Needle-Moving Solutions for a Multinational CPG Company

The Challenge

Multinational Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company Unilever is one of the biggest companies in the world, with more than $52 billion in revenue in 2021. As a titan across many sectors — including food & beverage, personal care, and cleaning supplies — Unilever is home to more than 400 brands recognized around the world, including Dove, Suave and Vaseline. Unilever relies on thousands of suppliers globally to provide a variety of different label types and packaging solutions.

LUX Global Label has worked with the multinational CPG company for more than 40 years. Unilever remains the biggest customer in the LUX portfolio, with 1,600 SKUs served.

In 2021, LUX Global Label worked closely with Unilever to qualify four additional pressure-sensitive label materials and developed a new solution that helped the company address its sustainability goals. This allowed LUX to stand out amongst the many suppliers that Unilever worked with while delivering value to the customer.

The Solution

LUX Global Label recognized the need for Unilever to diversify the number of qualified materials used to satisfy its requirements, otherwise referred to as “on spec.” Major manufacturers often operate with only one material on spec, but LUX Global Label saw the onset of supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic, logistical breakdowns, and labor shortages affecting many industries.

With more materials on spec, Unilever would gain more resiliency when supply problems occurred. More on spec materials would also give the customer a better bargaining position for better pricing.

LUX worked extensively with the Unilever procurement and packaging teams, and the multinational CPG company’s facilities, to incorporate and trial the four new materials — spending a week onsite qualifying the materials. LUX remained adamant about the need for additional on spec materials and convinced the client it was a necessary step.

In conjunction with qualifying new materials, LUX also recommended a new pressure-sensitive label material. While still meeting and exceeding quality standards, the new material helped Unilever move from a 3 mil (0.003 inch) thickness to a 1.6 mil (0.0016 inch) thickness — nearly halving the material usage.

The Result

The benefits were immediate for Unilever. Downgauging the material thickness for use in pressure-sensitive labels helped the multinational CPG company save the equivalent of more than 100 million labels worth of plastic material. The additional on-spec materials also paid immediate dividends. As supply chain issues continued to fluctuate wildly in 2021, Unilever was still able to get the materials needed for labels and packaging. LUX Global Label had an OTIF of 97% with the company despite the many issues hampering the industry. Unilever took notice of the performance. LUX Global Label was named one of Unilever’s Partners with Purpose — one of 300 companies (out of more than 60,000 suppliers) that was recognized and one of 150 Packaging Suppliers recognized. Unilever also issued 30 awards to Packaging Suppliers in the categories of exceptional Service, Sustainability, and Innovation. LUX Global Label was the only label company to win an award, and the only Packaging Supplier to earn two awards. LUX was honored with:
  • Service Award — The qualification of four materials to avoid service disruptions
  • Innovation Award — Moving to a thinner pressure-sensitive material
LUX Global Label delivered in every aspect for a long-standing partner, providing Unilever benefits in sustainability, cost, service, and manufacturing efficiency. Unilever was able to avoid interruptions despite challenging supply chain conditions, and realized cost savings and added efficiency — while addressing sustainability concerns — with the thinner label material. If your organization, whether you’re a multinational CPG company or a SMB, is looking for commitment to service, solutions that display real ROI, or label producing capabilities to add resilience to your operations, the LUX Global Label team is ready to support your success. Connect with us today to learn more about our capabilities.