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Category Manager - Supply Chain


Wilmington, Massachusetts

Job ID


The Buyer, Route/Plant Support position is responsible for sourcing and procurement activities for items sold by UniFirst Route Sales Representatives as well as operations supplies for UniFirst plant processing facilities. The Buyer is responsible for negotiating and implementing enterprise agreements, performing spend analyses, administering Requests for Information/Quote/Proposal from prospective vendors, Supplier Relationship Management, and acquiring supply market intelligence for current and prospective UniFirst requirements.

Reporting to the Senior Manager, Materials Management, the Buyer role requires the use of initiative and independent judgement, while working effectively with multiple corporate functions and field service locations. Specific categories managed by the Route/Plant Support Buyer include:

  • Restroom supplies for resale (hand soap, sanitizer, bath tissue, paper towels, air fresheners)
  • Safety items/PPE
  • Bagging equipment and supplies
  • Carts/Hampers
  • MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Operations) supplies
  • Barcode printers
  • Lockers
  • Hangers

Principal Responsibilities

Essential Functions:

  • Ensure field and vendor compliance to assigned category agreements
  • Solicit and qualify potential new vendors for assigned categories
  • Perform on-site business reviews with vendors to review performance and trend analysis
  • Direct customer satisfaction survey deployments to UniFirst locations
  • Negotiate terms for pricing agreements
  • Responsible for the completion of all RFP analyses and associated recommendations
  • Establish and monitor relevant Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics for supplier reporting
  • Monitor raw material price indexes (PPI) routinely to identify market trends that could impact UniFirst pricing with supplier base
  • Promptly respond to field location product inquiries
  • Seek out upsell opportunities for Route Sales Representatives via complimentary products offered by core suppliers
  • Process vendor invoices as needed
  • Attend industry trade shows to accumulate greater supply market intelligence
  • Travel to UniFirst locations to evaluate the application of supplier products in-service
  • Routinely validate and update corporate intranet site for assigned categories information

Reporting to Management

  • Monthly cost savings and cost avoidance
  • Current bidding schedules
  • Supplier Diversity
  • Owensboro/Distribution Center processing summary
  • Monthly Purchase Price Variance reporting
  • Weekly Backorder Reporting
  • Vendor usage and trend analysis



  • Minimum 5 years of Purchasing experience
  • Apparel, consumer products, or industrial supply experience is a plus


  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • CPSM preferred

Additional Requirements:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Negotiating skills
  • Demonstrated ability to accomplish KPI goals and facilitate continuous improvement
  • Strong time-management, and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to travel as required
  • Customer focused
  • Commitment to quality
  • Respect for others

 Benefits & Perks:

401K with Company Match, Profit Sharing, Health Insurance, Employee Assistance Program, Life Insurance, Paid Time Off, Tuition Reimbursement, 30% Employee Discount, Employee Referral Bonuses.

UniFirst is an international leader in garment & Uniform services industry. We currently employ over 14,000 team partners who serve 300,000 business customer locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

We were included in the top 10 of Selling Power magazine’s “Best Companies to Sell For” list and recognized on Forbes magazine’s “Platinum 400 – Best Big Companies” list. As an 80-year old company focused on annual growth, there’s never been a better time to join our team.

UniFirst is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in hiring or employment against any individual on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, citizenship, or any other factor protected by anti-discrimination laws

UniFirst is an equal employment/affirmative action employer. If you need accommodation for any part of the application process because of a medical condition or disability, please send an e-mail to or call (978) 658-8888 to let us know the nature of your request.


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