNFI, please be sure that all information is correct and complete, in accordance with UNFI’s requirements.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see:

  • The COI has improper coverage and/or limits – Requirements are $5 million on all raw and/or par cooked (fresh and frozen) meats & seafood; $5 million on all supplements, vitamins or oral homeopathics; and $2 million on all other products.
  • The COI has expired.
  • UNFI is not properly named as an additional insured on the COI. The description box should state United Natural Foods and its affiliates are additional insured and/or the “Additional Insured” or “AI” box on the COI should be checked.
  • The COI fails to reflect Waiver of Subrogation and cancellation notice (subject to state laws). The description box on the COI should contain a waiver of subrogation (wording can simply reflect “Waiver of Subrogation applies”).
  • The COI has an incorrect address in the Certificate Holder box. The correct address is: United Natural Foods Inc. and its affiliates, 313 Iron Horse Way, Providence, RI. 02908
When submitting COI’s please fax to 866-768-8169 or email to (please note the underscore between words). If you have question, please contact Kristin Andreozzi, at

3. UNFI Website Supplier Support

UNFI’s newly re-designed website includes features dedicated to supporting our suppliers: the UNFI Supplier Support Site, the UNFI Transportation Management System for inbound freight, and a link to these Supplier Community Updates. To access these features, go to and click on “More” in the Suppliers block.

The UNFI Supplier Support Site mentioned throughout this communication is a searchable knowledge base where you will find UNFI forms, instructions and information. The site includes forms for new approved item and supplier set-up, promotions and price changes, SRM and Marketing contacts, information about UNFI trade and consumer marketing programs and more. You can access the site directly at or via the Suppliers area of the UNFI website.

Our intention is to make the site a time-saving 24/7 first stop for information about doing business with UNFI. Suggestions for the site may be emailed to

4. Market Watch™

As we continue to enjoy growth with supermarkets in all product categories (natural, specialty, ethnic and gourmet), we have identified a need to develop a marketing tool targeted to the unique needs of our supermarket customers. Market Watch™ will feature promotions, new items education and merchandising tools geared towards this developing channel, starting with a February/March 2013 edition.

Publication highlights:

  • A seasonally focused Supermarket Publication
  • Significant lead time provides ample opportunity for Supermarkets to plan a complete seasonally appropriate marketing program for their store(s)
  • Promotional deals reflected in $ off Net Discount
  • Attractive, 4 color publication with theme and product category delineation
  • Supports planning with educational information, trends and planograms
  • 5 Editions available: Feb-Mar 2013; Apr-May 2013; Jun-Aug 2013; Sep-Oct 2013; Nov 2013-Jan 2014

Sign up today! Deadline for the Feb-Mar 2013 edition is July 27, 2012. Information and sign up forms are available via the following link Please contact your SRM for more information and additional sign up details.

Thank you for your support of UNFI. We welcome your feedback as we focus on continuously improving our processes and approach to ensure mutual success.

John Raiche
Vice President, Marketing

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

UNFI Supplier Community Update, May 2012

Welcome to the first of an ongoing series of quarterly communications designed to share UNFI supply chain initiatives and information with our supplier and broker partners. Our focus will be on topics and information that will be useful for your organization in working with the UNFI team.

As background, here is a quick review of UNFI’s supply chain organization:
·    Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM) – The SRM “owns” the supplier relationship for UNFI. Key job responsibilities include item mix decisions (new item commitments, discontinuation decisions), development of the proper marketing approach, inclusive of promotions and marketing vehicles, and managing pricing. The SRM team is managed by Marc Ghidotti, VP SRM, and two regional Directors: Melissa Angle, East and Chris Depetris, West.
·    Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR) – Often referred to as simply the Buyer, key job responsibilities include creating Purchase Orders to ensure UNFI has the right amount of product in the right place at the right time, and managing the logistics from supplier to UNFI dock. This team is managed by Rick Moller, VP Inventory Planning with Melissa Christian, Director, Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR).
·     Retail Category Manager (RCM) – The RCM is a customer-facing category manager who is focused on maximizing the sales of our retail partners. RCM’s provide consulting, market insights, and merchandising support to retailers. This team informs SRM item mix decision through in-depth analysis of internal and external market data.  This team is managed by Kirsten Hogan, VP RCM.

UNFI Supply Chain Projects
In recent months UNFI’s supply chain team has been very busy with numerous projects designed to improve our performance with both our supplier and retail customer partners. These projects include:

Streamline Supplier Contacts
·    Our ultimate goal is to provide each supplier with a single, national SRM.  As we migrate to this structure, the current regional responsibilities of our SRM teams will be replaced with national responsibilities, regardless of the SRM’s geographic location. We anticipate this move to benefit suppliers in several ways; by drastically reducing the number of suppliers on each SRM’s desk, each supplier will receive much greater focus and attention. The change will also significantly reduce the workload for suppliers by eliminating the need to present new items, promotions, and other communications to multiple UNFI regions.
·    In the past month, we have begun transitioning some of our larger supplier partners to this model. More suppliers will be introduced to this model over time, with our entire supplier base eventually transitioning over a period of twelve months or more.

·    An immediate step we have taken is to streamline supplier contacts within each UNFI region, so that each supplier is assigned to only one SRM per region.  Click here for a current list of suppliers with regional SRM assignments.

Improve Support and Streamline Processes for New Suppliers / New Items
We recognize that new items are the lifeblood of our industry and are taking steps to speed up the new item process and smooth the way for new suppliers:  
·    The SRM structure allows us to address new items in a much more proactive manner. We want your new item presentations as early as possible - when contacting your SRM to arrange presentations, please use the following guidelines:
·      If you are a current supplier submitting a new item please contact the East or West SRM who is assigned to you as your single point of contact for the region.
·      If you are a new supplier with a new item submission please contact the appropriate East or West SRM based on the category assignments for each region. Click here for UNFI SRM Category Assignments. 
·    We’re streamlining our new item setup processes, and have already reduced our internal processing time from 8 weeks to 4 weeks, and are poised to further reduce the timeline significantly in the coming weeks.
·    We are establishing a new team, headed by a National Supplier Development Manager, with multiple dedicated support staff members. We anticipate these positions to be filled by mid-June, and will communicate contact info to you as soon as possible. The team’s focus will be on onboarding new suppliers and ensuring prompt item setup. This group will support the SRM team, and will assist in executing new item commitments made by the SRM’s.
·    We’ve changed our policy on first payments to new suppliers. Payments will be issued within 60 days, without exception.

Improve Execution of Promotions
Effective and well executed promotions are essential to our mutual success.  We are taking steps to better support this vital strategic component.
·    As with the new item process, we will soon be adding significant new dedicated resources, including a National Promotions Manager, and regional support staff in order to better execute our promotions processes. These positions will be filled by the end of May, and contact information will be shared with you as soon as possible.
·    As noted above, the assignment of a single SRM for each line regionally will be very beneficial in streamlining the communication and processing of promotions between your team and UNFI.
Improve Discontinuation Process
UNFI has implemented a robust annual category review process, executed by the RCM team. Click here for a calendar detailing the review schedule. UNFI’s approach going forward is to combine a deep analysis of all available data with trend and category insights to reach a well-rounded understanding of the category and consumer behavior. Adjustments to our mix and merchandising recommendations will be based on this strategic view of the category.  We will not identify items for discontinuation based solely on movement.

We appreciate your ongoing support of UNFI.  We welcome your feedback as we focus on continuously improving our processes and approach to ensure mutual success.

John Raiche
Vice President, Marketing