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Unilever's improved supply chain helps save $1 billion

Unilever's improved supply chain has helped the company to save €800 million ($1.08 billion) from procurement in 2010.
 Unilever's improved supply chain helps save $1 billion
 
 
Unilever's improved supply chain has helped the company to save €800 million ($1.08 billion) from procurement in 2010.

The consumer goods giant, which makes such products as Hellmann's mayonnaise, Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, implemented a new SAP enterprise resource planning supply chain system which offers a real time view of goods, relying on networks created and maintained by BT.

"We now have a globally led supply chain organisation, with executive buying authority. Our systems and processes are much improved, allowing for quicker and higher quality information availability and decision making," said Chief Executive Paul Polman, who said the supply chain has undergone massive changes in recent years.

He added the company is now “better equipped” to manage “volatile” prices and changing commodity supplies.

Major cost cutting also attributed to Unilever's success, as it reported an increase of just over 11 percent to €44.3bn ($60.2bn) last year.

“Our indirect structure is also far leaner. Our cost discipline is much improved. The mindset is right, and now the structure also, with the Unilever Enterprise Support organisation fully in place and starting to drive change. Most impressive of all has been our work in getting working capital down to best in class levels, and keeping it there,” said Polman.

Underlying group sales grew 4.1 percent, while operating profit was up 26 percent to €8.6bn.

With 400 brands spanning 14 categories of home, personal care and foods products, including Bertolli and Lipton ice tea, Unilever claims that on any given day, two billion people use their products.

For more top stories, take a look at The Best Mobile Shipping Apps for the iPhone and Android and Hospital supply chain wasting £500 million per year

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