NIDHI GUPTA STUDIES THE JOURNEY OF HUL FROM AN ORDINARY COMPANY TO INDIA’S LARGEST FAST MOVING CONSUMER GOODS COMPANY
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is India’s largest fast moving consumer goods company, with leadership in Home & Personal Care Products and Foods & Beverages. It is owned by Anglo-Dutch Company, Unilever which owns a 67% controlling share in HUL as of March 2015 and is the holding company of HUL. HUL’s products also include cleaning agents and water purifi ers. HUL’s brands, spread across 20 distinct consumer categories, touch the lives of two out of three Indians.
HUL was established in 1933 as Lever Brothers and, in 1956, became known as Hindustan Lever Limited, as a result of a merger between Lever Brothers, Hindustan Vanaspati Mfg. Co. Ltd. and United Traders Ltd. It is headquartered in Mumbai, India and employs over 16,000 workers, whilst also indirectly helping to facilitate the employment of over 65,000 people. The company was renamed in June 2007 as “Hindustan Unilever Limited”. It has strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe with annual sales of €48.4 billion in 2014. Since the very early years, HUL has vigorously responded to the stimulus of economic growth. The growth process has been accompanied by judicious diversifi cation, always in line with Indian opinions and aspirations. The 1990s also witnessed a string of crucial mergers, acquisitions and alliances on the Foods and Beverages front. HUL’s brands – like Lifebuoy, Lux, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Sunsilk, Clinic, Pepsodent, Close-up, Lakme, Brooke Bond, Kissan, Knorr-Annapurna, Kwality Wall’s – are household names across the country and span many categories – soaps, detergents, personal products, tea, coffee, branded staples, ice cream and culinary products. They are manufactured over 37 factories across India. The operations involve over 2,000 suppliers and associates. HUL’s distribution network, comprising about 2,500 redistribution stockists, covering 6.3 million retail outlets reaching the entire urban population, and about 250 million rural consumers.
HUL has traditionally been a company, which incorporates latest technology in all its operations. The Hindustan Unilever Research Centre (HURC) was set up in 1958, and now has facilities in Mumbai and Bangalore. HURC and the Global Technology Centres in India have over 200 highly qualifi ed scientists and technologists, many with post-doctoral experience acquired in the US and Europe.
HUL is also running a rural health programme – Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetana. The programme endeavours to induce adoption of hygienic practices among rural Indians and aims to bring down the incidence of diarrhoea. It has already touched 120 million people in approximately 50, 676 villages across India. The vision is to make a billion Indians feel safe and secure. In 2012 HUL entered into an agreement with Unilever for manufacturing, marketing and distributing the Brylcreem brand in India.
HUL works to create a better future every day and helps people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.
• Hindustan Unilever Limited earned the highest recognition of ‘Leadership in HR Excellence’ across industries at the 5th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National HR Excellence Awards 2014.
• With a ranking of three in the 2014 Global Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders survey, HUL was the highest ranked Indian company to feature on the list.
• HUL was ranked 4th in the Hewitt Global Leadership Survey 2007 with only GE, P&G and Nokia ranking ahead of HUL in the ability to produce leaders. A study conducted by Aon Hewitt, The RBL Group and Fortune in 2011, ranked the company number six in the list of ‘Top Companies for Leaders 2011 Study Results’. The company was awarded the CIIPrize for Leadership in HR Excellence at the 2nd CII National HR Conclave 2011 held on October 2011.
• Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has emerged as the No. 1 Employer of Choice across all sectors for the 2014 graduating batch of B-School students
• Awarded top Indian company in the ‘FMCG’ sector for the third consecutive year at Dun & Bradstreet-Rolta Corporate Awards, 2009
• HUL ranked fourth in the ‘Top Companies for Leaders, 2009’ (Asia Pacifi c region) and 10th place in the global rankings in a survey carried out by Hewitt Associates
• Awarded Customer and Brand Loyalty Award by Business India & Business Standard in 2009
• Awarded for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Practice at the Social & Corporate Governance Awards 08-09 by BSE, Nasscom Foundation and Times Foundation
• Awarded in the Category ‘FMCG Manufacturing Supply Chain Excellence’ at the Third Express, Logistics & Supply Chain Awards by APL Logistics, Indiatimes, Mindscape, Business India Group in 2009
• The company’s Orai unit received the Gold Excellence award and the Khalilabad unit received the Silver Excellence award in the environment category by Greentech Foundation in 2009
• HUL’s Goa factory won a Gold Trophy at the Greentech Awards in 2009 the manufacturing sector category for their outstanding work in Safety Management
• Project Shakti won the Silver Trophy at the EMPI-Indian Express Indian Innovation Awards, 2009
• Kwality Wall’s Swirl’s awarded ‘The Franchisor of the year’ for the Ice-cream parlour category by Franchise India in 2009
• HUL was felicitated for receiving the highest number of patents in the year 2009 at Annual Intellectual Property Awards 2010. The award was instituted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIIP) and Intellectual Property India (IPI) in New Delhi. HUL brands have topped Brand Equity’s ‘India’s Most Trusted Brands Survey’ rankings for 2010. Six HUL brands (Lux, Lifebuoy, Clinic Plus, Pond’s, Fair & Lovely and Pepsodent) featured in the top 10 and eight in the top 20. All together there are 17 HUL brands among the ‘100 most trusted brands’ in the 2010 survey. Additionally, five HUL brands (Fair & Lovely, Lifebuoy, Lux, Pepsodent and Pond’s) featured in the list of ten Hall of Fame brands. This recognition was accorded to brands which consistently ranked high in the survey over the last 10 years since its inception. In 2009, three HUL brands featured in the top ten, and seven in the top twenty.
• Received CNBC AWAAZ Consumer Awards in six categories for 2010 – Green company of the year, Value for money brand of the year, Ad effectiveness award, Marketer of the year award across all categories, Most preferred personal care company in FMCG category (for the third consecutive year), Most Preferred home care company in FMCG category (for the third consecutive year).
• HUL received the Award for Excellence in HR in 2010 from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). This is a rigorous factbased assessment which is conducted by a team of external assessors. HUL has won this award for the third consecutive year.
• Five of HUL’s leading brands – Lux, Dove, Pears, Clinic Plus and Sunsilk – won the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand 2008 Awards.
• Four HUL brands featured in the top 10 list of the Economic Times Brand Equity’s Most Trusted Brands 2008 survey
• HUL was awarded the Bombay Chamber Civic Award 2007 in the category of Sustainable Environmental Initiatives.
• HUL was selected as the top Indian company in the FMCG sector for the Dun & Bradstreet – American Express Corporate Awards 2007.
• HUL is also one of the country’s largest exporters; it has been recognised as a Golden Super Star Trading House by the Government of India.