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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