Unilever has signed a five-year agreement with IBM to transform the sourcing and procurement operations of its Latin American business.

The deal is just the latest move in the consumer goods giant’s 'One Unilever' group-wide rationalisation programme that is designed to cut costs and increase efficiency by standardising regional business processes and streamlining IT systems.

The agreement extends an existing arrangement under which IBM manages Unilever’s procurement operations for its centralised IT unit as well as in North America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Turkey.

IBM will help Unilever integrate and standardise its procurement practices in the region, in order to consolidate spend management and cut overall procurement costs.

It will buy products and services for Unilever Latin Americas including office equipment, travel, marketing and technical services.

Sergio Sassi, senior VP of supply chain for Unilever Latin Americas, said the partnership would allow Unilever to access “industry-leading tools and procurement processes”.

“Leveraging IBM’s innovation, technology expertise and worldwide network of procurement centres of excellence will enhance our business processes and allow for greater investment in our brands,” Sassi added.

IBM’s global delivery centre in Hortolandia, Brazil will provide Unilever’s services.

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