Topco Associates’ supply chain plays a large role in its ability to help its member/owners consolidate their buying power. By Jim Harris

Topco Associates LLC is a $15 billion, privately held company that provides aggregation, innovation and knowledge management solutions for its leading food industry member-owners and customers. Topco leverages the strength of its supply chain to place powerful brands on shelf across its broad membership, enabling members to compete effectively in their local markets.
    “We believe in staying true to our brand tagline, ‘member-owned, member-driven.’ We work in partnership with members to advance as one,” says Jane Trankina, senior director of supply chain for the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company.


UniPro Foodservice’s experienced staff allows it to provide market-leading services to its distributor members. By Jim Harris

UniPro Foodservice Inc.’s services touch the lives of millions of Americans every day, whether they know it or not. With 450 members operating more than 900 distribution locations, the Atlanta-based organization is the largest foodservice distribution cooperative in the United States.
    Through its distributors, UniPro provides foodservice products to more than 800,000 customers across the country including independent restaurants, multi-unit restaurant chains, healthcare facilities, schools, convenience stores  and consumers. The cooperative purchases goods worldwide from more than 500 manufacturers, including many leading national brands. “We have relationships with companies that bring products in by rail, truck or through different ports in the United States,” Executive Vice President of Procurement David Huch says.


Monsanto Co. maintains its leadership position by remaining open to change and reinvention in its operations. By Alan Dorich

Fresh products are important in the agricultural industry, and Monsanto Co. focuses on keeping its business fresh as well. “Over the history of our existence, we have continued to reinvent ourselves,” Chief Procurement Officer Peter Stoynoff says. “The company has a unique way of looking around the corner to meet the demands of our customers.”
    Based in St. Louis, Monsanto Co. offers farmers a wide range of agricultural products, including agricultural and vegetable seeds, weed control products and microbial products. The company started operations in 1901 as a manufacturer of sweeteners.


Starwood is putting in place the tools, personnel and processes  needed to unify its geographically diverse hotel properties. By Jim Harris

When Tad Wampfler joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts as its global chief supply chain officer in 2011, the company’s supply chain strategy was anything but global. “Outside of North America, nearly all of the hotels worked on their own, insulated from one another,” he says.
    The company’s properties in the United States shared a unified approach for sourcing enabled by an e-procurement tool Starwood had developed in-house. In the United States, very few hotels even have procurement managers as many contracts are sourced from its Stamford headquarters, leveraging the nationwide volume of all hotels to secure the best value. However, most hotels in the more than 100 other countries Starwood operates in employ procurement managers at each property who worked independently to secure the hotels needed goods and services. “Even in large cities like Shanghai and Dubai where Starwood has 10 or more properties, each hotel, often under different ownership, mostly worked on their own, insulated from one another with no common supply chain leadership or tools,” he says.  


Grimmway Farms is supporting retailers with partially reorganized, more agile supply chain operations. By Tim O’Connor

Grimmway Farms places great importance on creating opportunities that allows it to listen to customers. These highly valued points of communication are critical in developing the organization’s path forward. In listening to customers growing challenges in the highly competitive grocery store space, Grimmway recognized the need to do more with its supply chain. “It all starts with the retailers,” says Jason Higbee, director of materials management at Grimmway Farms. “We have been consistently challenged with bringing further innovation to market, broadening our product offerings, and continuing to enhance the value proposition. If we were going to continue to meet the challenges we needed to innovate our supply chain.”

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