United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) are logistical pioneers that deliver Americans new food choices that shape the way we eat. They utilize an unmatched distribution network and an 80,000 SKU assortment to curate everything in your store and kitchen. UNFI is quickly climbing the Fortune 500 and are proud to call Metal Toad their technology partner.
After the completion of Digital Core, Metal Toad built the Supplier Portal to act as is a single source of truth for suppliers to provide product information directly to UNFI. Previously, all new product information was emailed to UNFI administrators who tracked it on numerous spreadsheets across multiple departments. The time had come to automate this process and remove redundancy, mistakes, and unnecessary staff time in this process.
Metal Toad’s discovery revealed an exhausting process of copying and pasting data, waiting for outlying departmental (legal, transport, etc.) approval, and line-by-line data entry. To eliminate this, Metal Toad architected a solution where the suppliers themselves entered data that was subsequently stage-gated and reviewed by UNFI department administrators to ensure all product data was up to snuff. The process had to be completed linearly and the supplier was not allowed to skip ahead and overlook parts of UNFI’s process that were vital to internal efficiency.
The result of the development process was Supplier Portal: a supplier-facing, admin-controlled environment that ensures accurate and complete new product information. The eliminated redundancies and streamlined process has allowed the UNFI Team to shuffle resources into other roles.
Blue Marble Brands
Blue Marble Brands is a collection of organic, natural, and specialty food brands. Their mission is to energize retail partners and inspire the public with a product line enrolled in or verified with the Non-GMO Project. They are a subsidiary of the UNFI corporate umbrella and, after the success of Digital Core and Supplier Portal, Metal Toad was hired to build out a product information management (PIM) system that would become a golden record for all Blue Marble Brand data.
Not only was Metal Toad able to leverage existing knowledge from Digital Core and Supplier Portal into this build, but our history of building dozens of enterprise-class content management systems (CMSs) facilitated a high level of execution on the .com build. The PIM is built on Drupal and Angular and allows users to manage information required to acquire, market, and sell products with a central set of data. Advanced permissions allow three main users various ownership over data manipulation. There are 14 tabs of data and over 110 unique fields. Metal Toad used Apache Solr for faster searching, implemented an auto save feature, used a custom Drupal RESTful system (before the RESTful module was released).
Enterprise Cloud Hosting
UNFI has selected Metal Toad to host all of their digital assets including Digital Core, Supplier Portal, Blue Marble Brands PIM, and twelve other .com sites. Our Cloud Team has been building out a cloud platform that will scale with visitorship and future catalog growth.
Our Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution ensures that the UNFI web ecosystem will continue to grow beyond the core ERP tools and, with every iterative project, UNFI’s cloud scales right alongside. With our 99.95% uptime, 24x7x365 monitoring, and white glove service approach, Metal Toad ensures that the UNFI team always has a platform it can rely on.
Metal Toad has earned advocates inside an enterprise partner with our depth of expertise, transparency, process, and focus on building a long-lasting partnership. Today, Blue Marble Brands enjoys an independent PIM, CMS, and stage-gated product management ecosystem that is built on a scalable, open-source platform. With total cost of ownership reduced to feature additions and regular maintenance, this enterprise ecosystem is fully free from licensing fees and can leverage annual budgets to create better processes, excellent admin experiences, time savings, and mistake reduction.