Thursday, June 27, 2013

July 2013 - UNFI Supplier Community Update

Welcome to our July 2013 Supplier Community update, one in a regular series of communications designed to keep our supplier and broker partners in the loop on the latest UNFI news. This update covers new faces on the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) team, process updates, Thrive technology projects, and the latest news on our marketing programs, communications and events.

SRM Team Updates

Introducing Our Newest SRM Team Members:

Lisa Madsen, a longtime key UNFI associate, has joined the team as a Supplier Relationship Manager.  Lisa began her career with Select Nutrition in 1991, where she held various roles of increasing importance, including Buyer, Purchasing Manager, and Vice President of Purchasing and Marketing. In 2004, Lisa relocated to Dayville, CT as the Director of Business Analysis for Select Nutrition. Most recently, Lisa held the position of Director of Sustainability, Philanthropy and Internal Communications. Lisa’s extraordinary experience in supplier relations, budgeting, promotional planning, and marketing make her a tremendous addition to the group. Lisa is responsible for Personal Care suppliers and products.

Wendy Savoie will be joining the SRM Team on July 22 as a Supplier Relationship Manager.  Wendy is also a veteran UNFI associate, with a deep and diverse background. She began her career here in 1997, and has held various roles of increasing importance, including Sales Assistant, Promotions and Logistics Coordinator, Outside Sales Rep and Key Account Manager. Wendy then transitioned to the Finance department as a Corporate Staff Accountant. Wendy left UNFI briefly to spend time at home with her two young boys. Upon her return, she joined the Marketing team as the National Marketing Manager for UNFI’s National Supplier Marketing Programs. Wendy’s diverse work experience, significant system knowledge and strong supplier relationships will be a great contribution to the team. Wendy will have responsibility for the suppliers and products within the cookies and crackers categories. Until July 22, Jacquelyn Schneider will be covering those categories. 

Dan Bowersett has been promoted into a new role as our National SRM Analyst Manager. Dan joined UNFI in 2007 as a National Marketing Analyst. Dan’s significant system knowledge, analytical experience and attention to detail, make him a natural fit for this position. He has played an integral part in the development of many supplier reporting tools, including our premier ClearVue® reporting suite, and is presently heading up national SRM reporting efforts. Dan recently received a MBA from Nichols College in Dudley, MA.

SRM Line Assignment Update

Nora Cline has taken on the pet supplies and pet food categories. Nora has significant knowledge and familiarity with these categories which will facilitate a seamless transition. 

Single Point of Contact

As reported in our April update, we have successfully completed the process to provide every supplier with a single point of contact at UNFI.  Going forward, we will continue to focus on streamlining communication, increasing efficiencies and developing engaged relationships to mutually grow our business.

The current category and line assignments and SRM contact information is available on the UNFI Supplier Support site.

Process Updates

2014 Supplier and Broker Schedule Now Available

The 2014 schedule provides the lead time needed for UNFI and suppliers to successfully coordinate promotions with retailers.

The 2014 schedule is available on the Supplier Support site, as is our 2014 National Promotion Form.

UNFI strongly encourages brokers and suppliers to coordinate quarterly promotional plans with their UNFI SRM. Quarterly planning with UNFI facilitates retailer planning and effective consumer promotions. All Trade Deal promotions and revisions should be coordinated through and in accordance with the 2014 schedule.

New Product Introduction Requirements

Our retail partners are very interested in supporting new products. A product’s ingredients are a crucial factor in their evaluation of a new item.

An effective launch of new items includes the presentation in the New Product Section of the UNFI Monthly Specials books. Only new items with ingredients will be published in the New Products Section. Suppliers must provide legible ingredient statements for publication.
  • New items with ingredients will be published in the New Products Section of the Monthly Specials.
  • New items without ingredients will appear only as a line-listing within the body of the Monthly Specials.
Ensure an effective launch by providing legible ingredients with your new item setup information. Provide either an actual product label or a word or excel document with the list of ingredients exactly as they appear on the product label.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Supplier Relationship Manager. 

Thrive – UNFI’s Supply Chain Transformation Initiative

Enterprise Item Number (EIN) Update

Our April communication provided an introduction to EIN. Here are the latest updates:
  • Conversion Timeframe and Logistics: The go-live date has been extended from late 2013 to a date yet to be determined in 2014.
  • Conversion to EIN: UNFI is working to finalize the conversion plan and deployment schedule for Customers and Suppliers by the end of August. Upon finalization, your SRM will provide you with information and support to prepare you for the transition to EIN.  
  • EIN Learning Center: As part of our outreach and support, the Thrive team plans to launch the EIN Learning Center in July. This web-based, one-stop shop will provide training guides, archived news and communications, and an item number translation file mapping UNFI’s West region 5-digit numbers to the 6-digit EIN numbers.
Please continue to visit UNFI’s Enterprise Item Number webpage for the latest news on this important initiative. Should you have questions concerning EIN, please contact us at
IPAR and Inventory Optimization (IO) Update

IO, a sophisticated exception-based forecasting system, is now in use by UNFI’s Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR) team in our West region. Following go-live, we began working to convert all SKUs from our old system to IO. The conversion process is now complete and we are placing all POs in the West from IO.

This tool will enable UNFI buyers to purchase on an exception basis, managing to the most economical order cycle, while enhancing service levels. It will help buyers to find the right balance between service level and warehouse inventory to achieve higher fill rates, fewer overstocks, 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.

More information is available to you on the IO web page. If you have questions, please speak to your buyer or email us at
Holiday Inventory Build
It is time to start thinking about building inventory for the fall holiday season. You will see increased PO volume starting in August on seasonally driven products. We need your help in providing the best possible service levels for the fall and holiday sales months. Proper planning will greatly increase our mutual success during this critical time of year.

Marketing Program News

UNFI Tabletop Shows – 2014 Early Sign-Up Rate

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2013 tabletop shows!  We had a very successful show season and have already started planning our 2014 shows.  Check out these 2013 show statistics:

  • Orders: In 2013, the number of orders placed at the shows increased on average 66% over 2012.
  • Attendance: Retailer attendance jumped an average of 16% at the 2013 shows. 
We hope you will join us for our 2014 shows. Sign up for any of our 2014 shows before September 20, 2013 and lock in the 2013 rate. Sign up today by submitting this form to your SRM: We look forward to seeing you next year.

NEW – Customer Portal Website

UNFI will launch a new Customer Portal website this summer. The new site will include all the features of the current site and improvements to the buying experience, reports, search, speed and other functions. Brokers and suppliers who currently use the UNFI customer website will receive more information about the new site in the coming weeks.

NEW – Web Portal Banner Advertising

UNFI’s new customer portal includes a limited number of advertising opportunities for suppliers.  

The portal is a great vehicle for reaching retailers. Our current customer websites get 200,000-240,000 visits per month from UNFI customers, who place over 9,500 orders through the website each month. Retailers who order by other methods use the website to research products, get reports and invoices, check on specials, view open turnover orders and more. 

We are offering a Web Advertising Springboard Special to celebrate the launch of the new customer portal - sign up for a 2014 banner ad package, and get the same package in 2013 at no cost.   Want to know more?  Contact Laurie Donohue, Marketing Program Manager, at, call Laurie at 603.256.3000 x32126, or visit the UNFI Supplier Support site.

NEW – Organic Matters: A Blog About Everything Organic

It is with great pleasure that we announce the rollout of UNFI’s new blog “Organic Matters” from Melody Meyer, UNFI’s Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations.  Melody’s blog is fueled by her decades-long career in the industry and her passion for organics.  If you’re interested in topics such as labeling, the Farm Bill, fair trade, organic regulation and policy, this is your go-to site.  Melody will keep you up-to-date on the latest organic news, policy issues, and current events related to the natural and organic industry.  In Melody’s words, her goal is to “educate and motivate as well as stimulate dialogue, focus and action within the organic community.” Sign up to follow the blog at
Thank you for your support of UNFI.  Please feel free to reach out to me or your SRM with any questions and comments.

John Raiche
Vice President, Marketing

Links and Contacts Mentioned in this Post

SRM Line and Category Assignments, SRM Contact Information

2014 Supplier and Broker Schedule

2014 National Promotion Form

Trade Deal Promotions Contacts

Thrive - Enterprise Item Number (EIN)

UNFI Tabletop Shows 2014 Early Sign-Up Rate Form