Innovation is the cornerstone of our business success. A digital approach today is key to driving business transformation. As a leading marketing company, we are ensuring more personalised messaging to our consumers via the use of cutting-edge data management and AI. In manufacturing, we are increasingly applying robotic process automation (RPA) to deliver superior quality while ensuring agility in product delivery to shelf by cutting response time to market by 90 per cent.
Unilever Gulf won the inaugural Dubai Quality Global Award for the manufacturing sector this year. How was the experience?
While Unilever has been the recipient of many awards, participation in Dubai Quality Global Award was one-of-a-kind experience. The award’s rigorous and holistic assessment touched every facet — from strategy and leadership to people, purpose, partnerships and process. This provided us the opportunity to deep-dive and reflect on how we operate. An additional bonus was the great degree of synergy and teamwork displayed in ensuring a successful submission entry. Overall, receiving such an external recognition through a structured and globally proven process and experienced assessors has been a great source of pride.
Participation in the award requires adherence to certain globally proven excellence requirements. It was a revelation for us to see how our systems, methodologies, programmes and processes were compliant with such global requirements. The assessment by the experienced assessors allowed us the opportunity to look at the organisation from an external lens.
What was the main obstacle in winning the Dubai Quality Global Award?
Unilever is a very large organisation, given that we are one of the leading FMCG companies working across all the key categories of beauty and personal care, home care, and food and beverages. Additionally, with the UAE being a regional hub, in addition to local teams we also have regional and global teams to support us. The largest challenge we therefore faced was in data collation while ensuring that we put it together in the right context given that the award criteria covers the business end to end. This required input from all functions within a very short time span. The team did this perfectly, which is another example of commitment, passion, ownership and hard work, the key enablers of Unilever Gulf’s excellence.
What are the innovations you have introduced in your organisation to further raise the standards of excellence?
Innovation is the cornerstone of our business success. A digital approach today is key to driving business transformation. As a leading marketing company, we are ensuring more personalised messaging to our consumers via the use of cutting-edge data management and AI. In manufacturing, we are increasingly applying robotic process automation (RPA) to deliver superior quality while ensuring agility in product delivery to shelf by cutting response time to market by 90 per cent. We are using the latest technology to build our people capabilities by providing teams with access to global learning systems while applying the latest IT applications and systems to protect one of our most valuable assets – information.
What are Unilever’s plans for sustainable growth?
Based on our belief that businesses that thrive in the future will be those that serve society today, our ambition is to scale up our work on delivering sustainable and responsible growth by improving the health of our planet via our brands and operations.
In the past few years the work done under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which supports the UAE’s sustainability vision and ambitions, has seen us deliver many firsts. Our Lipton Jebel Ali plant was the first manufacturing site to send zero waste to landfill as far back as 2014. Our Dubai Personal Care Factory was the largest private sector solar park in MENA at the time of its launch in December 2016. We have additionally reduced the environmental impact of our operations through reduction in water and energy usage and CO2 emissions. Our brands continue to drive community engagement with their purpose-led campaigns and have already educated five million people in the Gulf on hand and oral hygiene.