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IBM Enters Procurement Services Transformation Initiative Agreement With Unilever North America


ARMONK, NY - 12 Dec 2005: IBM today announced the signing of an agreement to transform and manage strategic sourcing and procurement operations of indirect materials and services for Unilever’s North American operations. The 5-year agreement commences immediately, with anticipated transition completed by June 1, 2006.

“Companies such as Unilever are increasingly looking for a new kind of managed procurement relationship with IBM that helps them to optimize business process performance and deliver bottom line business value,” said John Paterson, chief procurement officer, IBM Integrated Supply Chain. “Utilizing the same assets, methodologies and analytical tools that reduced IBM’s own procurement costs by more than $6.5 billion, we are uniquely positioned to provide value to clients with any type of supply chain transformation.”

In addition to improving cost efficiency, IBM will work with Unilever North America to optimize procurement processes and deploy industry-leading analytics tools and process methodologies. IBM will also leverage its technology expertise and network of procurement transformation centers of excellence which already manage optimized procurement processes for several IBM customers worldwide.

Simply put, the procurement of many of the products and services that Unilever North America uses to run its business, from office equipment to travel, to IT equipment to utilities, will be handled by IBM. “We will get access to the expertise and technology strengths of IBM to further streamline our processes and improve efficiencies,” said Greg Polcer, Unilever Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, NA. “IBM’s management of our non-production items will further free Unilever in North America to focus resources and energy around business activities that are more consumer and customer facing to add more value and drive growth.”

About IBM
Business Consulting Services With consultants and professional staff in more than 160 countries globally, IBM Business Consulting Services is the world’s largest consulting services organization. IBM Business Consulting Services provides clients with business transformation and industry expertise, and the ability to translate that expertise into integrated, responsive, on-demand business solutions and services that deliver bottom-line business value. Over the past several years, IBM Business Consulting Services has developed industry-leading transformation consulting skills and delivery capabilities in key areas, including Human Resources, Financial Management, Customer Relationship Management and Procurement. For more information, visit

About Unilever
Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers make 150 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out of life. In the United States these brands include recognized names such as: Axe, “all,” Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Knorr, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever has 230,000 employees in almost 100 countries and generated annual sales of $50 billion in 2004. In the United States, Unilever employs more than 15,000 people in 74 office and manufacturing sites in 24 states and Puerto Rico -- generating approximately $10 billion in sales in 2004. For more information visit or

SAFE HARBOUR STATEMENT: This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ’forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ’expects’, ’anticipates’, ’intends’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results and their negatives are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting Unilever. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Unilever operates and new or changed priorities of the Unilever Boards of Directors. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting Unilever are described in Unilever’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report & Accounts on Form 20-F. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, Unilever expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Unilever’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


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