MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu here said it plans to consolidate five Albertsons meat and grocery procurement offices into a single regional procurement department in Fullerton, Calif., and plans to shift most responsibility for produce at Albertsons to its W. Newell operation in Champaign, Ill.
In a letter to vendors, Bernie Grutsch, vice president of procurement, said the moves are designed “to increase efficiencies and take advantage of resources and expertise available throughout our network.”
The transition will begin in the next few weeks and is expected to be complete by next summer, he noted.
A chain spokeswoman said Supervalu expects to eliminate about a dozen positions.
Supervalu said it will consolidate all meat and grocery procurement functions in Fullerton from current facilities in Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; and Brea and Irvine, Calif.
The new organization that is created will be known as the Western Region Procurement Department and will be headed by Mike Payne, director of procurement, Western Region, a new title. Payne was previously a senior supply chain supervisor.
At the same time, W. Newell — Supervalu's internal produce organization — will become responsible for all Albertsons produce procurement under the leadership of Brian Boutin, director of inventory replenishment. W. Newell will manage produce procurement for the Intermountain West Region from Champaign, while activities for the Southern California Region will continue to be located in Irvine.
“This new alignment will allow our Albertsons banner to take advantage of the expertise and experience that has become the hallmark of W. Newell,” Grutsch said.
Supervalu launched W. Newell in 2005 by consolidating five separate produce depots into a single 155,000-square-foot distribution center in Champaign. The idea behind the move was that it could consolidate produce distribution for a wide geographic area and speed delivery, while at the same time making Supervalu more competitive as a wholesaler against specialty produce distributors.
Regarding the consolidation of grocery and meat procurement, Grutsch said, “These moves will allow us to increase our efficiency and effectiveness in procurement while eliminating redundant work and creating single points of vendor contact, making it easier to do business with us.”
He said Supervalu will offer employees the opportunity to relocate to Fullerton or Champaign, “and in the event more individuals are interested in relocations than positions are available, we will use a fair and equitable process for the position selections.”