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!
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!
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.
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.