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