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Case Study: Food Company

Food and Beverage
Company Type:
Food Manufacturer
Company Size:
Job Functions:
VP Finance, CFO
BI Strategy and Planning, BI Requirements Analysis, Performance Management

Challenge: How to transform fragmented and inconsistent financial and operational data into high-quality information to plan, budget, measure, control, and drive company financial performance.

Brands You Know. Brands You Love

Our client is a company of classic brands including powdered baking mixes, canned meats, sauces, frozen dinners, and frozen vegetables. Their major brands hold leading market positions in their respective retail categories and enjoy high consumer awareness – collectively penetrating four our of every five US households. With revenues of $3 billion, the company is a strong competitor among mid-cap food and CPG companies.

Driving Financial Performance in a Complex Industry

The company owns and operates thirteen manufacturing and warehouse facilities, and it has co-packing agreements with several independent manufacturers for certain of its finished products.  Using these assets, the company manufactures hundreds of products and moves them to tens of thousands of retail and foodservice locations across the U.S. and Canada. 

Understandably, developing a realistic Annual Operating Plan and then measuring, controlling, and driving subsequent actual financial and
operational performance is a complicated task.

 While the company’s financial management professionals have access to a lot of financial and operational data, efforts to proactively drive company financial performance have been hampered by unsophisticated tools and information stores.

Operating without modern tools and appropriate information stores limited their financial management team in their ability define, model, and select from a robust set of potential corrective actions in the face of unfavorable financial variances.

Financial Management Vision – Driving Financial Performance

The company wanted to achieve a holistic financial perspective, and selected DecisionPath for our combination of BI thought leadership, our deep understanding of the operational drivers of financial performance, and our practical experience in developing customized BI solutions. 

Using the BI Pathway Method, DecisionPath partnered with the company’s CIO and its BI Director to engage with their financial management executives to elicit and document over 120 discrete requirements for better financial and operational information and analytics. 

These financial management requirements were aligned with similar/overlapping requirements from other company functions and then grouped into specific projects for prioritization and subsequent BI application development.

These projects were:

  • Enterprise Performance Scorecards and Dashboards: custom-designed scorecards, dashboards, and exception reporting/alerts to compare planned versus actual performance in financial and operational terms
  • Revenue Management Analytics: timely, granular historical information about revenues, shipments, volume, prices, margin, and net sales
  • Cost and Financial Analytics: information to enable a deeper understanding of operational drivers of company costs so they can be actively managed and optimized
  • Enterprise Planning and Budgeting: standard historical information for planning, budgeting, and S&OP, plus automation of conversions of case volumes to dollars.

Vision Beyond the Numbers

Having identified a comprehensive set of financial management requirements for business information and analytics, the company is in a position to quickly develop and deploy BI applications that overcome the limitations of spreadsheet-based financial management approaches and realize the financial management vision of proactively and efficiently planning, budgeting, measuring, controlling, and driving company financial performance. With a comprehensive BI strategy for their finance group, they are better able to:

  • leverage standardized historical financial and operational information for formulating operating plans and budgets
  • cost-effectively calculate and deliver standardized financial and operational performance metrics on a timely basis
  • automatically determine financial and operational variances for use in evaluating manufacturing plant and/or distribution center performance
  • efficiently analyze purchase price variances and spending variances of various types
  • automatically determine summary-level variances to Cost-of-Products Manufactured and Cost-of-Products Sold and provide drill-downs by a variety of factors
  • automatically generate plant, product, and customer P&Ls
  • efficiently generate customer account receivable scorecards to track payment patterns, deductions, and unearned cash discounts
  • fully leverage balanced scorecards and dashboards as an integral tool for managing financial and operational performance; and
  • take advantage of sophisticated financial modeling and predictive analytics tools.

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