How Unilever manages price volatility

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One of the biggest challenges facing supply chain professionals in the global market has been the increasing volatility of commodity prices in recent year, making planning increasingly difficult.

As a result commodity risk management has become an increasingly important task – particularly for FMCG companies.

Mark Taylor, vice president procurement, commodities at Unilever, will look at the issues surrounding this at Extended Supply Chain 2012.

He will describe how Unilever has created a dedicated team to manage its exposnure to commodity price moves as well as its strategy of focusing on six key areas. Doing these six things well has brought significant benefits to the company, he says.

Taylor is just one of the top speakers at the conference, which takes place in London from 16th to 18th April.

Jon Chorley, who is chief sustainability officer and vice president, supply chain management product strategy at Oracle, will look at: “The CEO-led supply chain transformation: one year on”.

This will focus on Oracle’s takeover of Sun –  not simply a major event for the IT industry: it presented a significant challenge in terms of transforming the supply chain.

The presentation will take in regulatory compliance and supply chain execution; sales and operations planning; service parts supply chain and working with logistics service providers to deliver a configure-to-order supply chain.

Padraig Healy, executive director of supply chain operations at Dell, will be looking at the issues associated with supply chain alignment at the Extended Supply Chain conference which takes place in April.

In particular, he will consider how to maintain the ability to stay aligned with the fast pace of change, managing transformational change, and improving customer experience while maintaining competitiveness. He will also consider strategies to improve performance while at the same time reducing costs.

Professor Alan Braithwaite will look at the changing nature of supply chains in his keynote address: “The Future: Supply Chain 2020”.

Braithewaite, who is chairman of  LCP Consulting and visiting professor at Cranfield School of Management , will examine how supply chain practice has changed in the last ten years, and the big supply chain challenges of the next decade, as well as how supply chain now powers business strategy.

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Risk is another key theme for the conference. Patrik Jansson, vice president, head of engineering and materials management operations at Sony Ericsson, will consider the importance of managing risk, as well as identifying the critical threats. He will examine collaborative strategies to manage and mitigate those risks as they arise and build a resilient supply chain. And he will also look at alternative sources of supply.

Gareth Deakin, head of business development at Sony Music UK, and Tony Matthews, head of e-commerce, supply chain solutions at arvato UK & Ireland, will consider the impact of the growing demand for e-commerce on retailers and their supply chain.

In particular, they will look at how to manage multi-channel fulfilment cost effectively, how to optimise warehouses for multi-channel fulfilment, and managing reverse logistics operations in a multi-channel environment.

And critically, they will consider how multi-channel fulfilment can drive sales and support customer loyalty.

Supply chain collaboration will also come under scrutiny at the conference when Garry Clamp of Vodafone will look at Generating Value Through Supply Chain Collaboration.

He will give an overview of the supplier management 2.0 programme as well as considering engagement and governance, and tools to support collaboration. He will also reflect on the importance of recognising and rewarding success.

ESC is attended by Europe’s most forward-thinking and innovative supply chain leaders. Bringing together supply chain and logistics directors from a range of industry sectors, this event is the annual forum for discussing and debating supply chain best practice and operational excellence.

Full details are on the Extended Supply Chain web site:

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