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Essay on Supply Chain Management Under Unilever Global Company
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Introduction.
The world multinational consumer good producer Unilever dates back to 2 September 1927 founded through a merger between the lever brothers from British who were British leading soap producers and the Netherlands leading margarine producer margarine Unie which have since operated as deferent legal entities with distinct stock exchange listing to their names.
Unilever operates from the Netherlands where it has its headquarters that oversees operations for over 190 countries across the world and it is run by a single board of directors, a non-executive chairman and a group chief executive. It owns more than 400 brands of products with an income of as of 2017 is projected to be 53.7 billion euros and another thirteen products of sales estimated to be over 1 billion euros.
Unilever is involved in the manufacturing, supplying and selling of fast-moving consumer goods that are operated under four sections of operations i.e., food section dealing in snacks, salad dressing, margarine, soups and spreads which generates approximately 54% of the revenue. Home care dealing in laundry tablets, soap bars and cleaning products generating 18% of the revenue.
Refreshments dealing in ice-cream, tea-based drinks and nutritionally improved tacks and personal care dealing in skin and hair care products, oral care products and sprays which generates approximately 28% of the revenue. Unilever is supplied by over 300 production facilities with western Europe generating a revenue of 34%, North America second with a revenue of 22%, 18% from the Asia Pacific regions, 13% from Latin America, Africa, the middle east and turkey 9% and 4% coming from central Europe.

Customer Service and Inventory.
Being a multinational production company comes with a huge price of ensuring there is a continuous flow of products to the consumers at the right time and place. With over 165000 workers across the world and a massive network of retailers and distributors around the globe, Unilever products can penetrate to the lowest level of the community to ensure that there is a constant flow of the products and direct interaction with the customers to get their reaction to deferent products and what they feel should be added or removed from their fedorite Unilever products.
The famous Unilever logo which has 25 icons representing the importance of the 400 brands has formed a very integral part in educating and informing the customers of the importance and benefits of these products and therefore that explains why all the products have one Unilever logo.
To ensure easy access to the products Unilever has decided to categorise their products according to age and income. The products can be purchased from the retail stores, supermarkets, online shops etc. and yet Unilever always competes to get a strategic store over the competitors to ensure availability of the product to the customers.
The use of technology has become the norm in the world of business and it has proven to be a critical pillar in ensuring the good return of the product, Unilever being a global producer with many competitors it has ensured that the stock in various places is always up to the demand of the customers, they have done this by the use of Master Data Management and Kalido’s active information management software that help in sourcing data from all feeds to one location in real-time. This ensures that both local and regional trend data eases the allocation and movement of stocks from one place to another.

Stock management is the biggest threat to companies and Unilever is not left out however, the operation management body of Unilever has done a recommended job by ensuring that the stock is right at the top by keeping high productivity throughout the global organization of the consumer products by; ensuring that there is continuous innovation to address consumers expectation in the design of goods and services by maintaining the highest productivity in the development of new variants of products.
Quality of the products is a priority to Unilever; the quality management approach involves the implementation of quality standard in the operation processes to certify the product quality requirement by consumers. The application of process and capacity design through the use of robotic and automation in most of the manufacturing processes has been key to Unilever. Location strategy, layout design and strategy, job design and human resource, supply chain management and inventory management e.tc.
Transport and Logistical Service Provisions (LSPs).
With over 190 countries expecting to be supplied by various products that are produced from the over 70 plants across the globe specializing in the production of various brands of Unilever portfolio. Unilever, therefore, needs a well-structured mode of transport to ensure there is supply to all its distributors and the retailers. Unilever uses the road as their main mode of transportation apart from air, railway and water, transportation models. The Unilever transport network is subdivided into three faces.
Firstly, the Inbound transport. This face is operating between the Sourcing Units (SU) and the factories. Secondly, Primary transport operation between the factories and the Distribution Centres (DC). Secondly, After the completion of production, the products are moved from the factories to one of the many 100 DC across Europe. Finally, the network ends with a secondary transport where the products are moved from the DC to the retailers hence the completion of the transportation cycle.
Unilever uses a combination of both technological software, professional services and domain expertise to improve its transport modal system including truckloads, intermodal, ocean transport, small parcel and Less-than-truckload which is provided by BravoSolutions software company that manage contracts feed routine guides, support supply chain planning and monitor internal and carrier performance. This is done via an app that enables tacking companies to bid on Unilever freight needs, the Digital Freight Matching (DFM) providers allow Unilever to jointly shape the demanding trucking transportation while adding flexibility into our supply chain.
The choice of mode of transport and incorporation of BravoSolutions has proven to be the best way to go since it has helped save time and substantial cost saving. Moreover, Unilever has continued to reduce its carrier base to a quarter of its previous size and improving on-time performance by 10%, cutting carrier rejects by 71% and eliminating upland accessorial charges. The incorporation of BravoSolutions into Unilever transport and logistic services provision has a critical role by solely ensuring that the strategies are well aligned with operations and ensuring that necessary data are available to the affected parties accurately and efficiently.
The ability of BravoSolutions to offer sophisticated transport management solution has enabled the Unilever transportation team to drive excellence in our pursuit for better service delivery to our customers around the world. Unilever transportation system is very efficient starting from the SU to the secondary transportation face and that has ensured that there is a timely and continuous supply of products to all parts of the world at the comfort of our esteemed customers.

Warehousing and Capacity.
A supply chain consists of warehousing and warehouse management which form part of the logistic management system and therefore, it is a fact that warehouses are a critical pillar in the supply chain procedure. Unilever has several warehouses ranging from small, medium and large warehouses across the world, incoming functions assist in the preparation for the storage and outgoing functions pack and ship order which benefits both the customers and the business.
Warehouse contribute immensely to Unilever as it offers i.e., a storage facility for products from all parts of the world that encourages purchasing of goods in bulk which in return bring good returns for the business. Convenience, there should not be a situation of out of stock for customers and that calls for a centralised warehouse that stores your goods in bulk to ensure constant control of stock availability even for what is needed in the future. There has been an increase in revenue for Unilever because they have on many occasions leased out some parts of their warehouses to other companies for storage purposes and in return increase revenue.
To companies and organizations that have embraced or put in place some forms of Capacity management in their business, it has proved to be critical in the realization of companies and organisation goal given the five steps involved. However, there have been roadblocks to the full realization of capacity management i.e., there remains the question of does the capacity-building provide adequate details the company need to grow full. Does capacity building position the information technology team to think about the future the company wants to a chive and finally does capacity building consider the availability of new technology or the possibility of retirement of adequate services.

The introduction of capacity management in the supply chain has greatly improved the Unilever supply chain as compared to before by tightening end-to-end supply chain gaps. Massive improvement has been seen in the supply chain subsequently capacity management has assisted in the determination of new products required to meet the ever-changing consumer demands and to try to outperform the competitors. With capacity management software in place, Unilever has been able to identify the trade-offs of varying cost element to make improve the decisions across the entire supply chain hereafter speeding the workability of the supply chain across the board. Unilever supply chain flexibility has improved immensely with the idea that they have understood the production paths especially those facilities that share materials to produce different products.
Strategy, Competitive Advantages.
Building an empire such big as Unilever global company requires a gradual change in an inside out procedure through various innovations across the entire company i.e., from customer service, inventory methodology in keeping and improving availability of products, new methods of managing stocks, the most affordable and very effective methods of transportation and logistics service provider of products across the world just like in the case of Unilever.
In addition to the incorporation of new ideas of warehousing by either construction of new ones or improving the previous warehouses. The successes of Unilever global company have been a result of its ability to outsmart its competitors in various departments of supply chain management. The most outstanding departments are warehousing, customer and inventory service.

With active operations all over the world, an adequate constant supply of products is very important for accompany to remain dominant in the business. Unilever has several Morden active warehouses in almost all parts of the world and this makes it very superior to other competitors as most of them depend on the same warehouses for storage purposes. Subsequently, the ability of Unilever to have access to over 165000 workers across the world to its name and over 100 distribution centres enable it to have direct contact with the customers and learn their needs in the constantly changing environment to be ahead of the competitors.
With constant changes in the technology field, there is a need for improvement in the inventory system to increase the availability of the products to the grass-root level especially in developing countries, a great step should be made to develop new plants in addition to the existing one in these developing countries to ensure enough products are physically accessible at the local markets.
Just like I have indicated above about the roadblocks to the full realization of capacity management to the supply chain, Unilever transportation and Logistical service provision should think about the future of technology concerning the supply chain. i.e., instead of partnering with BravoSolutions Unilever should focus on building and implementing its logistical technology to ensure that the future of the company is safe in case BravoSolutions decides to split from Unilever the supply chain is not disrupted.
Unilever functions at a time when the market very unstable and very unpredictable due to many developing factors in the market. Due to these factors, it is true to say that Unilever has introduced an agile strategy to try and outsmart its competitors, an agile strategy is where a company uses the market familiarity and its virtual establishment to adventure into the gainful opportunities that exist in the unstable market.
Supply chain strategy is a method used by businesses to help evaluate the cost and benefits of a trade-off of an operational component in an interactive manner. The employed strategy must ensure that the defined organizational goals are achieved, in addition to that the strategy must also outline clearly what to offer when to offer such plans and where to offer them as a strategic plan for competition. A supply chain outlines the actual plan of an organization and the extent to which the supply chain is will to go to ensure that the supply chain objectives are met, unlike a business strategy which outlines the plan that the business should follow.
The above strategy holds an advantage over almost all the strategies i.e., Unilever operating solely on first moving consumer goods and with good customer and inventory services as discussed above it can learn and adapt very first with the constant unpredictability of the business environment to keep it in business and to try and outsmart the competitors. This is because they have a good knowledge of what the market wants when, where and in which way or form do they want the product.
The agile strategy has worked well for Unilever and has kept them over the competitor’s business the supply chain executive at Unilever decided to understand exactly how the market wants to compete by deploying a procedure of constant agility, adaptability and alignment to both internal and external factors affecting the stability of the market.
Conclusion.
From the above findings, I have come to several conclusions. Unilever global company followed a marketing strategy to reach where they are now unlike other emerging business which is mainly focusing on the pricing and the profit part of the business. The successes of Unilever are based on its brand in the market, its continuous investment in customer service and inventory capability to ensure the availability of products to the customers. Its high level of marketing and advertisement in various forms of communication platforms have popularized its agender to the consumers. Its involvement in various production has been key to its success. Continuous innovation into new product and technology has helped shape the supply chain management and kept the business intact, the coordination between the brand managers and that of the marketing department has a great job as they have kept the brand value of Unilever global company on the face of the world.
Recommendation.
For a successful supply chain management to be realized there must be continuous collaboration, integration of system and transparency between the trading partners in the supply chain management. Unilever senior management is required because they play an important role not only by influencing the business attitude but also, they can reallocate various resources in times of need such as personnel and financial support towards the full realization of the supply chain management.


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