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BLUE™ Streamlines Artwork Management for Unilever On a Global Scale

By BLUE Software

Since 2003, BLUE has helped Unilever, one of the world’s largest and most respected consumer products companies, deploy a customized Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) packaging artwork management technology solution to more than 12,000 users in 80 countries globally.

Initially, Unilever implemented BLUE to manage packaging artwork projects in North America. With BLUE Workflow Management, the company established a well-defined packaging artwork process and quickly realized benefits including:

  • Internal and external accountability through task ownership.
  • Robust KPI reporting for stakeholders.
  • Significant cost savings due to reductions in rework.

Unilever then deployed BLUE across its operations in Latin America, Asia/AMET, and Europe.

The Unilever Challenge

With more than 400 brands spanning multiple categories of home, personal care, and foods products, Unilever’s products are chosen 160 million times a day, every day, around the world.

For this reason, packaging consistency is vital as it communicates not just familiarity but also trust and authenticity – which is especially important in regions where brand counterfeiting and product adulteration are common.

The key challenge for Unilever was to overcome the obstacles created by disparate legacy processes and systems both across and within regional operations. Achieving global brand consistency, improving speed to market, and ensuring superior quality on shelf required global process workflow harmonization. Unilever identified several key goals worldwide for a SaaS artwork management technology solution:

  • Introduce consistent business processes (including roles and responsibilities) both across and within regions
  • Work toward a single global artwork process, facilitated and managed by the same tool in all regions but maintaining necessary differences
  • Assign clear task ownership from brief through release of files to printer to ensure accountability
  • Report inefficiencies and non-compliance with the established process to key stakeholders to determine where bottlenecks occur and where shifting resources may be necessary
  • Grow and evolve the process based on these reporting results using a highly configurable, nimble system to facilitate necessary changes quickly

The BLUE Packaging Artwork Management Solution

BLUE and Unilever performed an in-depth analysis of Unilever’s existing packaging artwork workflow (and goals for the future) and then defined solution requirements to evaluate the feasibility of such a large-scale deployment. Through this analysis, Unilever learned BLUE has the ability to deploy and sustain an enterprise-wide solution to work towards both a more harmonized workflow for artwork projects as well as a Digital Asset Manager that can be localized to meet regional market demands.  Unilever also discovered BLUE can deliver concrete data through robust reporting on KPIs such as “right first time” percentages, cycle numbers, reasons for re-work, etc.

The result? BLUE is now deployed globally at Unilever and manages more than 60,000 pieces of artwork annually.

The Results

BLUE has helped Unilever move closer to a single global process for managing artwork projects, with strategic benefits: delivering products to market more quickly, achieving greater brand consistency, protecting brand equity, freeing valuable resources, and reducing overall artwork management and production costs.

Shoppers around the world are enjoying more compelling and consistent experiences with Unilever’s trusted brands thanks to the higher quality and consistency of Unilever packaging. Consistency reinforces familiarity, authenticity, and credibility. Speed-to-market improves consumer satisfaction, and accuracy of content on pack engenders consumer trust.

“In addition to the BLUE technology platform, the team’s industry expertise, implementation experience, and support capabilities were key factors in our decision to partner with BLUE for this important initiative.”
– Leonardo Hirschbrand, Artwork Excellence Director Unilever Americas

“After the BLUE deployments in the other Unilever regions, we felt that also the European requirements could be met by the BLUE solution and would provide the global harmonization Unilever requires.”
– Thomas Schurr, Artwork Excellence Director Unilever Europe