Monday, January 6, 2014

January 2014 - UNFI Supplier Community Update

Welcome suppliers. I’m pleased to share several important topics with you as we start the New Year together, including: new reporting and deduction process for suppliers, SRM line assignments, marketing program updates, and the latest information on our systems transformation we call Thrive. I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season, and I wish you a happy and healthy 2014.


As part of our continuous effort to carefully evaluate the performance of the products we carry, we will be providing you with a monthly Underperforming Items Report. Our goal is to be proactive regarding these products and create a process where we can collaborate with you to address challenging situations.

We understand that an automated report will not identify all underperforming products, or replace the need for close communication and product mix planning with your SRM. Look for the report and further communications on this subject this month.

Supplier Relationship Manager Line Assignments Update
Click here for the latest SRM line assignments.


UNFI East Region will be implementing an improvement to the way we communicate with suppliers about deductions. Beginning today, we will send deduction support to our suppliers in a weekly mailing. The deduction support documents will no longer be part of the payment/check packet. 

The weekly mailing of deduction support will provide you with visibility into recently taken and pending deductions on your account. You will no longer have to wait for a UNFI payment to see the deduction activity.

The new process will provide you with timely information, allow you more time to review deductions and help you estimate the payments due to you from UNFI.

If you have any questions regarding the new procedure, please call the East Region Accounts Payable Department at 603-256-3000 (press 4 for the Accounting Menu, then 3 for Accounts Payable). Any member of our Accounts Payable Team would be happy to help you.  


2014 Holiday Advertising―Sign Up By Mid-February
Now is the time to plan for holiday 2014. Consider advertising your products in our Holiday Edition catalog (circulation: 10,000). We also have several other advertising options available―please take a moment to learn more here.

Tabletop Shows―Space is Limited
Planning for our upcoming Tabletop Shows is well underway. If you’ve already secured a table, I look forward to seeing you there. If you haven’t, then I strongly encourage you to register now as time is running out and space is limited. The East Spring Summer show has already sold out.
  • East Spring Summer Show, February 13-14, Disney's Contemporary Resort, FL – Sold Out
  • East Winter Holiday Show, May 14-15, Foxwoods Casino, CT
  • West Winter Holiday Show, May 29-30, Oregon Convention Center, OR

Web Advertising―Now Underway
Our web advertising program has just launched on our Customer Portal Website (avg. 240,000 visits/month). It offers many affordable options on the landing pages, as well as content advertising on the home page in three new areas:
  • Featured Products Blog “Taste Matters”
  • Featured Monthly Specials
  • What’s Hot Next Month
Content advertising means your product is included as part of an article or story, with links to more information. We provide each supplier with analytics regarding the number of impressions each page gets each month. For more information on this low cost advertising opportunity contact Laurie Donohue at, 603-256-3000 x 32126.


One of our most significant initiatives is a project we call Thrive, which will improve our processes and technologies for better supplier and customer experiences. Here’s the latest:

Inventory Reservation (IR)
In February we’ll pilot an important part of our inventory management improvements, called Inventory Reservation. It will enable us to reserve inventory for customers.

Enterprise Item Number (EIN)
Moving to a single item number is something we know many of you are looking forward to. We’re now planning to begin using Enterprise Item Numbers in early 2015 to give us a little more time to ensure a seamless transition. Information and support will be provided beforehand, but in the meantime contact your SRM or email us with questions.

Coming in 2014
Along with the Inventory Reservation pilot and the preparation for our transition to Enterprise Item Numbers, we will:
  • Open three new distribution centers, Racine, WI; Hudson Valley, NY; Select Nutrition West, Auburn, CA, with a system that optimizes warehouse capacity and labor
  • Start using our advanced forecasting system (also known as Inventory Optimization or IO) in the East (already in use in the West)
Thrive is a large project with many components, and we appreciate your patience as we work through them. Learn more on our website or email us your questions.