UNFI Partners With Relex on Cloud-Based Procurement Solution

Move is a key component in grocery wholesaler’s supply chain transformation
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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UNFI Fresh
Relex’s platform will help optimize inventory across all UNFI categories, including UNFI Fresh.

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has partnered with Relex Solutions, a provider of unified supply chain and retail optimization solutions, to implement its cloud-based procurement solution. When delivered, the system will consolidate and replace multiple UNFI buying systems and drive efficiencies in demand planning and replenishment. The partnership with Relex aligns with the transformation of UNFI’s supply chain capabilities and is intended to deliver an enhanced customer experience while enabling customer growth by integrating advanced data-driven solutions and improving efficiency in operations.

By providing demand-planning, ordering and inventory management capabilities, UNFI will gain a holistic view of its operations, including future capacity and supply constraints, and streamlining its planning processes. The improved platform will ultimately help optimize inventory across all UNFI categories, including UNFI Fresh, reducing spoilage, improving service levels, and increasing data visibility between UNFI’s suppliers and customers.

[Read more: “Tough Earnings Quarter for UNFI”]

Driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, Relex will also consolidate multiple buying systems into one enhanced process, combining a more robust analysis of demand with a more granular approach to procurement. The new platform is expected to become operational at UNFI over the next 12 to 18 months.

“As part of UNFI’s multifaceted transformation agenda, we’re continuing to implement cutting-edge technology to improve the customer and supplier experience while increasing operating efficiency,” said Erin Horvath, COO at UNFI. “Relex offers a robust, reliable solution that maximizes UNFI’s capabilities, helps automate our network and optimizes our procurement processes, ensuring the freshness of our products and quality of service to our customers.”

Other recent steps made by UNFI as part of its transformation plan include restructuring its service regions, leasing a new 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center in Pennsylvania, and teaming with tech providers to deploy scanning and robotics solutions.

“Relex is thrilled to be working with UNFI, as ensuring high service levels across all products, including fresh, is close to both of our hearts,” noted Frank Lord, chief revenue officer at Atlanta-based Relex. “We look forward to helping UNFI boost visibility across their supply chain so that they can hone the processes that work for them, their suppliers and their customers.”

Food retailers working with Relex Solutions include Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.