Angus Giddins Business areas

Summer Placement Mid-Point Reflection!

Having now worked at Unilever for 6 weeks, some Summer Placement students reflect on their experience as they reach the half-way point…

Charndeep Singh, Supply Chain


Office Location: Manufacturing Excellence Centre (MEC) Port Sunlight

Most exciting experience so far: Leading Autonomous Maintenance training sessions for operators.

Key skill  learnt you will take back to university: People management skills. Having to coordinate with and motivate operators and engineers to comply with standards set and improvements made has been challenging but highly rewarding.

Read more “Summer Placement Mid-Point Reflection!”

Ollie Supply chain Business areas

Three months into Supply Chain: Oliver Friston, IP

Hi, my name is Ollie and I’m now almost three months in to my yearlong placement at Unilever, working in supply chain. I’ve spent the last three years studying Chemical Engineering at Birmingham University so this year represents a big change for me – both in terms of my daily routine and the material that I am working on!

I was attracted to Supply Chain as I wanted to see the true global scale of the business and in my role I’ve certainly been able to do that. I work in personal care (shampoo, deodorant, body wash, etc.), looking at the global simplification programmes that we have in place. Unilever is currently making a big push to grow the business, whilst reducing unnecessary complexity from things like low performing lines and different packaging and formulation variants. This is a very exciting project to be part of as I can tell that the work I am doing is used at a very high level within the business and is vital to the future of the company.

Despite being a diehard Southerner and originally being a bit daunted by the prospect of moving so far north, I’m very happy to be based at Port Sunlight and living in Liverpool. The office environment is relaxed, friendly and welcoming and the social life with other employees is extremely active (almost like I’m still a student!).

Last week, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to help out at Unilever’s Supply Chain Leadership Forum. This was a two day event where all the top people in Supply Chain got together to share ideas on the successful future of the business. As a reward for helping coordinate the personal care displays at the event, I got the chance to meet some very influential people within the company and enjoy two nights in the five star hotel where the conference was being held! There were lots of presentations by some really interesting people, not least top sports psychiatrist Professor Steve Peters, who has worked with the likes of British Cycling and Liverpool FC, on how to get the most out of your mind. Check out the extremely cheesy photo of me with one of our displays!

Ollie Supply chain

I wanted to do a year in industry to give me experience of the working world and to help me find out what sort of area I wanted to go in to. I’m so glad that I’m spending the year with Unilever as I could tell right from the start that my values really align with the way that work is done here. I’ve got a lot to do, and I’m looking forward to the remainder of my time here, this year and hopefully further on!


Harriet 1 Business areas

My First 6 Weeks in Supply Chain: Harriet Hix,…

Hello! My name is Harriet and I am a supply chain summer placement student in my sixth week at Unilever. It is fair to say, working at Unilever has exceeded all expectations. I am based at 100 Victoria Embankment in London which is Unilever’s global head office and seats Paul Polman, our CEO. The office is a hub of Unilever activity with people hot desking, coming and going constantly, each with different accents, nationalities and job titles.

I work on a global team based out of Switzerland called Strategy and Operations. Global teams have a planning and strategic role at Unilever, devising solutions to be rolled out globally to realise Unilever’s longer term goals and aspirations. I joined the project entitled War on Waste, we are a team of six working across three functions – finance, procurement and supply chain. The focus is redefining and enlarging the traditional scope of what we consider as waste and creating solutions to reduce this waste. Our project positively impacts our Sustainable Living Plan as well as contributing savings across the business.

The first week was an intense induction, within the first half an hour of sitting at my desk I was involved in a conference call with a planner working out of the Dubai office. On my second day, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to join my team in Istanbul where my induction continued. I can say with certainty that I learnt more in these two weeks than I thought possible. Climbing this steep learning curve, I was given my project – which I am working hard to complete during my 12 weeks. The project is to create a more fluid and dynamic solution to reduce one of the largest areas of waste. With the constant support of my line manager, I set out the scope and a description of the project in the form of a project proposal and this was sent out to the main stakeholders.

harriet 2

Touring the Ice Cream Factory in Turkey

At this point in my placement, I am at the stage where I am planning the roll out and utilisation of the tool I have designed and created. The tool is an online and interactive database recording and finding solutions to large quantities of business waste. One of the challenges I am facing is how to effectively communicate to all stakeholders, from various parts of the globe, the importance of adopting the changes I am proposing.

I am thoroughly enjoying my placement and I look forward to seeing the project through to completion. The ownership and responsibility you are given is something I did not expect but feel inspired by. The support of my team and greater supply chain function has been encouraging throughout the duration of my placement and even before I started.

When applying for a role at Unilever, I wanted to work on a team that were passionate and valued Unilever’s sustainability agenda and my team have definitely given me this opportunity. Additionally, senior managers have kindly taken the time to meet and explain to me their specific role in reducing Unilever’s environmental impact and positively impacting people’s lives. The passion for sustainable business practice and the interest in the livelihoods of people is an aspect of Unilever that is embedded in every day decision making and the culture. This is something I am proud of and encourages me to continue on my quest to work here when I graduate from University.

sc-2 Local Internship Programme

Welcome IPSP Supply Chain!

Welcome to our 2014/2015 Industrial and Summer Placement Supply Chain students!  Here they share with you their profiles, what attracted them to Unilever and top tips for future applicants:


Name: Adam Fox

University: Sheffield Hallam

Course: Business Economics

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Group Manufacturing Sustainability Industrial Placement

What attracted you to Unilever?

It’s a huge organisation and consequently has a well structured placement scheme. Also the fact it produces well known products played a part. Unilever has also embraced the drive for greater Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability which has directly impacted my role, and shows it to be at the forefront of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods market.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Take note of the standards of leadership and gear your application towards them. They really are an important part of the organisation and even form the basis of performance reviews. Be open to change and try to learn at every opportunity. This will probably be easiest if you enjoy your role here so make sure you know what the role entails and try to choose the right function that you think you would enjoy most.


Name: Amelia Coe

University: Oxford

Course: History & Politics

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Supply Chain Innovation Analyst

What attracted you to Unilever?

I was interested in the experience of working for an international company with as wide a range of scope and functions as Unilever in order to gain an understanding of the inner workings of a global company. I was also sold on the strength of principles and genuine drive for sustainability in all aspects of the business that stood out as clearly different to other companies in the sector and across various industries.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Ensure you attend any recruitment events at your university and make a note of who you speak to and the responses they gave to your questions. This will be useful in interviews and assessments in order to demonstrate your active interest and research into the company.

Don’t downplay previous experience no matter how small, you can find useful demonstrations of key skills in even the most unlikely of experiences you have had (I spoke in my Assessment Centre and interviews of a range of things from obvious examples of leadership roles in University teams and societies to my previous catering job and the experience of helping friends in difficult situations) – as long as you are clear about how the experience proves a time you showed an essential skill, it is worthwhile and interesting. Don’t be tempted to panic if you feel you do not have clear examples such as being a Captain or President of a club or society – it’s about genuinely drawing on your experience.


Name: Eric Baumgartner

University: Strasbourg Business School [France]

Course: Business Management

Function: Supply Chain Management

Role Title: Requirements Planner

What attracted you to Unilever?

I was attracted by Unilever’s offer of an industrial placement in Supply Chain Management promising real responsibility, all the necessary support to be successful, vast insight into the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry and into Supply Chain’s strategic interactions with other business departments. Furthermore, I was very interested to work for the company producing some of my favourite brands, such as Lynx!

Any top tips for future applicants?

I’d strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with Unilever’s Standards of Leadership, Sustainability Living Plan and culture. The knowledge will help you throughout the application process. Use the STAR (Situation, Tasks, Actions, Result) method whenever you can. Don’t forget to express your passion for a/some Unilever brand/s! You should also think about your reasons for a summer or industrial placement and how Unilever can meet your expectations. Finally, use your university’s career service as much as you can.


Name: George Morton

University: Birmingham

Course: Chemical Engineering

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Waste Reduction – Norwich SU

What attracted you to Unilever?

Unilever is a huge company with a great reputation and wealth of opportunities to take advantage of. I also think for me supply chain represents an opportunity to explore other areas of the business rather than a purely engineering role.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Be true to yourself, if you really want the position it will come across in your application and interviews and you are probably more likely to be successful!


Name: Hafsa Ahmedi

University: Loughborough

Course: Chemical Engineering

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Waste Reduction

What attracted you to Unilever?

All the great brands

Any top tips for future applicants?

Do your research!


Name: Harriet Hill

University: Newcastle

Course: Business Management

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Customer Service Operations

What attracted you to Unilever?

The pride Unilever takes in its Corporate Social Responsibility and the opportunities that would be made available to me due to the size of the organisation.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Apply as soon as possible!


Name: James Phillips

University: Loughborough University

Course: Management Sciences

Function: Supply chain

Role Title: Supply chain innovation analyst

What attracted you to Unilever?

The opportunity to work for a massive global company, whose brands I personally use on an everyday basis.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Feel relaxed and be yourself at all stages of the application. This may seem very obvious, but is the most key tip I can give, as the assessors are looking for people who can fit into the Unilever way of life.


Name: Kim Stehling

University: University of St Andrews

Course: BSc Economics

Function: Supply Chain Management

Role Title: USP Supply Chain Management

What attracted you to Unilever?

The scale of operations and the extent of the brand portfolio offer a vast range of opportunities across the supply chain. All the information I could find allowed me to get a really good picture of what it would be like to work at Unilever and I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be given real responsibility in a supportive and challenging business environment.

Any top tips for future applicants?

I found that the key to a successful application is genuine enthusiasm for Unilever’s brands, backed up with an understanding of the industry and function you are applying to. There is no need to be too nervous about the interview or the assessment centre – I really enjoyed the day and everyone I met was incredibly nice and approachable.


Name: Krishna-Kamal Mistry

University: Aston University

Course: Economics and Management

Function: Supply Chain Management

Role Title: Industrial Performance IP

What attracted you to Unilever?

I wanted experience in an Multi-National Corporation and company that cares for the world. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was the biggest attraction for me as it moves away from the Corporate Social Responsibility model which can be very controversial and known as a broken model.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Make sure you are fully aware of Unilever competencies (the Standard of Leadership) and have strong examples for them. Also try to enjoy the process, it’s not as terrifying as you think.


Name: Matthew Ridout

University: University of Leeds

Course: International Business and Economics

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Global Manufacturing Sustainability

What attracted you to Unilever?

I was attracted to Unilever by its reputation, brand focus, Sustainable Living Plan and the opportunity to gain experience working for a global company. I was particularly keen to work in a company that had links to retail and worked in the consumer goods industry and Unilever offered all of this, along with a challenging but exciting placement scheme.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Make sure you do your research on the business, as this is essential throughout the entire application process to demonstrate an interest in the business and that you have spent time to also get to know the business. Both Facebook and Twitter are great ways to find out about Unilever. Make sure you enjoy the assessment centre, as this will allow you to be yourself and showcase your personality and skills accurately. Preparation is key, but just because you are not the most outspoken or most qualified doesn’t mean that you won’t get on to the scheme.


Name: Matthew Spedding

University: University of Leeds

Course: Economics and Management

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Requirements Planner

What attracted you to Unilever?

The brands! The chance to work to develop some of the world’s biggest brands drew me in!

Any top tips for future applicants?

Always consider the end customer in every stage of the process. When giving situational examples, highlight the impact it had or has on the customer.


Name: Murray Tainton

University: University of St. Andrews

Course: International Relations

Function: Supply Chain Management

Role Title: USP – Supply Chain Management

What attracted you to Unilever?

A fantastic opportunity to work with some of my favourite brands in an incredibly successful company.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Make sure you have done your research on the company. This includes knowing all the aspects that your function may cover and current global issues that may affect them.


Name: Oscar Donovan

University: University College London (UCL)

Course: History

Function: Supply Chain

Role Title: Global Workplace Sustainability Assistant

What attracted you to Unilever?

The company’s commitment to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan as a business model rather than as some Corporate Social Responsibility on the side, its futuristic approach to where and how people should work, and the fact that it makes some of the best brands on the market utilising one of the best supply chains in the world.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Really get your head around all five Standards of Leadership and feel confident of your experience and competencies in each of those areas. Don’t pretend to be the finished product (because nobody is), just be open and friendly whilst proving your potential!

Robin Business areas

Looking back on my placement year: Robin Elley, Supply…

Hi, I’m Robin and I recently completed an Industrial Placement year at Unilever in the Supply Chain function.  I spent my twelve months at Unilever in Foods Planning working within the Dressings Category whose portfolio contains popular brands such as Hellmann’s and Colman’s. Essentially my role involved making sure the right stock is at the right place at the right time for Customers to order so that demand from Consumers can be fulfilled*. I spent the majority of my time talking to Factories and Sales Teams to make sure that we were producing exactly what was required and hitting all our key deadlines.

This year has been absolutely non-stop. Within of starting four weeks I was having to make calls over whether Salad Dressing production was to stop for the year, to ensure we were left without obsolete stock. Four months along I was solely responsible for planning around ten million jars of Colman’s condiments for Christmas. I really had to hit the ground running, considering the person who I was taking over from had around six years worth of experience within the industry.

My own learning curve throughout the year was incredibly steep; however, by having to cope with high levels of pressure early on, it meant that I was really developing my resilience as a person and gaining skills and experience that most people coming out university without a placement year can only dream of. The year has made me stronger both on paper but also as a potential employee, and I would encourage anyone to pick Unilever as the place to come to if they fancy genuinely having to cope with real responsibility from day one.

*For those who are curious, Customers are the retailers who buy our products with the intention of making it available for purchase by others. Consumers are those individuals who actually use the product once they buy it – like you and I. This is a really useful distinction to be aware of and often comes up in interviews.


Country: Mexico.
City/village: Mexico City.

Unilever HOLANDA Icecream Factory. Programmes

Production Planning – Catherine’s Experience


I have two signs above my desk. The first reads: “Do not feed the monkey”. In my defense, the reputation is a bit unfair; at one stage my colleagues were on various diets and so I nobly kept taking cake hits for the team.

The second says: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”.

Six months ago I became a factory Production Planner in East London, working in the largest margarine factory in the world. (Thankfully tasting sessions are not mandatory!) Working in Supply Chain is brilliant for putting you at the real heart of everything; without a Supply Chain that delivers quality products on budget and to time, sales or marketing teams are of little use. I like the way it sees things from start to finish, from raw ingredients to a finished glossy jar or tub sitting on a Tesco shelf.

The production planner is the interface between the larger planning structure, with people looking at the markets and demand, and internal colleagues that physically operate the machines and order the hundreds of litres of lemon juice. Trying to please both sides is a constant balancing act which makes each day different and brings you into contact with a whole bunch of characters that each have their own (sometimes conflicting!) work aims.

Factories have a very different function to offices: they are the cost centres, taking ingredients and transforming them into saleable products which the offices then make and sell at a profit. As such, factory life is pretty gritty: words are very black and white (and sometimes blue) and crises are quantified in tons and hours. When you’re making over 20,000 jars of mayonnaise a day, a small problem can soon result in a large, very oily mess.

The factory I work in, besides making margarine, also has one line dedicated to the production of mayonnaise and this is my baby! In short, I receive the demand from the countries for each of the 24 products and work out how we’re going to best use the line to keep the necessary stock levels of each product, whilst juggling promotions (unusually high demand), maintenance slots (when production time is lost to technical work) and other sometimes unexpected events. I also book roughly forty DHL lorries a week to take these products to four different European countries.

It’s all about problem-solving, thinking on your feet, and building relationships with a range of very different people to gain the knowledge and exert the influence you need to have in order to make your line as efficient as possible to maintain customer service and inventory levels. Keeping up with West Ham’s fortunes has proved essential.

In September, I knew absolutely nothing about the technical world of food production. I’d just graduated in History – and so it’s been a case of being dropped in the deep end (with great support) and tackling a very steep learning curve! But it’s been a thoroughly fun one, and I can see that it’s stood me in good stead for future Supply Chain roles. And if you’ve ever fancied modelling a blue boiler suit, this job is definitely for you.