Under Helm of New CEO Hein Schumacher, Will Unilever Supply Chain See Increased Digital and Sustainable Innovation?
Unilever has tapped into various key technologies over the last year in its goal toward increased sustainability and automation — among them are digital twins, artificial intelligence, satellite imaging, and geolocation. The company says it garners a 360-degree view of its supply chain by combining nearly 40 years of continuous satellite imagery, along with data storage and machine learning, to monitor mills, landscapes, and farms.
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According to Andrew Wilcox, Unilever senior manager, sustainable sourcing and digital programs, the company is looking to make sustainability data — and the tech it uses to gather and analyze it — more accessible, inclusive, easy to adopt, and easily scalable.
“As our data ecosystem is updated and becomes richer, we get an increasingly clearer idea of the finer details of our sourcing supply chain and actions we can take to help protect and regenerate nature,” Wilcox told CGT in an interview last year.
To support its digital initiatives, the company has moved almost its entire business to the cloud. Additionally, these changes are all part of Unilever’s long-term plan, which prompted a restructuring of the organization into five business groups earlier last year.
“I am delighted to have been appointed to lead Unilever. It is a business with an impressive global footprint, a strong brand portfolio, a talented team, and an enviable reputation as a leader in sustainability,” said Hein. “I will be very focused on working with the Unilever team to deliver a step-up in business performance, as we serve the billions of people around the world who use its products every day.”
Hein, who took on the role of non-executive director at Unilever this past October, is leading the charge beginning July 1, following a one-month handover period with Alan Jope, who has stepped down.
He brings an impressive lineup of skills having worked across retail and finance, including for H.J. Heinz leading strategy across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Hein began his career in finance at Unilever.
In a statement, Unilever chairman Nils Andersen said Hein is a “dynamic, values-driven business leader who has a diverse background of experiences and an excellent track record of delivery in the global consumer goods industry. He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and strong experience in both developed and developing markets.”