knorr-factory International Internship Programme

My first 3 months as a UFLP with Knorr!

Hello, I am Ney and it is not easy to start describing this working experience but I will try to explain my expectations before I got in Unilever, what I have been learning and how working life is..

I applied for this position in supply chain because it has everything I was interested in: working for an international company with one of the most important brands in the world but at the same time with a huge environmental commitment.

The expectations I had were quite high, but when I knew I was accepted for this position I was so excited and looking forward to beginning this adventure.

Read more “My first 3 months as a UFLP with Knorr!”

Marta profile pic Business areas

My first 3 months as a Customer Replenishment Specialist:…

Hello everyone,

After some pushing from my friend Diana, here I am writing a blog post on my experience as a ULFP in Supply Chain!

I joined the scheme in September 2015 and I’m about half way through my first rotation as a Customer Replenishment Specialist for Tesco, Dunnes and Musgrave. Never heard about the last two? Well, that’s because I was lucky enough to be put up in our office in Citywest Dublin!

Read more “My first 3 months as a Customer Replenishment Specialist: Marta Perricone, Supply Chain UFLP”

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:

Adam-Fox

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.

Amelia-Coe

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.

Eric-Baumgartner

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.

George-Morton

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!

Hafsa-Ahmedi

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!

Harriet-Hill

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!

James-Phillips

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.

Kim-Stehling

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.

krishna-mistry

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.

Matthew-Ridout

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.

Matthew-Spedding

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.

Oscar-Donovan

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.

Robin

UnileverU Business & Technology Management (BTM)

Unilever UK & Ireland Locations

One of the questions we get asked most on our Facebook page is “Where will I be based?” and also “Can you guarantee my location?”. This post will hopefully answer all your location questions!

So, where might you be based? The UFLP is a geographically flexible scheme – meaning you move around for placements, making sure you get the best experience possible, working with lots of different teams and in different situations. Each function is slightly different, with different key sites where you’ll be working. You are supported by Unilever to move house each placement move 🙂

Industrial and Summer placements will have one location (usually) for the whole duration – and this will be confirmed when you are assigned a role. We don’t usually guarantee locations for anyone applying to the UFLP or Industrial and Summer Placement schemes.

Business & Technology Management (my function)

In BTM, you’re most likely to be working in:
– St. Davids Park (North Wales) – when working here grads tend to live in Chester or Liverpool. This site is closing and moving to Port Sunlight at the end of 2014, so you’re less likely to work here as more people move over to…
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – again, working here people tend to live in Chester or Liverpool.
– Kingston (London) – our newly refurbished services centre, Kingston office is based right in Kingston town centre – trainees tend to live in Clapham or Wimbledon (or anywhere else in London) to work here.
– Those are the 3 most likely sites, but you can also do stints at Blackfriars (100VE), Leatherhead and Colworth. You do an out of function placement, and for that you will be based at a site for the relevant function.

Customer Management (Sales) and Marketing 

Customer Management & Marketing are mostly London-based placements. It’s quite rare that you’d be based at other offices right now. You’re most likely to be in:
– Leatherhead (Surrey) – Our UK Headquarters, where we have an awesome Ben & Jerry’s Bar. Most grads tend to live in Clapham or Wimbledon and commute out.
– Blackfriars (London) – 1 of our 2 Global Headquarters (the other one is in Rotterdam, NL) . Again, most people live in Clapham or Wimbledon, mostly so they don’t have to move house when moving between the two!
You could also be based at our Tigi or Ben & Jerrys HQs, which are also in London.

In Customer Management (Sales), there is also an opportunity to be based in Dublin (Our Irish HQ) for your 2nd Placement.

R&D

Research & Development are mostly based at our Research & Development sites. You’re also likely to do an out-of-function placement in Supply Chain, CD or Marketing, which will most likely be based in Leatherhead or Blackfriars.
– Leeds – We have an R&D site for Deos up in Leeds – most grads tend to live in Leeds itself.
– Colworth (Bedford) – Our Colworth site is where a lot of ice cream and tea is developed – most grads tend to live in Bedford
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – Our Liverpool site is where a lot of personal care and home care research goes on. Most grads tend to live in Liverpool or Chester.

Supply Chain

In Supply Chain, you tend to do 4 placements – a planning role and a customer service role – usually both based at Leatherhead (or maybe Leeds), and then a project role and a factory shift management role – these roles could be based across the UK – the factories where you’re most likely to be based are:

– Norwich – The home of Colman’s mustard!
– Gloucester – Where you can taste the most delicious ice cream straight off the production line!
– Seacroft (Leeds) – Where the infamous Lynx is made, along with all of our other aerosols.
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – Our Laundry Factories are all based on at Port Sunlight – most grads tend to live in Liverpool or Chester.
You could also be based at Crumlin, Purfleet, Slough, Doncaster, Burton, Trafford Park or Warrington.

Finance & HR

Financial Management and Human Resources Management trainees could be based pretty much at any of our sites! You tend to support different teams to get a breadth of experience. You will usually do at least one placement at Leatherhead or Blackfriars in both Finance and HR, and then you might go to any of our offices (the R&D sites, plus Kingston, Dublin and the TIGI & Ben & Jerrys HQs in London),  or any of our factories (see the supply chain list).

This list hopefully helps you to understand a bit more about where you’re likely to be based when working in the UK & Ireland – it’s not exhaustative unfortunately  but the majority of sites are mentioned above! Many of our schemes offer international placements when you could be based anywhere from Durban to Singapore to Sao Paulo. As a grad, you get used to going where you’re told as you know a really exciting placement is waiting for you there – and usually there will be at least a few other grads placed in the same location.

Let us know if you have any other questions – the best place to ask is on Facebook or Twitter!

Supply Chain

Christmas in Supply Chain

Hi! My name is Orla and I’m one of the supply chain graduate trainees. I’m just finishing my first placement, and wanted to share a little bit about what I got up to. As a supply chain UFLP we complete four placements – each lasting six months. Each role is based in a different part of the supply chain, so by the end of the two years we’ll have experienced planning, manufacturing, customer service and projects. It’s a great way to learn about the business first hand, while developing our own skills.

My first placement has been my project role, and it was in what is lovingly known as “the world of trucks and sheds” – a.k.a. Distribution! Distribution is a fast paced part of the business and is vital in keeping everything moving smoothly and allowing us to maintain world class customer service. Unilever has five distribution centres across the UK. They take deliveries of stock from the various factories, store it, and then dispatch it to the customers when they order it.

While as a shopper you rarely think about how a product gets onto the shelf, in this role I got an insight into how complex a process it can be, and how many people are involved in getting products from the factory to the store in great condition and at a competitive price. My role was to manage the storage and dispatch of Christmas giftpacks. Unilever’s collection of popular brands means that the giftpacks are a favourite under the Christmas tree, and therefore we make nearly 16 million of them. As a result, we needed to start making and storing them as early as July!

One of the challenges I faced in my role was how to bring Unilever’s Sustainability agenda to Christmas gifting. I worked with colleagues in other parts of the organisation, along with third parties and warehouse operations teams to deliver Christmas stock on double deck trailers. This reduced the number of trucks on the road across the UK, and lessened the carbon impact of distributing Christmas giftpacks.

As Christmas got nearer, things got busier and busier in my role, and I quickly learnt to think on my feet and to problem solve effectively while still maintaining customer service standards. This is where the support network that comes with being part of the UFLP was really great, as I could turn to my fellow trainees, my buddy and my mentor for support and advice.

With Christmas 2012 now wrapped up, the focus of the team is now firmly on 2013. How can we improve? Can we get products to our customers quicker? At less cost? In more environmentally friendly ways? Unilever are always striving to improve and that makes it a very exciting place to work. No two days are the same when working in distribution – from technical issues in the warehouse, to trucks delayed due to heavy snow – it is a challenging but rewarding environment for a UFLP trainee.

For me, it’s time to move to Liverpool to start my next placement in our Port Sunlight factory. But I’ve already had a sneak peak at this year’s Christmas giftpacks and I can tell you that you’ll have lots of them on your Christmas giftlists! And who knows, maybe you’ll be the one coordinating their delivery…

Supply Chain

A Quality Time So Far

Hi, my name is Will and I am just over half way through my first placement in supply chain. I have come from a relatively unusual background for supply chain having studied History at university, however, I have not found this to be a disadvantage at all; apart from having to Google how to do the odd thing in excel!

I have been placed in a projects role for my first rotation and I am based near Liverpool at Port Sunlight. I have had an amazing four months in Liverpool with the other grads that are based here. The team have I’ve joined have been really welcoming and extremely helpful, which has made settling in much easier than I thought. I am currently working in Group Quality Excellence as part of the go to market team; this has been a real eye opener for me as I did not know too much about quality before joining.  The basic function of this team is to be the lead for the global design of Unilever quality processes in the ‘go to market area’ (logistics and customer).  Since joining, I have discovered that in the past Quality was often viewed as performing a policing role, however, Quality has since moved towards being proactive, so as to avoid issues arising rather than sorting them out afterwards. Consequently, the projects I am working on are more strategic than operational; this means that most of the work I do will not impact the business immediately but it will add value in the long-term.

My time has been divided across four projects in a variety of different areas of the business, which all require me to perform different roles. For example, I have taken on a PMO (Project Management Office) role for a project called ‘Taint’, which is part of a much larger project that will generate huge savings both in terms of carbon and money. Whilst at the same time in a different project I have been working very closely with logistics to ensure that any alterations that are made do not impact the quality of our products. I have done this through creating a series of documents outlining how trials must be performed and carrying out investigations into failure reports. In addition to this I have also compiled and analysed data on all of the warehouses we use that are not Unilever owned in Europe, to conclude whether these warehouses are compliant with our strict regulations. This project was done in parallel with the quality team over in the Americas, so I had to discuss my analysis with my colleague sat in Brazil; unfortunately I couldn’t quite persuade my manager that a face to face meeting would be beneficial!

The graduate scheme is exceptional in that you are given real responsibility from day one. Another main attraction for me was the fact that Unilever is a truly global company. I have always loved travelling, and working for Unilever will hopefully give me the opportunity to move abroad and work in one of our offices around the world.