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Unilever outsources end-user services to Unisys

By Simon Pitman , 13-Nov-2009
Last updated on 13-Nov-2009 at 13:02 GMT

Unilever says it will secure over €1bn of savings in its IT division from the outsourcing of end-user services to IT services provider Unisys.

The contract will provide support for 60,000 staff throughout the company’s global operations, serving as an end-user support mechanism for staff involved in all of the company’s business activities – personal care, food and home care.

The contract was brokered through Unilever’s UK subsidiary and will see management and support services provided to Unilever staff in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Unisys says that its support teams will be based in its service centres worldwide, including major facilities in Budapest, Hungary and Bangalore, India.

Unisys and Unilever established first contract in 2005

Unilever first contracted in Unisys in November 2005, when it contracted out IT support services on a larger Unilever IT project and the work relationship has been gradually developed since then.

Although the financial terms of the deal have not been revealed, the companies say that the initial contract is for a four year period, with an option to extend it by one year once the contract period is finished.

The services will include support and development of worktop applications, access to IT facilities for staff that travel for work, together with support and self-help solutions to help staff fix IT-related problems.

Peter Opalka, Unilever vice president of global client services said the move would serve to help in “leveraging innovative, cost-effective IT management practices to empower our employees with greater flexibility and choice in how they perform their roles.”

Savings since 2007 exceed €1bn

Unilever estimates that since plans were first introduced to restructure its IT operations in 2007, it has so far saved an estimated £960m (€1.07bn).

The move to outsource the company’s IT support services is part of a global initiative to create cost savings and greater efficiencies throughout Unilever’s business divisions.

In line with the cost saving goal, the company also announced this week that it is combining its US-based antiperspirants, deodorant and hair care group with its skin care division.

North American business restructuring

The move will create a US personal care business unit based at the consumer giant’s North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

As a result Unilever says it will close its Michigan Avenue office in Chicago by July 2010, a move that will affect some 200 personnel who are currently employed at the location.

Since 2006 Unilever has integrated a number of its operations in North America with the aim of improving efficiencies and giving it greater financial resources to develop its brands.

Between 2008 and 2009 the company concentrated on integrating its global supply chain, while in 2007 it integrated its North American ice cream business into its US operations, while combining its Connecticut and Illinois offices in 2006.

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