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    Unified Grocers Ventures into Data Sync

    Deployment of the "Fast Start" program will allow for initial synchronization with the wholesaler's biggest supplier, Kraft Foods.

    Unified Grocers

    Unified Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States, said yesterday that it will begin rolling out the "Fast Start" hosted data synchronization program from St. Charles, Ill.-based GS1 solution provider Epic Group in three divisions in January 2009, starting with its largest supplier, Kraft Foods, Inc.

    Fast Start uses a hosted version of the data sync engine from Lansa, Inc., Data Sync Direct, which facilitates demand requirements for retailers in need of fast synchronization with large numbers of vendor items, while limiting the amount of time that category managers and buyers have to spend in the process.

    The program enables retailers to have a guaranteed fixed fee for the tedious initial item load of items now in distribution, allowing for a faster return on investment for data synchronization initiatives.

    "The combination of [Epic's] expertise with a hosted version of Lansa Data Sync Direct allows us to move quickly into our data synchronization project with minimal cost and maximum return on investment," noted Unified Grocer v.p. of procurement Bob Lutz.

    Unified will begin preparations for Fast Start next month, and the operational phase with Kraft Foods will be completed during the first quarter of 2009. About 3,000 Kraft items will be synchronized with Unified's database, employing a hosted version of Data Sync Direct serviced by Epic, with minimal manpower requirements from Unified.

    Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers, Inc. is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States.

    Epic Group

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