Unilever has been working with scoutbee for several years now, benefitting from its AI-powered supplier discovery and insights in many sourcing cases. For our collaboration in 2021, Unilever rewarded scoutbee with the Unilever “Partner with Purpose” award. The award recognizes selected partners as “visionaries, innovators, and changemakers” who are aligned with Unilever’s purpose and goals.
In addition, Unilever mentioned scoutbee in its annual report for 2021: the multinational has brought “scoutbee into our supplier discovery process to quicken, streamline and strengthen our search for partners – giving us a more resilient network.”
Here, we take a look back at our partnership so far and how scoutbee is contributing to Unilever’s procurement goals.
Moving towards procurement with purpose
Unilever has developed its strategy over the last few years to focus on “procurement with purpose” – buying responsibly, buying better, and growing alongside its partners. The sheer magnitude of Unilever’s global operations means that the material impacts can be considerable.
As Dave Ingram, Chief Procurement Officer at Unilever, says in a fireside chat: “Our impact from climate, greenhouse gas, conservation, regeneration and social inclusion really does come through in procurement.”
Always with its finger on the pulse of market trends, Unilever is rising to the occasion when it comes to consumer demand for “radical transparency and traceability”. That’s why every team at Unilever has sustainability gains as an inherent part of their bonus structure, so the whole organization is motivated to work together towards positive change.
Teams are evaluated on buying responsibly according to targets for the area of business they work in (such as greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation or, increasingly, social commitments).
Only digitization and data insights can create meaningful growth
Unilever is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in its sourcing and has extremely exacting standards when it comes to meaningful growth. Ingram explains that Unilever operates according to “4G growth – that’s growth that is competitive, profitable, consistent and, importantly, responsible.” As he points out, “This can only be done efficiently through digital means and operating in a new way, by using available data that can lead to insight far quicker than in the past.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Unilever has been using scoutbee’s AI-driven supplier discovery to help it continue to be a pioneer in the FMCG market. Ingram speaks to the “huge visibility of the market” and the capacity to secure and accredit suppliers faster than ever before and in a more reliable and holistic way. So, thanks to scoutbee, when his buyers are “making a call on a particular contract or negotiation, they have all of that insight”.
Alexandra Tarmo, Head of Partnerships & Social Procurement at Unilever, agrees: “We need the best visibility across categories to always stimulate supplier competition, so we can involve a greater spectrum of suppliers, and so our partner ecosystem will achieve new heights. With markets so large and so dynamic, it is simply not possible to achieve such ambitious progress without technology that can enable us to see emerging opportunities and pursue them efficiently.”
Her new aim is to introduce a new set of diverse suppliers, at the same time making sure that procurement is providing top innovations. “scoutbee is a great tool to onboard suppliers quickly that we maybe haven’t even heard of,” she says.
She gives an example of how scoutbee discovered a supplier for a meat alternative for the UK retail market – a highly competitive consumer market, with a relatively complex product and supply chain. “scoutbee helped unlock much value – within 5 weeks, end-to-end, we had identified an innovative supplier that met new levels for innovation and also diversity.”
Looking to the future
scoutbee is proud to be part of Unilever’s incredible journey towards sustainable, socially conscious procurement through a diverse network of global suppliers. Ingram sums up our collaboration perfectly: “Our journeys are a collection of our partnerships, and we value each and every one of those, so thanks to the whole team at scoutbee.”
And thank you to Unilever from everyone here at scoutbee – we look forward to many more successful joint projects in the future!
About the Award
Unilever’s Partner with Purpose (UPWP) programme, which launched in 2020, is taking purpose-led partnerships to a whole new level to fuel industry-leading innovations, protect and regenerate nature and make sustainable living commonplace. For further info, visit the website.