BLUE™ Streamlines Unilever’s Artwork Management On a Global Scale

Since 2004, BLUE has helped Unilever, one of the world’s largest and most respected consumer products companies, deploy a customized Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) graphics management technology solution to over 7,000 users in 80 countries globally.

Initially, Unilever implemented BLUE technology in North America. After realizing significant improvements from a streamlined workflow, reduced cost and improved brand consistency, Unilever deployed BLUE across its operations in South America, Asia Pacific and European operations.


The Challenge

With 400 brands spanning 14 categories of home, personal care, and foods products, no other company touches so many people’s lives in as many different ways as Unilever, whose products are chosen 160 million times a day, every day, around the world.

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

The key challenge for Unilever was to overcome the obstacles created by the disparate processes and systems used by its operations in different parts of the world. Achieving brand consistency, speed to market and superior quality required global workflow harmonization. Unilever identified five key goals worldwide for a SaaS graphics management technology solution:

  • Introduce common business practices across the region
  • Identify/report inefficiencies in the process
  • Deploy an improved process for increased speed to market
  • Reduce errors in artwork management
  • Achieve a single global organization

The challenge called for technology that could unify all Unilever workflow participants – design agencies, premedia companies and printers – with Unilever across all regions for all Unilever brands. This would provide complete transparency into the process and full accountability.

Unilever also needed to be able to assign task ownership to key individuals at all stages, from design brief through print run. This would help identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and would also pinpoint areas where resource-shifting might be required.

The Solution

The BLUE team and Unilever performed an in-depth analysis of Unilever’s global workflow and requirements to evaluate the feasibility of such a large-scale deployment. Through this analysis, BLUE experts assured Unilever that they had the ability to both deploy and sustain an enterprise-wide solution that would create a more harmonized workflow and a single artwork library that could still be localized to meet regional market demands.

The system would also deliver concrete data through robust reporting of factors such as “right first time” percentage, cycle numbers, reasons for re-work, etc. The result? The BLUE SaaS is now deployed in all four of Unilever’s major global regions.


The Results

BLUE has helped Unilever move closer to its goal of a globally harmonized workflow, with strategic business benefits: delivering products to market more quickly, achieving greater brand consistency and protecting brand equities, and reducing overall workflow 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 materials across media. Consistency reinforces familiarity, authenticity and credibility. Unilever’s brands are also quicker to market and thus better able to satisfy shopper demands for novelty and satisfaction.

“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, Unilever IT Director of Marketing 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 Director Unilever Europe