Unilever is a consumer products company dealing with the manufacture and sale of a wide range of products. The products are classified into different categories. Although the company has many functions distributed across several countries, the operations of all the functions are separated and distinctive in their own way. The company however operates without much sophistication in the systems approach undertaken. This is characterized by simplicity in the organizational structure of the company. The present evaluation intends to explore the application of the system’s management approach within the company. This will be carried out with particular focus on the Emergency Health and Safety Systems (EHS) and quality management systems. Within the company, the study will focus on all the functions of the company and will include the management operations worldwide.
The rationale behind the section of the company is based on three key aspects. First, the company has various characteristics that are synonymous to systems hence it is expected that the company should adopt an intense systems management strategy. Being a large company, it is expected that the systems management approach adopted should be sophisticated to match the diversity that the company presents in its products and operations. It is thus surprising to realize that the organizational structure of the company is one that does not depict immense sophistication hence the need to evaluate the system. Secondly, Unilever presents an effective opportunity to explore the system’s approach to management due to the size and functionality of the company. According to Chand (par. 10), the systems approach can be evaluated through evaluation of the organizing, planning, controlling and directing functions of the company. At Unilever, the different functions are run according to the diverse ranges of products. Each product range is run under a different operational structure, company branch and management authorities. While this does not portray a direct link to the system approach which stipulates that management should be unified, it clearly indicates that organization is run using an approach that is distinctive. Chand further explains that for a company using the systems approach, the organizing, planning, controlling and directing functions should be consolidated rather than separated for the different operational product ranges, a factor that Unilever operations does not depict.
In terms of the Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems, the company can be said to have done efficiently despite the use of a non- systems approach to EHS management. For instance, each of the product rages of the company is operated based on a set of regulations that are aimed at ensuring that the company achieves the highest standards of safety in the environment. While evaluating the EHS management standards in accompany, it is recommended that aspects of the company such as hazard management, fire control and prevention, emergency management, event investigations, internal and external audits, unsafe working conditions feedback and corporate goals should be considered (National Research Council 3). The working conditions at Unilever are confirmed to be friendly, devoid of any risks and with hazards limited greatly. This has in effect made it possible to prevent work related injuries as the company provides personal protective equipments related to the nature of hazards in the companies. The organization also encourages employees to use the personal protective equipments for their own good. From the company evaluation, it has been seen that the level of risks associated with the company are low. The working conditions presented by the company are also safe enough for the operations of the company. To enhance the company’s effectiveness in this aspect, Unilever’s sustainable growth program can help the company greatly through the goals of enhancing livelihoods, improving health and well being and reducing environmental impacts (unilever.com).
From the evaluation of Unilever in the two essential aspects, it is clear that the company could benefit more from incorporation of the systems management approach to its operations. This is because the differentiation of the company into various operational categories that are in different locations across the world does not clearly bring out the overall combined objectives of the company. It is therefore important to consolidate the management functions of the company to bring it out as a single system. In addition to this, the integrated safety management systems can further improve the safety capacity of the organization through incorporation of all aspects that are pertinent to organizational operations.
The information used in the evaluation of the company was obtained mainly in two different ways. First, secondary sources such as organizational prints, book and other media were used to obtain information regarding the company’s organizational structure as well as regarding the aspects of EHS and Integrated Safety management Systems. The company website was the key source of information concerning the company objectives, product categories, growth and sustainability programs. Records and quality/ EHS manuals also formed an essential source of information for the process. The information used in the report was appraised for effectiveness and relevance based on the ability of that information to help in the achievement of the report objectives. In addition to this, the credibility of the information was predicted to depend on the credibility of the source hence all the information used can be concluded to be accurate in this report.
Chand, Smriti. System Approach to Management: Definition, Features and Evaluation. 2015.
National Research Council (US) Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory. Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards: Updated Version. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.
Unilever. Annual Reports and Accounts Overview