Strategic Choice and Evaluation
United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI) “is the leading U.S. independent national distributor of natural, organic, specialty foods and related products, including: nutritional supplements, personal care items, and organic produce” (UNFI, 2012, para. 1). UNFI started out as Mountain People’s Warehouse in 1976, when people started becoming interested in natural product. In 1996, Mountain People’s Warehouse and Cornucopia Natural Foods merged and formed United Natural Foods, Inc. Today the company employs 6,900 individuals throughout the United States and Canada. This paper is going to evaluate the best value discipline, generic and grand strategies, and the ...view middle of the document...
Employees of these companies are able to go to great lengths to satisfy customers with low regard to cost. The companies who implement this strategy are more concerned with being flexible and responsive. These organizations empower employees who are close to the customers. Mind sets such as “have it your way” are stressed by management.
The strategy of product leadership is the discipline where companies “strive to produce continuous stream of state-of-the-art products and services” (Pearce & Robinson, 2011, pg. 186). In order to effectively implement this strategy companies must meet three challenges: creativity, be able to commercialize ideas quickly, and release their own improvements (Pearce & Robinson, 2011). Leaders in organizations implementing this strategy act like their own competition, meaning continuously improving the product.
UNFI’s Best Value Discipline
The best value discipline UNFI has implemented is operational excellence. This organization “attempts to lead its industry in price and convenience by pursuing a focus on lean and efficient operations” (Pearce & Robinson, 2011). This strategy is evident in the implementation of a new hydrogen fuel cell technology to help reduce carbon emissions and also to help reduce operating costs (UNFI, 2011). This new technology not only reduces carbon emissions and decreases costs, it is also expected to generate energy savings and provide greater productivity. UNFI also has distribution centers located throughout the United States and Canada. These distribution centers provide direct access to regional markets which also allow UNFI to reduce transportation costs. The organization is also able to take full or partially full trucks of inventory. The organization also has a system in place to redistribute inventory within its distribution centers to allow products to be sold prior to their expiration date which also reduces costs.
A generic strategy is an idea of how the firm can best compete in the marketplace (Pearce & Robinson, 2011). Three aspects of generic strategy include low-cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. Low-cost leadership is the aspect of maintaining the low-cost by reducing costs and having a dominant market share. Differentiation is the aspect of appealing to customers with sensitivity to specific attributes of the product. Focus is the aspect of attending to the needs of a particular market segment.
The generic strategy UNFI uses is the low-cost leadership aspect. This is evident with UNFI being classified as the “leading U.S. independent national distributor of natural, organic, specialty foods and related products, including: nutritional supplements, personal care items, and organic produce” (UNFI, 2012, para. 1). Customers are also gearing more towards healthy foods, which are helping increase, UNFI’s lead over competitors. UNFI experiences $4.5 billion dollars in sales annually and supplies over 60,000 products...