Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 2013 - UNFI Supplier Community Update

Welcome Suppliers. Since my last update in July, we’ve made significant strides and I’m pleased to share them with you. I’ll report on a variety of topics such as team changes, line assignments, a major focus on maximizing our product mix, as well as process and program updates.

Supplier Relationship Management

With all Supplier Relationship Managers (SRMs) transitioned to national responsibilities, our focus has been to reconfigure our SRM leadership group from a regional to national structure as well.

Position Changes
Several team members have been recognized for their extraordinary skill by securing promotions within other areas of UNFI and will be leaving the SRM team.

·       Marc Ghidotti will lead our national procurement group, Inventory Planning and Replenishment (IPAR)
·       Jodi Booska and Bob Meyer will manage procurement staff and large groups of buyers as Directors of IPAR
·       Hector Muniz will take on a sales position effective this week and we are seeking his replacement. To ensure no disruption in our supplier relations, the following SRMs are covering his lines: Joseph Roy, Hispanic; David Lotti, Dry Potatoes and Grains; Jacquelyn Schneider, Canned Meat, Stews and Seafood, Canned Vegetables; Veronica Vanni, Dips and Salsas.
Leadership Structure Developments
·       Melissa Angle will lead our SRM team nationally, as well as the National Promotions and Analyst teams, as National Director. She’ll report directly to me.
·       Four SRM Group Managers will have responsibility for specific product categories. Group Managers will report to Melissa Angle. We created these new roles to maximize performance and provide increased efficiencies with suppliers and brokers.
Chris Depetris: HBC/Supplements/Non Foods
Reporting to Chris are Lisa Madsen, Nora Cline, Richard Bruns, Robyn Romano
Cindy Adamson: Frozen/Chill
Reporting to Cindy are Amie Thayer, Jason Walsh, Kiva Shogren , Russell Winterroth, Melissa Farkas
Betsy Gillette: Grocery
Reporting to Betsy are David Lotti, Jacquelyn Schneider, Joseph Roy, Maureen Hines, Veronica Vanni, Arin Donahue, Greg Esslinger
Meagan Kessel: ClearVue Suppliers/Grocery 
Reporting to Meagan are Amy Rooney, Melissa Ricardy, Valarie Rozokat, Wendy Savoie

As a result of these exciting changes, we are in the process of backfilling all open positions. We’ve already identified several highly skilled people who will be joining the team; here are the folks we can share at this time:

New Team Members
·       Melissa Farkas. Melissa started at UNFI in 1997 and has held various positions of increasing importance. Most recently, she was Lead Buyer in our Chesterfield distribution center. Melissa has significant knowledge in the Frozen categories. Once she has transitioned into her new role, we will communicate the categories she will be responsible for.
·       Arin Donahue. Arin worked for Delhaize America since 2009 and held various positions of increasing importance there. Arin has a substantial amount of knowledge in logistics and transportation, supplier relations and retail. She will be responsible for the management of these categories: Entrees and Mixes, Mac and Cheese; Sauces; Soups: Ready to Serve, Mixes, Broths, Bouillons, Stocks and Dry; Prepared Sauces: BBQ, Marinades, Steak, Wing, Hot, Seafood, Specialty; Asian; Indian.
·       Greg Esslinger. Greg started at UNFI in 2008 and has held various positions of increasing importance.  Most recently, he was a Buyer handling the Cookie and Baby Food categories.  Greg has significant system knowledge and expertise in the Grocery categories.  Once he has transitioned into his new role, we will communicate the categories he will be responsible for.
Line Assignments Update

Click here for the latest SRM line assignments.
IPAR / Procurement
Many of you have requested a current list of line assignments by buyer. Click here for the list.

Maintaining UNFI’s Industry leading product assortment

In early September we began to talk with you about upcoming plans for our product assortment. I’d like to continue that conversation here, to ensure that we are keeping you well-informed.
Our ability to quickly introduce your new products to the market is critical. In order to be successful at this task, we need to regularly evaluate our mix with consideration of market trends and product attributes and make thoughtful, timely decisions. In short, our intent is to sell your product. But if it isn’t selling, we believe we have a responsibility to you and our customers to act. As such, here is an outline of the next steps in our plans:
·       Several weeks ago we started a formal three-step review process for current product and brands. This is a true vetting process where our teams of Sales Reps, Buyers, Retail Category Managers and SRMs will provide input.
·       Next month we will also begin a formal review process for new items, which will involve significant dialogue with suppliers. More information will be provided to you on this in the coming weeks.
For more detail on this topic, click here.

Retail Store and reset opening order program
Soon, we will contact you about our new Retail Store and Reset Opening Order Program.  Formally known as SMOO (Supermarket Opening Order program), this program offers suppliers the opportunity to participate in the Supermarket and Independent/Natural channels as an approved supplier.  Being an approved supplier means that our Retail Category Managers and Sales teams will review your products with our customers for placement in these growth channels. Click here for more information, and to download the program form.

Thrive / Supply chain transformation project
One of our major initiatives underway is a project we call Thrive, which will improve our processes and technologies, therefore creating better supplier and customer experiences. In 2014, our priorities are to:

·       Pilot Inventory Reservation (IR) in the West - the ability to reserve and autoship product over a predetermined period
·       Implement Inventory Optimization (IO) in the East - advanced forecasting
·       Implement Distributed Order Management (DOM) in the East - the ability to allocate physical inventory for reservations
·       Implement Warehouse Management (WM) in Racine, Auburn, Atlanta and Hudson Valley - the optimization of warehouse capacity and labor
·       Open new distribution centers in Racine, WI and Hudson Valley, NY
·       Begin information gathering and analysis for our new Future Core solution

Inventory Optimization (IO) Update

We’re happy to announce that IO, an exception-based forecasting system has been in use in the West for two months. IO helps Buyers make efficient buying decisions using proactive functionality that will protect service levels, even during promotional and seasonal periods.
We understand suppliers may have experienced changes to ordering patterns, including variances from the traditional frequency and amounts. These fluctuations have stabilized as the new buying patterns have developed a rhythm. Contact your Buyer with any questions or concerns.

More Thrive Details Available
A multi-year project, Thrive has numerous components. I encourage you to learn more on our website or email  And thank you for your patience as we work through this project.

Holiday service levels: receiving Appointments
Peak holiday season is here. To ensure our service levels remain high at this critical time, please be diligent in delivering against your committed timelines. Timely deliveries will enable downstream processes to remain on schedule.

2014 marketing programs
New for 2014, we’re offering Web Advertising on our Customer Portal Website (shown below). Click here to review all our Marketing Programs and rates.

Tabletop Shows

By now you’ve received information on our upcoming Tabletop Shows and I hope you’re making plans to attend. The 2013 Shows, each completely sold out, were our strongest ever.

Space is limited, so it’s important to register now:
·         EAST Spring Summer Show: February 13-14, Disney's Contemporary Resort, FL
·         EAST Winter Holiday Show: May 14-15, MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino, CT
·         WEST Winter Holiday Show: May 29-30, Oregon Convention Center, OR
More Foodservice Advertising Opportunities
Our newest publication for Foodservice customers has launched. Foodservice Catalog Plus provides suppliers one complete packageprint, email, web advertising to reach this channel. Take part by contacting Laurie Donohue or click here.

Spotlight Videos
Good news about our New Item Video’s no longer restricted to just new items. Because of that we’re calling them Spotlight Videos. Please take minute to watch them, and if you’d like us to film a video for your items contact Laurie Donohue.

United for more organic
I’d like to close this update with information about the organic community. You may be aware of an idea for self-funding that the Organic Trade Association has been communicating. Called the Organic Research and Promotions Program, it would be a vehicle to help grow demand for organic.

It’s important that we all weigh in. Start by completing this survey and have a say on the options that have been developed so far.