Optimizing performance in today’s market requires the alignment of financial plans with operational plans and forecasts. Yet many organizations continue to rely on disconnected spreadsheets for planning across disparate operations, and corporate staff have limited visibility into operational plans.
This was the focus of a recent webinar titled “How Guardian Industries Aligns Financial and Operational Planning with OneStream". Guardian Industries has extended their use of OneStream’s SmartCPMTM platform from financial consolidation and reporting to planning budgeting, forecasting and operational analytics - all while reducing planning cycles by 12 weeks. With transparency across supply chain, sales & operational planning, and financial reporting, Guardian is leveraging OneStream to Get Back to Business!
Moderated by OneStream CRO Craig Colby, the featured speakers were Rachel Murphy, Manager Global FP&A for Guardian as well as Chris Loran, EPM Principal Consultant with OneStream partner Agium EPM. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:
The Guardian Journey
Guardian is a $4B diversified global manufacturing company with leading positions in float glass, fiberglass insulation, and other building materials for commercial, residential, and automotive applications. Headquartered in Auburn Hills Michigan, Guardian, its subsidiaries and affiliates employ 18,000 people operating in 25 countries across 5 continents.
Like other global enterprises - Guardian sought to address pain points that often hold back Finance from achieving its full potential as strategic business partners:
- Financial planning system was not integrated with critical business drivers (e.g. operations, headcount, etc)
- Regions used their own Excel based tools to model individual business assumptions
- Planning models were different in every region with limited harmonization
- Lack of scale and standardization managing multiple regions
- Inability to gather business insights into budget and forecast variances from a centralized resource
Enabling the Business with Technology
With a diverse, global project team and complex, multi-site manufacturing purchasing operation- Guardian turned to OneStream’s function forward and technologically advanced design to address project success criteria while reducing cycle time and total cost of ownership in parallel.
Project Success Factors
- Self-service, user friendly modeling logic that allows the business to manage on their own
- Financial Data Quality - ability to process, summarize, and check accuracy for large volumes of data
- Workflow management for guided user experiences
- User Interface and connected planning for real-time monitoring & reporting of changes in business assumptions and/or financial statements
- Unified metadata consistency across the entities, budgeting & forecasting scenarios, and financial reporting
One key advantage with OneStream’s SmartCPMTM platform is the ability to provide consistency and transparency across the entire performance management framework - from financial consolidation & reporting to planning, budgeting & forecasting and business analytics. To users, this means you can drill through a common income statement across all regions down to a shared account structure (and region-specific accounts), transaction details, and actual business drivers like price and/or volume. As a strategic partner, this agility is critical to assist with decision analysis across the business in areas such as capacity analysis, inventory management, labor, and product planning.
Guardian’s journey is like other enterprise-class customers, who leverage OneStream’s unified platform to scale and deliver new solutions as business requirements evolve.
In Guardian’s case it started with financial consolidation, reporting and forecasting – then evolved to add tax provision, long-term planning, operational planning, people planning, account reconciliations and other solutions.
The Game Changer
During Ms. Murphy’s overview, she described 2017 as a game changer with the implementation of KPI (Key Performance Indicators) Driver Based Annual Operating Planning (AOP). Driver based planning is especially powerful for companies in the manufacturing, retail, and the consumer goods space. For these industries, best practice planning is often completed using the key factors that physically drive the business such as specific products and/or plant level volumes, price changes, and mix. Further, because operational and financial data all live together inside OneStream’s unified platform, Guardian can trace the movement of inventory, material costs, and product volumes across the internal supply chain in real-time during their planning process.
For CFO’s and finance teams, this functionality is indeed a game changer and eliminates the need to worry about managing multiple systems, and spending time integrating and reconciling data. Instead, leaders can appropriately maximize their time to work with the business to manage inventory turns, material costs, and deliver shareholder value.
Leveraging the Power of OneStream
Following Ms. Murphy’s presentation, Chris Loran of Agium shared a brief demonstration of some of OneStream’s core capabilities. Chris showed off several key advantages such as Top-Down allocations, which are used to drive expenses down into the end user forms. He also highlighted the ability to directly integrate with financial, HR, and operations systems utilizing powerful integration connectors to quickly populate OneStream with real-time data on critical business and/or operational drivers and allow a single point of maintenance for industry relevant data changes.
Additionally Mr. Loran demonstrated OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality® and Relational Blending, two features critical to technically enable Guardian’s game changing ability to link financials directly with sales, and inventory planning.
- Extensible Dimensionality® enables Guardian to leverage and extend dimension details in a single application, allowing the standard corporate chart of accounts and dimensions to be extended both for actuals and budgets all in the same application. For Guardian, this means that users in different parts of the business can “extend” their P&L account structures or views (e.g. product, customer, region) specific for their business needs while still providing a standard view when consolidated into corporate financials and management reporting. For CFO’s, finance teams, and executives- there is no substitute for this agility in creating speed to value insights and providing the enterprise with the technical ability to enable the business to plan and report the business without compromise.
- Relational Blending enables both relational and cube data to coexist in a single application, with the ability to report and drill back to the details. Used throughout the Guardian solution, this functionality allows certain dynamic data that does not belong in the cube to be collected (e.g. people planning) and calculated relationally, to allow the optimal balance of ease of use and performance.
Finally, Mr. Loran concluded with Guardian’s “Walk Report” which helps executives highlight each critical change in their business drivers. By creating these insights, leaders can easily cut through the noise and prioritize very specific opportunities to mitigate risk, drive future performance, and get back to business!
For more on Guardian’s journey, watch and listen to the replay of the webinar here and/or contact your local OneStream account executive.