Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013

April 2013 Supplier Community Update

Welcome to the latest in our series of Supplier Community updates. This update covers developments in UNFI’s Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) team, process updates, new distribution center information, and technology projects now underway that will improve our performance for both suppliers and customers.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Team Update

Single Point of Contact for Suppliers

It’s official! We have completed the process to provide every supplier with a single point of contact at UNFI. The goal of this Supplier-SRM alignment is to streamline communication, increase efficiencies, and develop engaged relationships to mutually grow our businesses. Click here for a list of Supplier-National SRM assignments, and SRM contact information.

New SRM Team Members

We’re happy to introduce our newest SRM team members:

Valarie Rozokat assumed SRM responsibilities on March 4, 2013. For the past 10 years, Valarie has been a Marketing Program Manager at UNFI, managing programs such as Annual Advertising Agreements, the Customized Marketing Program and our Holiday Editions, to name a few. Prior to joining UNFI in 2003, Valarie worked for Northeast Cooperatives as their Publications Supervisor. Valarie has a strong background in the industry, and a skill set that will be a great asset to the Supplier Relationship Management Team. Valarie will be transitioning into her new role over the course of the next few months and will take on the water, salad dressings and seasonings, extracts, and packaged salts categories.

Bob Meyer will be joining the team on April 8, 2013 as our Customer Program Manager, a newly created position that will focus on customer-specific programs to ensure our supplier and broker partners are compliant with the programs established by our retailer partners. It is our intention that this position will maximize transparency and clarity of our customers’ program requirements. Bob most recently held the position of Supply Chain Manager for TriMark United East, in Attleboro, MA where, for the past 13 years, he was responsible for the development of key processes to improve procurement practices. Bob is a highly skilled individual with depth in negotiation, analytics and process development. Bob will be a great addition to SRM team and we look forward to having him onboard.

Please join us in welcoming Valarie and Bob to our team. We continue to be very pleased with our progress and appreciate all the support from our Supplier and Broker partners as we develop the SRM team.

Process Updates

New Item and New Supplier Form Updates

UNFI’s New Supplier Form and New Item Form have been updated to include additional fields for warehouse address and information. The forms also include more detailed instructions.

Changes to the New Supplier Form:
  • Additional fields have been added for warehouse address, delivery and order desk information.
Changes to the New Item Form, Basic Information Sheet include:
  • Additional fields have been added for regional warehouse addresses
  • New product promotional fields have been updated
  • Category, beverage information and shelf life details reorganized for easier use and entry
  • A check box has been added to indicate type of distributor cost entered (fob or delivered)

A detailed review of all the changes is available on the UNFI Supplier Support Site at

The new forms are available on the UNFI Supplier Support Site at:

Price Change Blackout Period 

In working with our retail partners, we have found that to best service and meet their requirements during the peak Fall Holiday selling season, we cannot accept price changes with effective dates of October 1st – December 31st. All price changes must be received and implemented before or after this period. Price changes submitted by July 1 will be made effective for October 1. Price changes submitted after July 1 will not take effect until January 1.

New Distribution Centers 

UNFI continues to invest significant resources into building out the most extensive and efficient natural, organic, and specialty distribution network in the country. New distribution centers in Colorado, Wisconsin and New York are under development.

Denver, CO

The construction of our new Denver Distribution Center is on schedule for completion and migration of our operations by June 16, 2013. Located at 17901 East 40th Avenue, Aurora CO, 80011, the new facility features:
  • Over 500,000 total square feet, with 135,000 square feet of refrigeration and 50,000 square feet of freezer space
  • LEED certification
  • Zero waste, single stream recycling
  • On-site truck maintenance, washing and fueling facilities
  • A fully mechanized repack area

We thank all our suppliers who have offered us a one-time initial stocking order discount and extended terms. Your support is greatly appreciated.

UNFI’s Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR) team will begin ordering for the new facility in late April and early May, and will provide you with the delivery location based on our conversion dates for specific categories of products.  Be sure to inform your shipping department and carriers of the change.

Our SRM team and other office personnel will begin to move to the new location starting 5/18.  Supplier and broker appointments will not be available from 5/15 to 6/1.  Please be sure that all samples and correspondence sent for arrival on or after 5/18 are sent to the new address: 17901 East 40th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80011.   If you have any questions about the move to our new Denver facility, please contact your Supplier Relationship Manager.

Racine, WI

In January 2013, UNFI announced plans to build a new 425,000 square foot distribution center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, just west of Racine. Construction will begin in the summer of 2013, and we expect to begin distribution during the summer of 2014. UNFI's Racine facility will support growth, eliminate the need for outside storage, and reduce the stress on our other Midwest DCs during peak volume periods.

Hudson Valley, NY

Breaking news! UNFI announces plans for a new distribution center in Montgomery, New York. This distribution center will be known as UNFI Hudson Valley and is located about 70 miles north of New York City. Our Hudson Valley DC will augment UNFI’s already formidable Northeast assets and will not replace any current UNFI distribution center. Our plan is to have this facility operational by Fall 2014.

Supply Chain Transformation Update

UNFI continues to make progress towards transforming our supply chain platform and toolset. This effort has been brought together in a company-wide initiative known as Thrive, Moving Forward. Growing Together. While certainly technology centric, this initiative touches every aspect and functional area of our organization.

The Thrive initiative will:
  • Optimize our customer experience
  • Transform our Supply Chain
  • Enhance our processes
  • Reinvent our technology
  • Grow our business
  • Nurture our purpose and culture 
Click here to see a short video from Sean Griffin, UNFI Group President and Kevin Kelly, UNFI Corporate Director of National Accounts, explaining UNFI’s Thrive initiative.

Inventory Optimization (IO) Update

We are now using the new Manhattan Inventory Optimization (IO) system in UNFI’s West Region! As we announced in January, IO is a sophisticated, exception-based forecasting system that allows us to better manage and optimize inventory levels. With the new system in place, purchasing patterns will be more efficient and seasonally accurate, and buyers will monitor exceptions only, instead of all SKUs.
All buyers in Rocklin, Aurora, and Auburn have been trained and certified in the new system and are ready to answer your questions. With the new system, buyers’ jobs, and hence their interactions with you, will change.
  • IO will enable all buyers to purchase on an exception basis, managing to the most economical order cycle, while enhancing service levels.
  • IO will allow buyers to find the right balance between service level and warehouse inventory to ensure higher fill rates, less overstocked inventory, and stronger growth for all stakeholders.
  • With IO, buyers will have the ability to understand truly seasonal items and build inventory going into the season and decrease inventory coming out of the season.
Migration activities began on March 25, and will continue over the course of the next 4 months. This extended conversion period allows us to validate and improve existing relationships and patterns:
  • Buyers will ensure all SKUs are attached to the correct supplier relationship.
  • Each SKU will be individually examined to ensure the seasonal profiles are accurate, and that the parameters used to determine order quantity and frequency are up-to-date and in line with supplier specifications.
Throughout this conversion process you will experience only minor changes.
  • POs will not change. These come from our West Region business system, so whether you receive POs by EDI, fax or email you will see no change.
  • IO will suggest the optimum order cycle based on all of its financial parameters.
  • For suppliers with fixed pick-up or standing delivery schedules, nothing should change as those constraints still exist.
  • You may see a change to historical ordering patterns as IO will order to a fixed order cycle or to protect service level. This could mean that you receive POs more often than “normal” if needed. 

UNFI buyers will be able to accommodate all lead times, promotions and price brackets within the IO system. The more precise and accurate the information you provide to us, the more precise and accurate our purchases will be.

More information is available to you on the IO web page at If you have questions, please speak to your buyer directly, or email us at

Enterprise Item Number (EIN) Update

EIN – The Foundation for Thrive

The first step in enabling the delivery of the projects in the Thrive portfolio is to create a single, Enterprise Item Number (EIN) at UNFI. This will be achieved by implementing a new, 6-digit item number in the West region which will match the existing 6-digit number in the East region.

What Does this Mean for You?

If you currently use the existing West region 5-digit item number in any of your processes, you will be impacted by the change to a new 6-digit item number. The change to the West region item number is scheduled to occur later this year. Be assured that UNFI has developed a robust outreach program to make certain that you will have all of the information you need to guide you through the change.

Supplier Outreach 

We have developed a comprehensive supplier outreach plan to ensure that we keep you informed about the upcoming change and provide the information you need to help you through the change. Over the coming months, we will be distributing monthly EIN Bulletins, FAQs, leadership messages and posting EIN news and information on our EIN web page at

Click here for the April 2013 Enterprise Item Number information sheet.

Please keep visiting UNFI’s Thrive and Enterprise Item Number web pages at for updates on this important initiative.

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 of Marketing