United Natural Foods Inc.

Supply chain automation for the 21st century


of business costs are often generated by the supply chain


time savings in the SKU input process


accuracy achieved with new UNFI supplier portal

Metal Toad has been a key part of our digital media strategy for the enterprise. Every toad dollar spent is worth at least five elsewhere.

 —Robert Burson, UNFI Digital Solutions Architect

Business problem: Wildly inefficient data management

As a large and growing food distributor, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) had a data problem. With thousands of SKUs, scads of suppliers, and loads of product information, UNFI was drowning in data—and the collection and management was cumbersome.

Staff spent countless hours manually copying and pasting data into spreadsheets, chasing vital info from suppliers, and duplicating efforts across siloed departments. UNFI knew the inefficiency was costing them time and money.

Solution:  Leading-edge digital infrastructure

Metal Toad built a leading-edge supplier portal. This admin-controlled environment, in which suppliers enter all necessary data directly, collects all product info in a single place—making data secure, accessible, and accurate. Processes that used to take weeks can now be done in less than a day.

We took it to the next level to help UNFI’s subsidiary, Blue Marble Brands. Metal Toad designed a product information management (PIM) system to manage detailed information on every product. Our headless Drupal approach allows the system to harness a vast amount of data and make it easy to access.

Additionally, UNFI needed a cloud platform that could scale to handle the ongoing growth of their digital assets. Metal Toad engineered an Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution that lets the ecosystem grow at the pace of their business. It’s fast and cost-effective, with 99.95% uptime and 24/7/365 monitoring.

Impact:  Efficiency that saves money and drives growth

Partnership with Metal Toad helped UNFI bring its processes into the 21st century and set the stage for ongoing growth. Our projects have helped UNFI:

  • eliminate time-consuming manual data handling

  • reduce errors, discrepancies, and missing data

  • move products out of the warehouse faster

  • find time- and money-saving efficiencies

  • reallocate resources recovered by improved efficiency

  • unify and streamline their business processes

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