Unilever chairman Patrick Cescau has credited last year's shift to a global SAP enterprise management system with helping to boost sales for the first nine months by a total of 7.4% to £23.7bn.
"Growth in the third quarter was 8.2%, boosted by the effect of the IT systems change last year which had reduced growth last quarter," he said this morning, as the grocery manufacturer reported its third quarter results.
"The implementation of a harmonised IT system continues (in Europe) with 80% of all locations already live." he said.
Unilever has rolled out its SAP-based strategy through the Asia division. The company is also centralising the supply chain in Singapore as part of its "One Unilever" programme, Cescau revealed. The change would be completed by January 2009, he said.
The One Unilever Programme aims to help Unilever simplify its organisation and management structure and to improve capabilities in marketing, customer management, and research and development. It has led to better allocation of resources, faster decision-making and a lower cost level, the company said.
Unilever is rolling out One Unilever in every major country. The company is using the project to share services including IT, HR and Finance across countries. The changes were part of an accelerated programme of restructuring announced in 2006.