Global security for commercial growth

Download the PDF version of this case study

Unilever touches the lives of two billion people each day. To improve its market position further, Unilever is streamlining processes to improve its service, profits and global consistency.

Unilever wanted to enhance user experience, increase security and reduce costs, and chose AEOS as the solution to this challenge. AEOS will secure 20,000 doors across more than 800 Unilever sites, as well as providing video surveillance and a range of other access management services. Ian Dunning, Unilever’s Global Facilities Director, and Jeroen Gieling, Nedap’s Global Accounts Manager, talk here about the considerations of selecting and implementing a global security management platform for a company of Unilever’s size and geographical spread.


Unilever’s drive for global efficiency

Unilever offers more than 400 consumer brands, 13 of which each generate more than 1 billion euros of annual sales. To help it improve operational efficiency, Unilever launched its Workplace Services organisation in 2010. And, with that, began a groundbreaking journey to take it from a locally distributed model to a global operations model. No other organisation is optimising its global processes on such a large scale.




Decreasing costs while increasing quality

As part of this global strategy, Unilever wanted a new security solution for physical access to its sites across the world. It chose Nedap to provide the solution because of its deployment ability, the flexibility of the AEOS platform and the fact it’s a cost-effective option with a long lifetime. Unilever can enjoy the cost benefits and control of having one system for all locations. And it can easily adapt its AEOS platform in the future without having to invest in new hardware. Ian Dunning of Unilever explains, ‘With Nedap, we’re confident we’re investing in a technology for the long-term. The AEOS platform has the right scalability for our global footprint. And it enables us to move away from localised, 24/7 security control centres to regional hubs, giving us important cost savings while also improving the quality of our system.’


Global strategy, local delivery

When choosing its new security platform, Unilever was very conscious that cost and quality benefits would only be realised if its new system could be easily adapted to local requirements, while maintaining global standards and control. This was also a key consideration for Nedap when developing AEOS, as Jeroen Gieling explains: ‘There’s always a need to comply with local laws, building standards and cultures. So a security system needs to be installed by local experts and be suitable for local needs. Our delivery model gives Unilever and other customers the convenience of working with one platform and one strategic partner, combined with the flexibility of using local partners for the installation and maintenance of hardware. ‘We allow customers to choose their own local partners for implementation and they can also select the brands and types of hardware they prefer. This kind of flexibility gives the right level of control to both Unilever’s global policymakers and its local managers. And it makes our commercial model far more competitive.’


“With Nedap, we’re confident we’re investing in a technology for the long-term.”


Easy installation and management

Workplace Services aims to increase productivity by enabling Unilever employees to be more agile in the way they work, with more choice to work where, when and how they wish. Achieving the right user experience for Unilever’s global security system is key to this. So the fact that Nedap’s AEOS platform is managed by an intuitive, web-based interface was a big bonus for Unilever. Ian explains: ‘There’s no need to install software locally, making deployment more straightforward. And local delivery and execution is made even smoother by standardised delivery models, which include a security design configuration tool and consistent intelligent reporting.’ Jeroen explains why these are so important for global platforms such as Unilever’s: ‘Our security design configurator makes it simple to design systems for local sites based on globally set parameters. And our powerful reporting tool gives clear insights into how security management is being executed at each site. It converts usage data into actionable intelligence that can be used to steer the platform’s implementation.’




Better for employees and the company

Nedap’s global security solution means that, ultimately, each Unilever employee will use just one badge for all their access needs and the services they use – a key objective for the company. This will allow staff to move around Unilever’s sites more easily, supporting the goal for a more agile workforce.
AEOS is based on open standards, and can be linked to other services. So, instead of people having a different identity for each service they use or location they need to access, they’ll have one single identity on AEOS that’s kept permanently up-to-date.


“There’s no need to install software locally, so deploying and using the solution at each site is easy.”


Ian explains why this is so important for Unilever: ‘If each employee has just one unified identity, it’ll make it much easier to track and trace them around the world. And, when someone leaves the organisation, all of their access rights will be cancelled instantly – regardless of how many sites they have access to. Our new security platform makes it much easier for employees to move around Unilever’s sites, but it increases safety levels significantly too. That’s why we feel AEOS’s identity and authorisation model gives great value to our business.’


Getting the most out of it

Unilever is taking advantage of AEOS’s open standards and high levels of functionality to get the very most out of its platform for both employees and the company. Ian says that, for example, ‘The ability to link AEOS to Unilever’s single Case Management Tool enables people to request access to additional sites before they travel. So, they can use their badge to get access immediately on arrival.’
Jeroen says it’s Unilever’s smart approach to maximising AEOS that makes the project so fulfilling. He explains that, ‘Unilever’s deploying AEOS in a way that gets the most out of it. For example, they’re using AEOS’s access data and reports to assess how their buildings are being used.
This information would in the long run give Unilever the possibility to guide strategic decisions about the size, layout and location of sites for maximum efficiency of both time and costs.’


“AEOS fits well in a wide variety of environments, giving us the flexibility we need as a global organisation.”


Future-proof and scalable

Unilever’s Ian Dunning recognises the value AEOS is enabling in their security strategy. He says, ‘AEOS fits well in a wide variety of environments, giving us the flexibility we need as a global organisation.
Nedap’s business model, with its long-term cost efficiency, makes sense for a company of our scale, offering us the ability to expand our platform in the future. That’s also why we see our relationship with Nedap as having strong foundations – there’s an intention on both sides to build a partnership that will last. We feel we’ve succeeded in doing exactly this by selecting Nedap.’


Share on social media
We offer our Global Client Programme for cross border organisations to assist with project management!