Technology applied to key touch points at consumer goods businesses

April 20, 2022 | 13:56
Sustainable manufacturing, digital marketing, and human development are three key touchpoints where Unilever is utilising technology and digital transformation in its consumer goods business.

Digital transformation is an inevitable trend not only in Vietnam but also all over the world. One of the three main pillars to help promote a comprehensive digital transformation in the country is building a digital economy, thus helping the recovery and development in the new normal.

From the perspective of Unilever, digital transformation not only helps refuel most activities but also promotes efficiency, innovation and enterprise position.

Sustainable and innovative manufacturing

The digital transformation process at Unilever Vietnam's factories and other divisions started in 2018.

The company's factories in Bac Ninh and Cu Chi have built and implemented a roadmap for modernisation and digital transformation over the period from 2018 to 2024.

Factories have made the transition from manual production operations based mainly on human power and discrete data management to smart automation and robotics, aiming for the goal of total smart automation by 2024.

Unilever Vietnam factory to use robots in packaging and transporting products
Unilever Vietnam's factory uses robots for packaging and transporting products

The process of data operations is upgraded with the IoT system and AI through a super app that allows the synchronisation of all feedback and information to a system for analysis and processing. Unilever Vietnam's factories have gradually applied machine learning and big data to production and operations, promoting data analysis and forecasting. This further improves operational efficiency and picks up on future trends.

One more significant contribution of the digital transformation process in consumer goods manufacturing and distribution is environmental protection. The application of technology provides solutions to carbon reduction, as well as water and energy saving during manufacturing.

Digital marketing and distribution channels

In addition to its factory operations, Unilever Vietnam also leverages digital technology to transform consumer trends through data-driven marketing.

Determining that data is the fuel for the future, Unilever Vietnam’s brands have transformed into a new marketing model, focusing on conversion and directing personalised messages to target customers in real-time. It also incorporates machine learning, AI, and new technologies like extended reality into its marketing to bring new experiences to customers.

Technology applied to key touch points at consumer goods businesses
Dove to receive Vietnam's only Gold award at MMA Global Smarties X 2021 in the category of Machine Learning and AI

Unilever Vietnam also concentrates on digital, omnichannel, and data-connected sales models. Besides traditional and modern channels, the shift to online sales and emerging sales strategies require consumer goods businesses to come up with creative ways to refresh themselves.

Unilever Vietnam has deployed the OrderUNow application, helping more than 170,000 grocery and retail stores across the country with digital transformation. The company also leads in the Direct-to-Customer model through the UShop e-commerce ecosystem – specialising in selling Unilever products. At the same time, the company's brands are also favourites on e-commerce platforms and it has become a strategic partner in the multi-channel sales model with supermarket chains.

Retailer to order goods directly from Unilever on the OrderUNow app
Retailers order goods directly from Unilever on the OrderUNow app

Personal development

Unilever Vietnam pays careful attention to building data-driven operations within the company. Building and designing the foundation system and equipping personnel with data management skills is a challenge but an opportunity for more than 10,000 people in Unilever Vietnam's value chain, helping them to prepare for the future and make data-driven decisions.

Unilever Vietnam to build data-driven activities within the business
Unilever Vietnam to build data-driven activities within its business

The demand for digitalization, technology, and innovation also requires businesses to invest in the research and development of digital platforms, thereby facilitating people to develop their technical skills and knowledge and enhancing the digital standard of the economy.

By Mai Dang

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional