In supply chain there are numerous different roles you can undertake on the grad scheme and as such many locations you could possibly be based in. To make it a bit clearer for anyone thinking of applying for supply chain let me try to outline the roles you could do and where you could possibly end up.
In the UK we have several factories spread across the country: Burton-upon-Trent – Spreads; Crumlin, South Wales – Pot Noodle; Gloucester – Ice Cream; Leeds – Deodorant and Fragrances; Norwich – Colman’s; Port Sunlight, Liverpool – Home and Personal Care; Purfleet, Essex – Spreads (Margarine and Mayonnaise); Slough- Skin Care; Trafford Park, Manchester – Tea; Warrington- Laundry.
Everybody on the supply chain scheme will undertake at least one placement in a factory as a production line manager. This is generally considered one of the most challenging placements you will do, but don’t worry it’s never given to you as your first role on the scheme! You will be in charge of managing a team of operators and responsible for keeping your lines running efficiently. You will often be faced with tough decisions to make on the spot. Although it might sound daunting you will always have support around you, and you will learn and develop a huge amount.
Most people also complete at least one other factory placement. This can be in a project role which can involve implementing new equipment, sustainability projects to reduce energy usage, projects to improve quality and reduce consumer complaints, and many more. In this role you will be able to really take ownership for the work you are doing and often see the projects through from start to finish.
Alternatively you can also undertake a role in the planning team within a factory. It will be your role to liaise with the planners in the country head office and the Unilever Supply Chain Centre and ensure the production within a factory will produce the right quantity to meet their demand.
Although not that common, some of our graduates also complete their project placement in one of our distribution centres (warehouses). Recently we have had graduates work in Doncaster and Cannock. This might not sound the most glamorous of roles but almost everyone finds warehouses fascinating once they see inside and understand how it operates so efficiently.
The UK head office is based in Leatherhead in Surrey. Within Supply Chain many of our Planning and Customer Service departments are based here. In this building there is also based Marketing, HR, Customer Development, Finance, BTM and Legal. Most graduates will undertake a placement here as a requirements or demand planner, or in a customer service team working closely with one of our main customers. Alternatively some people might also complete their project role here, for example working in our Global Sustainability Team.
As well as customer service in Leatherhead our Global Customer Service Excellence Team is based in Leeds. On the other hand you could be seconded into one of our customers’ head offices for six months. Recently we have had Graduates work in both Sainsbury’s head office, Holborn, London, and Asda head office in Leeds.
The Unilever Supply Chain Centre (USCC) is in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It is quite common for us to have one or two graduates at a time sent out to work here for six months. This is the planning hub for the whole of Europe and a role here will have you working with people in many different countries across the continent, if not further afield.
In Rotterdam you will find the Brand Development & Innovations Hub. In the last year, as this office has now become one of Unilever’s key building blocks in Europe, graduates have been given the opportunity to undertake placements here. Amongst other functions this is where Supply Chain, Marketing and R&D can work together to bring new products to the market place.
Just over a year ago our Logistics Hub in Katowice, Poland opened. This office consolidates finance, logistics and material planning to make the business run more smoothly and efficiently. Although no graduates have been sent out here yet it is something that is likely to happen in the next few years
Hopefully that gives you a clearer overview of where you could be located and the types of roles you could do. If you want to know more about the detail of what our graduates do on a day to day basis then check out some of our other blogs.
Good luck with your application!