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In 2005 Unilever took "a hard look in the mirror and decided it had to change," according to Christian Kaufmann, managing director, Finance Business Services Europe. The mirror reflected a complex and fragmented picture. Unilever's employees in 24 countries used 18 ERP systems and hundreds of different finance processes. Unilever also employed a large number of people in each country; there were three business units with three CEOs and three separate leadership teams. "This was putting pressure on the top line," says Kaufmann. "Because Unilever's business groups operated as a loose federation, there was duplication, high cost, and varying quality." The consumer goods company launched the "One Unilever" program. Its goals: to streamline the business (including finance), achieve substantial savings and become more consumer focused.
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