In February 2011, Unilever launched ‘Partner to Win’, a strategic programme that forms special partnerships between Unilever and a selection of its key suppliers. What is the objective? Sustainable growth for both parties. In 2013, Verstraete IML was selected as a Partner to Win. Thomas Beschenbossel, Procurement manager Tubs & Lids at Unilever, explains why.

Unilever, a company with a mission
Unilever produces over 400 brands. The product portfolio varies from balanced foods to indulgent ice cream, affordable soap, beneficial shampoos and products that you use in your daily household chores. We produce leading global brands such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove, Axe, Hellmann’s and OMO, as well as trusted local brands such as Coral, Solo and Zwan. Unilever’s bold ambition is to double its business, reduce its carbon footprint and increase its positive social impact.

Partner to Win for sustainable growth
The Partner to Win concept is consistent with Unilever’s philosophy of innovation and creation along with that of its partners. On a global level it establishes special partnerships with a selection of strategically important suppliers: Partners to Win. Each of these partners shares the ambition for sustainable growth. The aim is to use ready-made action plans: Joint Business Development Plans – to achieve long-term joint growth.

Verstraete IML as a Partner to Win
IML supplies high quality packaging solutions for quality products. The possibilities for making a difference with distinctive, innovative packaging are endless. Why was Verstraete IML selected as a Partner to Win? “Verstraete IML has proven its innovative character in the past. The company operates on a global scale, offers solutions for a great many Unilever products and is open, transparent and reliable. And transparency and reliability are the key conditions for an intensive long-term collaboration in which innovation and effective cost management go hand-in-hand. That is what makes Verstraete IML an ideal Partner to Win,” exclaims Thomas Beschenbossel.


How does Unilever select its injection moulders?
Unilever selects its partners on the basis of their ability to meet its requirements in different regions. According to Thomas Beschenbossel it comes down to the sum of several strategic factors such as quality and service, an innovative character, financial stability and competitive pricing.

The future of IML and Unilever
IML has proven that it is an excellent technology that meets Unilever’s strict quality requirements, especially the thin-wall technology. This is why IML will continue to play an important role in the future on a global level. Furthermore it is up to Unilever to make the right choices in the future. The world is changing rapidly and is unpredictable. Therefore Unilever is constantly searching for improvements, and for the best sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

Unilever spots packaging trends
Lighter, more sustainable packaging and natural packaging have become the trend. It remains to be seen whether this is possible using IML or other technologies or materials.

Partnerships with injection moulders
Benedict Adins (Key Account Manager Unilever Verstraete IML) explains how Verstraete IML provides Unilever with the best quality and service in association with the injection moulders. “Along with the injection moulders, we support Unilever by supplying technical advice about, for example, the choice of materials. We also ensure accurate colour harmonization so that different designs can newsletter be combined. What is more, we determine the supply chain so that we can guarantee production slots. Close cooperation with the injection moulders contributes to the success of our partnership with Unilever.”