Unilever focuses on convenience

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) - Unilever Thailand views digitalisation as a new challenge to its fast-moving consumer products business, and also as an opportunity for the company to better serve its customers, says Robert Candelino, CEO of the Unilever Thai Group of Companies that also serve Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

UNILEVER Thailand views digitalisation as a new challenge to its fast-moving consumer products business, and also as an opportunity for the company to better serve its customers, says Robert Candelino, CEO of the Unilever Thai Group of Companies that also serve Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Technological disruption will be a challenge for everybody, said Candelino, not just for one industry or sector.
“All of us need to recognise the inevitability of a digital future, and as such we all have to figure out how to evolve from our legacy models to future-proofed models.
“At Unilever, we are approaching this evolution similar to how we have done for all major changes throughout our long history – by focusing on being the best partner to all our |customers, by having great products that are purposeful and add value to people’s lives, and by remaining the most preferred employer in Thailand by attracting leaders who want to help shape the future in a positive way,” he said.
“We remain very excited about the dynamism and opportunity of the Thai market,” said Candelino.
“Unilever has been in operation here for 87 years and today our |products are enjoyed by every Thai three times a day.”
The company is proud of its local history, particularly its relationship with retailers of all types – who it calls “partners”.
“We must and we will continue to prepare ourselves for the inevitable changes that we foresee,” said Candelino. “Principal among them is the opportunity that the digital |revolution offers in terms of how we can better serve our |customers and consumers. Clearly, digitisation will affect every aspect of human life, including how we all will shop in the future. This will likely mean that all retailers will have a digital or e-commerce capability, because it is our expectation that consumers will continue to seek the convenience and efficiency of shopping wherever, whenever they want. As always, we are ready for this change and working with all our retail partners to harness the opportunity.”
Candelino said that Unilever has a very clear purpose as a company – “to make sustainable living commonplace”. This purpose is underpinned by its three core beliefs – that brands with purpose grow, companies with purpose last and people with purpose thrive. 
That central focus on purpose is key. “Purposeful organisations, led by the most purposeful people, often |generate the best performance over the long term,” he said.
“Our operational strategy, therefore, is rather simple. We will continue to lead our industry by delivering superior products that are preferred by people and contribute to make our societies better for the long term. We will increase our commitment to sustainability, including and especially in reducing plastic waste. We have already made clear our commitment to be 100 per cent recyclable, recycled or compostable by 2025 on all our plastics worldwide. 
“Lastly, we will continue to recruit, train and develop the very best talent available.”
Delivering consistent growth ahead of the markets remains the company’s goal, he said, adding, it was reflected in its commitment to remain a leader in the current segments while creating new products, services and partnerships to accelerate growth. “As leader, we are constantly pioneering new models for our business. In retail we are supporting small-hold mum and pop shops through our Ran Tid Dao programme, which provides mentoring and coaching for small retailers on how to help their business grow.
“We have a direct-selling business for ice cream through our ‘I’m Wall’s’ programme, which was invented in Thailand 30 years ago and provides employment opportunities for salesmen across the country to deliver ice cream direct to consumers. Equally we are working with all of our retail partners, new and existing, on how we can better serve them as they evolve on their own journey
In short, says Candelino, Unilever has enjoyed success “because we have always been on the leading edge of all major changes in our industry and this will indeed remain our goal into the future”.

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