Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and its products are used over two billion times a day. Unilever have more than 171,000 employees and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.

Understand key suppliers

Working to create a better future every day, Unilever help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Its portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which they operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite and Pot Noodle.
In early 2012, as part of its ‘partner to win’ initiative, Unilever secured State of Flux to conduct a voice of the supplier study on its partner to win suppliers. These suppliers are instrumental in delivering Unilever’s ambition to double the size of the business, while reducing its overall environmental impact and sourcing all agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.
The study was a continuation of a previous voice of the supplier study delivered in 2011. Unilever sought to understand the progress it had made on managing its partner to win suppliers by drawing on State of Flux’s data analytics expertise. Our task was to deliver actionable insight by measuring supplier perception and benchmarking Unilever’s supplier management performance against its competitors. This would help to inform the Unilever procurement team’s strategy and priorities over the next year. It would also support the measurement of their performance in addressing supplier ‘pain points’ since the previous survey was conducted.
State of Flux’s voice of the supplier study uncovered how these partner to win suppliers rated the quality of their business relationship with Unilever and compared the relationship with other major competitors they served. State of Flux conducted an online survey with these 160 suppliers, which attracted a response rate of 73%. This was also supplemented by one-hour telephone interviews with a cross section of suppliers, two presentations and a final report. It enabled us to highlight specific areas Unilever is doing well in and areas that could be improved. A very granular analysis provided further breakdown by type of supplier, market sector and category. The information and analysis allowed Unilever procurement stakeholders to pinpoint areas of excellence such as sustainability, as well as areas for improvement.
As a result of this information, Unilever procurement has made a series of interventions internally to ensure they retain their status in 2013 of being the customer of choice for their partner to win suppliers.
Call us on +44 (0)2078 420 600 or email us at enquiries@stateofflux.co.uk to find out how a voice of the supplier study could help your supplier management performance.