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INSIGHTS INTO THE CHANGE PROCESS AT GENESIS ENERGY 

“WE USED TO HAVE A LOT OF IP SITTING IN PEOPLE’S HEADS. MINDFULL WAS ABLE TO EXTRACT INFORMATION FROM OUR PEOPLE AND PUT IT INTO THE SYSTEM.”

- Audrey Scheurich

 

 WHY DID YOU CHOOSE MINDFULL? 

A friend’s referral, reference checks and the presentation they made to us. Knowing Belinda had an accounting background gave us confidence that we weren’t going to get an IT view of the world. 

 

IN ONE SENTENCE, WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM YOU BROUGHT TO US? 

It was taking us a good three months to do a budget or forecast, so our idea was to put in a system that a) was a lot more robust and b) wasn’t reliant on particular individuals to get it all together. 

 

IN 3 POINTS WHAT DID WE HELP YOU DO? 

  • We had over 1000 spreadsheets. Mindfull brought all that together and now we’ve eliminated over 980 of them. 

  • It used to take us three months to do a forecast. Now we do one every month. 

  • We used to have a lot of IP sitting in people’s heads. Mindfull was able to extract information from our people and put it into the system. 


WERE WE MINDFULL OF THE TIMELINE? 

Mindfull had people working on weekends, they had people working overnight in South Africa and getting back to us in the morning. All that sort of thing to make sure deadlines were met. To be fair, we weren’t on time in the end, but Mindfull did respond when we needed to zip it up.

 
 
"We had over 1000 spreadsheets. Mindfull brought all that together and now we've eliminated over 980 of them."
 
 

WERE WE MINDFULL OF THE CONTEXT?

Genesis Energy recently went through the IPO Process. As part of that process there was a whole lot of work done around scenario analysis – What happens if we change the price path? What happens if we change the customer numbers? We’d create a version in Cognos TM1, make a change, and basically overnight we could rerun that scenario. Rather than taking us weeks and weeks to run those scenarios, we were basically doing it over a couple of days. It was a godsend.

 

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF OUR WORK?

As well as speeding things up, our business has a better understanding of what our forecasts are built on and what our key drivers are. Now we all work with one set of assumptions. Cognos TM1 has become the one source of the truth.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK BEING MINDFULL MEANS?

Being ‘mindfull’ is about being aware of what’s around you and staying focused on the present.

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST MINDFULL OF IN YOUR LIFE?

I’m ‘mindfull’ of being totally focused on a person, conversation or meeting when I am in it and not letting myself be distracted by phones, other issues, what’s going on outside and that sort of thing.

 

CUSTOMER PROFILE

Genesis Energy is one of New Zealand’s largest electricity and gas retailers with around 650,000 customers.

 

INDUSTRY

Electricity and Gas supply.

 

PROBLEM

Business used in excess of 900+ spreadsheets to do the Budgeting, Planning and Reporting.

The model was unmanageable.

The business was at risk.

 

SOLUTION

IBM Cognos TM1

 

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Saving weeks of labour through the planning process resulting in a ROI of about 2 years.

Being able to do sensitivity analysis and scenario analysis without setup effort.

Being able to respond to Board of Directors requests within the expected time frames.

The ability to do full (detailed) monthly reforecasting.

Deliver monthly management reports within 7 working days.

Increased the efficiency of the highly skilled finance and accounting team by 35%.

Reduced document error risk by 95%.

Shortened their budget cycle from 12 weeks to 7 days.

Reduce the month end close process from 15 days to 3 days.

view case study

Genesis Energy

Genesis Energy /

Utilities

Seeing the full picture  in 10 minutes

“IT’S ENABLED US TO DO SOMETHING THAT WE WEREN’T DOING AT ALL BEFORE BECAUSE THE TASK WAS TOO BIG AND WE DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME. IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN THREE TO FOUR DAYS TO CONSOLIDATE THE MONTHLY REPORTS AND GET AN OVERVIEW OF THE BUSINESS – WE CAN DO THAT IN TEN MINUTES NOW.” - MATT COOMBE

 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE MINDFULL?

I already had confidence in the platform and when we found that Mindfull’s Mi B.I. solution had the capability to deliver everything that we wanted out of the box in a very short timeframe, we didn’t feel the need to look any further.

 

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM YOU BROUGHT TO US?

We are a complex group with over 30 legal entities that we have to report on. They were previously spread across two different transactional systems and we had no way of consolidating the financial results into one place.

 

IN THREE POINTS, WHAT DID WE HELP YOU DO?

  • We are now able to extract and consolidate data from two different source systems, which has greatly improved reporting, forecasting and budgeting.

  • The use of hierarchies helps us aggregate information in a much more useful way. We have summarised information at our fingertips.

  • We also have the ability to consolidate in different ways by using alternative hierarchies. Instead of just looking at data across a legal entity, we can segment it in different ways by the type of business it is. That’s how we run and manage our businesses, by which type of activity they are involved in rather than what specific legal entity it is. That flexibility is really important to us.

 

WERE WE MINDFULL OF THE TIMELINE?

We did some good planning work beforehand with Mindfull’s project manager, and the team came well prepared. The implementation only took three days – we were surprised how quickly they were able to get it done. The support since has also been outstanding.

 

WERE WE MINDFULL OF THE CONTEXT?

Previously, the only way we could consolidate was to print out P&Ls from each entity in the various systems and look at those. The monthly reports were a pile a paper, probably 10 centimetres high – and that’s just the P&Ls. There was no way to understand how we were performing globally and as a group.

 

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF OUR WORK?

We can get information faster, which gives us the ability to manage the business better, to quickly see patterns and make better business decisions. We can focus on improving the business rather than just keeping it going. It’s enabled us to do something that we weren’t doing at all before because the task was too big and we didn’t have the time. It would have taken three to four days to consolidate the monthly reports and get an overview of the business – we can do that in ten minutes now.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK BEING MINDFULL MEANS?

To me that means taking a holistic view of things; to try to see the full picture.

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST MINDFULL OF IN YOUR LIFE?

I’m mindful of my family, of having work/life balance and having some sort of satisfaction about what I’m doing.

CUSTOMER PROFILE

Southpark Corporation is a privately owned company, which has been developing properties for the past 30-plus years. Since its inception, the organisation has successfully completed over 60 projects, predominantly in the industrial sector.

 

INDUSTRY

Property

 

PROBLEM

• Over 30 legal entities spread across two accounting systems with no ability to consolidate.

• With limited visibility into cash flow management, planning and reacting in a timely manner was impossible.

• Legacy systems gave us inadequate reporting.

 

SOLUTION

Mi B.I.

Mi B.I. is a complete performance management solution for financial budgeting, forecasting and reporting built on IBM’s Cognos platform and over 20 years expertise in the industry.

 

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

• The ability to quickly extract and consolidate data from two different source systems.

• Improved reporting, forecasting and budgeting.

• Reduced time and effort to consolidate monthly reports from over 30 legal entities, down from 3-4 days to just 10 minutes.

• Focus moved from keeping the business going to improving the business.

• Ability to make better business decisions, faster.

• Easy-to-use seamless integration with Excel.

view case study

Southpark Corporation

Southpark Corporation /

Property Development

dupoint.png

Science to work

 

Founded in 1802, Du Pont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.

 

The previous processing system took up a tremendous amount of time for Du Pont. 
“It was a three-week fulltime project for one person,” says Christie. “Someone had to sit down and crank through hundreds of spreadsheets and eventually run out some numbers, which took a lot of cross-checking and validating.”

 

On top of that, Du Pont’s distributors were asking for more visibility into the programme and its generation. To speed up the process and provide clients with more clarity, the company searched the market for a suitable solution. After evaluating a number of options Du Pont selected Mindfull to assist with an IBM Cognos TM1 implementation.

 

“Implementing IBM Cognos TM1 was a huge leap forward for us,” says Christie.

 

 
“The process time has been cut from weeks to minutes and that has revolutionised our business.”
 


“Once a month, we load the data from SAP and run the whole process within 15-30 minutes.” Christie is now able to report back to distributors efficiently, by branch and by product, at the end of every month.


“The TM1 solution saves a tremendous amount of time,” says Christie. “We’d have to employ somebody just about full time if we were going to provide the same level of clarity and information to our customers as we do now.”


“Based on feedback, the distributors are very happy now,” he says. Some clients have even said that the reporting from Du Pont is some of the best among what they receive from all their suppliers, he says.


To Du Pont, the top benefits of the solution are speed and access to accurate and reliable data. It provides Christie with a second reference point for his accrual funds and also gives a good sales record in an easy-to-read format, he says.


“The reporting significantly helps me analyse trends and measure business performance. And more importantly, the detailed and timely information we can now provide to our clients has greatly improved our relationships with them.”


After five years in operation, TM1 has “certainly stood the test of time”, he adds. “The service and support from Mindfull is excellent and very professional”, he says. “We have a great working relationship with them. It always comes back to people and Mindfull’s consultant, Eric, has been outstanding. They are also very considerate of our needs in terms of security and efficiency.”

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

 

Du Pont needed to improve efficiency by revolutionising their processing system to improve visibility, reporting and payments to their distributors.

 

OUR SOLUTION

 

IBM Cognos TM1

 

DU PONT'S BENEFITS

 

  • Processing time cut from weeks to minutes

  • Access to accurate and reliable data

  • Improved visibility for distributors

  • Improved customer service

  • Timely and easy-to-read reporting enables better analysis

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Dupont

Dupont /

Retail

A city like no other

 

Previously the Council utilised MS Excel, having no fewer than 225 spreadsheets to collect, collate and analyse the budget managers’ plans. Drawbacks of the old model included having to manually convert information from disparate sources into a readily usable form, and the huge effort required simply to maintain the spreadsheets and process the data.

 

 
 

"Challenges encountered during the project included the inconsistency of existing accounting hierarchies and processes, and changing legislative and reporting requirements."
 
 


The Council evaluated a number of solutions and service providers and selected Mindfull to assist with the implementation of IBM Cognos TM1. The solution was selected for its speed in processing and features such as tight integration with MS Excel and its ease of use, as well as the expertise and experience of the Mindfull team. Mindfull had previously completed a number of other TM1 implementations at councils. Its staff provided confidence through their demonstrable understanding of the particular requirements of local government planning processes.

 

 

 
“Mindfull's approach and expertise, working in partnership with our knowledge of our business, has given us both the confidence of a robust solution”
- Graeme Trevathan, Manager Business Advice, New Plymouth District Council
 

 


Initial Success

 

The core of the project spanned ten calendar weeks and covered inception, specification, implementation, reporting, documentation and training phases. The IBM Cognos TM1 solution was used to collate information from different business managers with respect to their operating expenses, capital requirements and proposed new projects. This information was immediately available to the budget reviewers through TM1’s instantaneous consolidation functionality.

 

 

Additional functionality delivered included the ability to:

 

  • create an internal cost allocation profile based on input costs

  • calculate and report in detail on inflation as per reporting requirements

  • simulate and reallocate changes in costs, based on parameters (interest rates, inflation rates, %, etc)

  • phase expenditures and revenues into monthly periods based on predetermined

  • profiles

 

Subsequent Projects

 

After the initial implementation, the Council opted to change its ERP.  For Mindfull this meant pointing TM1’s data import processes to the new tables, a simple task that had no impact on TM1’s end users.

 

 

New modules have also been added to TM1, including:

 

  • modelling of Roading subsidies

  • modelling of movements in Reserves

  • mapping of transactions between related accounts


Future

 

Future directions for the Council will include analysis of targeted costs, revenues and values. The simulation of general rate requirements and borrowing and loan repayment requirements will be merged into the system. Key performance indicators and the simulation of capital costs will also be considered at a later date.

 

The Council has embarked on an exciting and challenging journey that has been eased by a smooth transition into the IBM Cognos TM1 business intelligence system.

view case study

New Plymouth District Council

New Plymouth District Council /

Local Government

Improving financial performance

 

Lumley (New Zealand) is the third largest general insurer in the country. Part of the Wesfarmers Group, it employs more than 600 people in it’s head office in Auckland and other sites around the country.

 

Four years ago, Lumley brought in a new executive team, who were tasked with improving the company’s financial performance. The new CFO embarked on a full review of internal processes and financial controls, and identified management information as an area ripe for improvement.

 

“The company had been relying on a complex system of linked spreadsheets for financial reporting and budgeting, and we saw this as a key area for improvement,” comments Tim Bowen, Financial Controller at Lumley. “To take an example: our management reports were only generated once a month, in a time-consuming process that delivered an inflexible 150-page report about five days after month-end. We wanted to give our stakeholders much faster access to more current information, and present it in a way they could understand more easily”.
 

 

The Lumley team decided to redesign its budgeting model from scratch, and a team from across the business worked together to define the drivers that should be included in the model, identify gaps in the available data, and bring the missing information into the data warehouse. Next, they used Microsoft Excel to create a proof of concept for the new budgeting model. The team looked at the solutions available on the market, and began testing software from a leading analytics vendor to see if it would meet Lumley’s requirements.

 

 
“We spent about six weeks trying to prove the software could meet our business requirements, but in the end we couldn’t find that proof and overall we found it a fairly difficult product to work with,” comments Tim Bowen. “Then we spoke to Cortell New Zealand, who recommended using a different solution: IBM Cognos TM1. They claimed that the IBM solution could do everything we wanted, and would be easy to set up. We asked them to prove it – and they came back the next day with a proof of concept that ticked almost all of the boxes. What we’d spent six weeks struggling to achieve, they were able to do overnight!”
 

 

Choosing an IBM solution also aligned well with the strategy of Lumley’s parent company, Wesfarmers Insurance, which uses IBM Cognos technologies in its own business. Equally important was the pricing: Lumley found the software licensing costs competitive with the other solutions it had considered, and Mindfull offered an attractive fixed-price deal for its implementation services.

 

 
“We’ve consistently been amazed at how easy it is to get things done with TM1 – projects that we estimated would take months have actually been accomplished in weeks.”

 

view case study

Lumley Insurance

Lumley Insurance /

Finance

 

254 spreadsheets into one model

 

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is one of New Zealand’s leading fertiliser specialists, with manufacturing plants in Whangarei, Mount Maunganui and Invercargill.

 

The company owns New Zealand only ammonia-urea manufacturing plant at Kapuni in Taranaki; a farm nutrient company Altum, and agricultural aviation company, Super Air. Ballance also has majority ownership of a national animal feed company and a farm technology company.

Ballance is a farmer-owned co-operative with 700 employees and more than 18,000 shareholders. Ballance is one of New Zealand’s ‘Top 50′ businesses, and in 2012 company turnover exceeded $900 million.

 

 

THE PROBLEM

Ballance Agri-Nutrients used to base its budgeting and forecasting on an Excel spreadsheet system. With 254 interconnected spreadsheets, this system was becoming increasingly unreliable, says Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ financial planning and analyst manager, Bruce Harris.“It gave us a result we really didn’t know the integrity of,” he says.

 

The company had rolled out an SAP ERP system in 2009, and the plan was to add a budgeting and forecasting module a bit further down the track. When that time came around, Ballance investigated SAP’s forecasting solution, BPC, and got as far as developing a comprehensive blueprint for the system. However, unable to reach an agreement on price with SAP and concerns over the maturity of their product, Harris decided to bring in Ernst & Young to review Ballance’s requirements. Ernst & Young came back with two options – BPC or TM1, says Harris, and that was when he got in touch with Mindfull.

 

“Mindfull came in very late in the process,” he says. “What swung us over were the user-friendliness of the TM1 product; the capability of it; and, more than anything, the people.”

 

The fact that Mindfull was New Zealand-based, and had a 10-year track record of implementations, was reassuring, he adds.

 

 
“Cortell gave us numerous reference sites here in New Zealand,” says Harris. “We took advantage of that and everywhere we went people couldn’t speak highly enough about the TM1 product.”
 

 

 

The Solution

Simply put, the TM1 solution rolled all 254 spreadsheets into one model. “This model has given us a much more robust process,” Harris says. The solution consists of a number of modules, including HR; Sales; Inventory; Balance sheet; Profit and Loss; Cashflow; and Capex, with Inventory being the core component.

 

Benefits Gained

One of the top benefits of the solution is the integration with the SAP ERP system, Harris says. “We can take our demand forecast and production planning forecast directly out of that module.” We are now able to give a financial face to our S&OP process which significantly enhances the decision making on the businesses critical path

Integrity of the data is also high on the benefits list.

 

“We know that we have integrity of the data,” he says. “That’s one thing that you don’t get with spreadsheets.” In the past, there were always some doubts around the budget – that is not the case anymore, he says. The solution is also very user-friendly, he says. The system was initially rolled out to 45 managers to do their budget uploads. “They were cringing and thinking, ‘not another system that we don’t know how to use’,” Harris says. “But after the training, they were very complimentary of it.”

 

Another strong benefit is the ability to do reliable forecasting for the future. In the past, forecasting was haphazard, he says. “We’ve got the ability now to routinely forecast going forward by changing assumptions, such as changes in exchange rates and supplier prices. We just let it flow through and see what the impacts are.”

 

The new solution will also help save time. The yearly budget round usually takes six weeks end-to-end – Harris expects it will take around two weeks with the TM1 solution in place.

 

“Cortell has been amazing,” Harris says. “They are incredibly obliging people. Nothing is ever too much for them. Whatever we have asked for, they have delivered.”

 

Ballance is now about to embark on phase two of the project, which involves bringing two further companies onto the system. These Waikato-based companies will be able to remotely change their assumptions and drive their own budget processes, Harris says.

 

Business Objective

  • Integration with ERP system

  • Accuracy

  • Reliability

 

Our Solutions

  • IBM Cognos TM1

  • IBM Cognos Executive Viewer

 

Business Benefits

  • Integrity of data

  • Easy to use

  • Reliable regular Financial Forecasting

  • Significantly shortened budgeting process

  • Support the Business S&OP process

view case study

ballance agri-nutrients

ballance agri-nutrients /

Agriculture

GENERATING StreAMLINED repoRting

 

Meridian Energy is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator. Meridian Energy retails electricity to residential, rural and business customers through the Meridian and Powershop brands.

 


The Problem


Reporting at Meridian Energy used to be spread sheet-based. While this system worked, the organisation was becoming increasingly concerned about how much time they spent on reporting. The spread sheet system was growing larger over time, additional features were constantly added, and it involved a great deal of manual database extracts, says Kelvin Mason, Group Financial Controller at Meridian Energy.


The Solution


After evaluating a number of solutions Meridian identified IBM Cognos Express as the best fit, says Mason. Mindfull was chosen to deliver the solution. The first part of the solution to go live was a financial planning and reporting tool, followed by a Board Scorecarding application. Next, a Culture & Change (HR) application was rolled out. The company is just in the process of completing a Procurement reporting system, and a Retail dashboard application is also under development, Mason says.


Benefits Gained


The solution was implemented at the same time as Meridian Energy did its business planning and budgeting.


“We were getting fast results,” says Mason. “In the past, it would take two to five days to consolidate budget. Now we are instantaneously creating that consolidation and are able to be very quick on the analytics.”


The result – cycle-time has been cut-down immensely and the team is now able to focus on more important tasks.

The month-end reporting process has been cut from ten to four days, with a target to get it down to two days.


“It’s still the tip of the iceberg for us in terms of what this solution can do.”


Complete confidence in the numbers is also a big benefit.


“The ability to quickly look at the business in different ways has been outstanding.”


Future Focussed Reporting


Meridian’s shareholder requires it to produce annual budgets. This solution also supports the opportunity to move to a rolling forecast mode, with business unit owners being able to look at forecasts, budgets and actual expenditure in real-time. The solution is helping Meridian Energy to move from historic to forward-looking reporting. Instead of spending time looking backwards and creating reports that show what happened in the past, the organisation can run scenarios to model what a future outcome could look like.


The MINDFULL Model


Mindfull has empowered Meridian Energy to be able to manage the system and make changes to it themselves, Mason says.


“The beauty of the Mindfull model is that they don’t want to trap us into an endless piece of consultancy, where they have to come back and design everything for us,” Mason says. “They have taken us along with them and enabled us to build the expertise in-house.”


“Mindfull has done a good job. It really has been a partnership. When they first approached us to tell us about the product it was never the hard sell, which is always appreciated from my point of view.”


“Right along the process they have been accommodating. They listened to what we wanted and came back with good, practical solutions to get to the right outcome.”


“The way they operated with our business was quite seamless. Their developers are not sitting in a dark room somewhere – these guys were onsite with us, interacting with us.”

view case study

Meridian Energy

Meridian Energy /

Utilities

A Bloody good job

 

The New Zealand Blood Service was established in July 1998 with the aim of guaranteeing the supply of safe blood products nationwide.

The Service is responsible for an integrated national blood transfusion process which begins with the collection of blood from volunteer donors and ends with the transfusion of blood products in hospitals—a “vein to vein” transfusion service.

 

As a non-profit-making organisation, the Service’s finance department aims for a bottom line of zero. It’s not as easy to achieve that target as it may appear, and until recently the task was made even harder because the activity-based costing application the organisation was using was poorly supported, and was leading to excessive maintenance and configuration costs. 


“That wasn’t convenient, and the package itself seemed overly complex, it wasn’t intuitive at all” says CFO Bruce Collis.”

 

Collis started looking for a costing solution that would provide a transparent view of the organisation’s cost structures. The package also had to be cost-effective to maintain and change. “We had a bit of a look around, but at first there didn’t seem to be anything on the market that suited our needs,” he says.

 

Then Collis came across ValuMax, an activity based costing solution which had been developed by business intelligence software specialist Mindfull.

 

 
We were attracted to ValuMax because it was powerful enough to manage the complexity of our business but it was priced at a reasonable cost level.
 

 

ValuMax solved NZ Blood’s costing requirements and the package could be configured and maintained much more easily than its predecessor and for a fraction of a cost.

The costing package really proved its worth when Cortell implemented the TM1 business intelligence solution. Collis was looking for a package that would combine information from the costing package with the Service’s ERP system to produce budgets and reports. TM1 appeared to be the ideal tool at a reasonable price.


“Once again, cost wasn’t too much of a barrier,” says Collis.


The benefits from interlinking all of the organisation’s applications have been enormous in terms of staff resource time savings and in maintenance and processing.

“It’s a very intuitive tool, you can send it out to non-accountants or people with limited computer experience,” Collis says.

“People can work their way through the menus and produce reports with a click of a button. We are able to produce boardroom reports straight away without having to do too much work on them.”


The Service now uses IBM Cognos TM1 to connect directly to its Epicor general ledger package to create all reports for the board, resource centres and regional reporting units.

In conjunction with ValuMax, TM1 allows users to pivot around different product costings, compare different activity rates per region and analyse product, period and regional attributes.


TM1 is used to analyse blood product pricing to ensure product prices are set a level where NZBS breaks even. ValuMax feeds the product costing into the model to confirm sales prices with actual costs to calculate profitability.


The Service is also using TM1 to prepare the organisation’s overall budget and allows it to perform detailed ‘what if’ analysis of multiple scenarios.


TM1 supplies ValuMax with expense accounts and amounts to be used in the costing process to calculate a cost per product per region. ValuMax runs a costing on all the different products per region and then populates TM1 cubes to allow slicing and dicing of the different costs, attributes and fixed-variable analysis.

 

Collis says “The savings in staff time since TM1 was implemented will soon allow the finance department to increase the frequency of its reporting and costing calculation”.

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NZ BLOOD

NZ BLOOD /

Health

Forecast meets cognos

 

MetService is a leading provider of timely and accurate weather information services, benefiting organisations and people around the world.

The company provides support to market sectors such as media, aviation, marine and energy. The company was established in 1992 and has grown into a successful international organisation, employing around 200 people in Australasia, Asia and Europe.
 

 

The Problem

 

MetService was previously relying on a spreadsheets-based system for forecasting. Every quarter, the forecast had to be built from scratch – it didn’t retain any information from the previous quarter, which was a “right pain”, says David Humm, MetService’s CFO. “It was pretty cumbersome, to say the least,” he says.

 

 
“A Cognos Express solution is delivering faster, simpler and more accurate forecasting for MetService“
 

 

 

The Solution

 

The organisation wanted to move to a faster, simpler and more accurate forecasting system. After evaluating a couple of different solutions, MetService chose a Cognos Express system, delivered by Mindfull. The main components of the system are monthly reporting and financial planning, says Humm.

 

Benefits Gained

 

The Cognos Express solution has enabled MetService to forecast monthly – with less effort involved than the quarterly forecasts using the previous system, Humm says.

“With Cognos, we are able to retain all the information from one month to the next,” he says. “It’s now about making adjustments rather than starting from scratch.”

MetService has around 30 cost centre managers. With the Cognos system in place, they have instant access to financial and forecasting data.

“At the end of each month they can look at the Profit and Loss for the cost centres, investigate variances and drill down to detail,” says Humm.

“Our processes are a lot better than what they used to be. The reporting is far superior and far quicker.”

Another benefit is product line-focused reporting. In addition to traditional reporting – in functional areas such as finance, sales and marketing, IT and HR – the new solution also gives a different perspective. The organisation can now see how different business lines are performing, such as web advertising, aviation, energy and media, says Humm.

MetService has also been able to move to a rolling forecasting approach. Before Cognos, planning and forecasting was limited to year-end.

“Now we are always looking 18 months in advance,” he says.

 

A forward leap

 

Implementation went well and was within budget, says Humm. He is impressed with the quality of Mindfull’s work, he says.

 

“We get excellent support from Mindfull. They are very responsive.”

 

Humm describes the difference between the old system and the new as “night and day”.

 

“We have made a leap in terms of visibility, efficiency and time-savings. We are getting better, more accurate forecasts as a result.”

 

“For me personally, the kind of analysis I do now I couldn’t have done before. If I had tried to do the analysis that is now a small part of my job, it would have been a full time job.”

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MetService

MetService /

Other

case-thumbnail.png

Burgers at their best

 

Hamburger restaurant chain Wendy’s is using IBM Cognos TM1 implemented by mindfull to analyse sales data in near real-time, enabling it to improve marketing decisions in a competitive environment.

 

Best tasting hamburgers might be what lures Wendy’s customers through the doors of its 17 New Zealand restaurants. But it’s a newfangled business intelligence system that Wendco, the New Zealand Wendy’s franchisee, deployed to understand buyer behaviour. The software that is giving them insight into customer behaviour is IBM® Cognos® TM1, which Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich says is bridging the information gap that used to exist between stores and the company’s Te Atatu headquarters.

 

 
“It was a very powerful demonstration. We had all of our management team in and straight away they saw the potential of this tool.
— James Irvine Wendy's financial controller
 

“It was difficult to understand individual restaurants,” Danielle says “or compare sales week by week, day by day.” A first step in making better use of restaurant sales, accomplished in 2010, was to transfer it from Aloha into an SQL Server database. Once more accessible, they either continued to crunch the numbers by spreadsheet, or implemented a business intelligence tool. The spreadsheet limitations were soon apparent. While pivot tables could be used to view the data in a variety of ways, manipulating the information was slow and, if a new view was wanted, that required expert help.

 

IBM Business Partner Mindfull, which had set up the SQL Server database, gave Wendy’s management a demonstration of how they could take analysis of the business to the next level. Using IBM Cognos TM1, and the Cognos Executive Viewer, they showed the managers some of the company’s own data in ways they’d never seen it before.

 

 
TM1/Cognos evolved our restaurants to a new level and we now not only serve quality food but quality decision making
 

 

“It was a very powerful demonstration. We had all of our management team in — marketing, human resources, facilities management and our CEO — and straight away they saw the potential of this tool. ”Within a month, Mindfull had put together a formal proposal, which was accepted by Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich, and by July that year user acceptance testing of the system had been completed.

 

The tool lets Wendy’s marketing manager Fay Stretch see the effect on sales within a day of a promotion beginning. “It gives me the ability to analyse many aspects of the business that I couldn’t look at previously so I can make more robust decisions,” Stretch says.

 

Reports are displayed by the Executive Viewer dashboard in a highly visual easy-to-read way, and the dashboard can also be readily user-customised. The financial controller has an alert set up to highlight cash variances between store takings and recorded sales. District managers, for their part, might want to be alerted when speed-of service targets aren’t being met.

 

Wendy’s could have carried on without the detailed business information it now enjoys, but that would have left it “flying blind” in an increasingly competitive market. Having successfully deployed IBM Cognos TM1 in marketing, sales and operations, it has extended to human resources, the supply chain and deeper into the financial side of the business.

 

With all the business insight they could want at their fingertips, Wendy’s management will then be in a better position to serve customers the best tasting hamburgers they enjoy.

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Wendy's Restaurants

Wendy's Restaurants /

Retail