SAP BPC enables Deceuninck to take agile and well-founded business decisions
"SAP BPC not only helps us gain time in consolidation and allows us to improve budgeting and forecasting; the standardized and clear reports generated help us make better business decisions.
Deceuninck is a leading designer and manufacturer of energy efficient PVC systems for building a sustainable home. The company has 10 production sites and is active in 75 countries. Financial consolidation is therefore quite complex.
Deceuninck adopted SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) to streamline the consolidation processes. The package proved to be so flexible and versatile that it has been gradually expanded with additional functionality. Today, SAP BPC is one of the software strongholds of the financial department, taking care of many operations, including budgeting, forecasting and even covenant tracking. Until 2008, consolidation at Deceuninck was mainly a manual activity, with all the inconvenient that this entails. The process was error-prone, due to the absence of automatic checks. Furthermore, the lack of transparency made faults difficult to detect. There was no general overview, nor was there integration with other financial applications. To make matters worse, distribution and reporting were not streamlined: with reports drafted ad-hoc, management couldnt use these as a solid base for decision-making. In short: an automation tool was a must.
Chief Financial Officer Philippe Maeckelberghe recalls the market search: "Although SAP BPC was not our initial favorite, we soon realized that this package best answered our current and future needs. It was seamlessly integrated with our existing applications, is very flexible and boasts very broad functionality. While many software suppliers offer functions like consolidation and planning, short-term forecasting, budgeting, management reporting, cash forecasting, etc. as separate applications, SAP BPC integrates them into one single, cost-efficient package.
Trust in a future-proof solution and expertise
Deceuninck had been a SAP customer for several years and was using SAPs ERP Central Component (ECC), SAP Business Intelligence (BI) and SAP Process Integration (PI). SAP BPC, however, was selected for its capabilities, not for brand consistency. "When we selected the system, it was still an OutlookSoft product, Philippe Maeckelberghe explains. "Its acquisition by SAP ensures consistency and continuity: were confident that development on the package will continue as planned.
In terms of integration and knowledge transfer, SAP partner element61, with a strong presence and track record in this area, was the logical choice. They are the most experienced partner when it comes to SAP BPC integration and implementation, and they coached Deceunincks IT department during the different stages. In addition, Deceuninck liked their hands-on approach and intends to keep the collaboration open. Maeckelberghe: "Today, we have sufficient in-house knowledge to develop new applications. Nevertheless, we still closely cooperate with element61 when additional expertise is needed.
Put to use in no time
SAP BPC was integrated at Deceuninck in a short timeframe. The first consolidation was in May 2009, faster than expected. Filip Levrau, CIO at Deceuninck: "For the first two months, we used both automated and manual consolidation, for safety reasons. However, we soon noticed that the implementation had been done flawlessly and we could completely rely on SAP BPC. Shortly after this first launch, many complementary applications were added. "The tool is so easy to use and flexible that we can introduce new functions very quickly, Filip Levrau enthuses. "In fact, we are only limited by our own creativity. If I have to mention a drawback, I would say that we are now so familiar with SAP BPC that we use the tool for things it wasnt really designed for. As a result, we are pushing the system and the server to its limits.
Standardized and streamlined
"SAP BPC is increasingly becoming an essential part of the companys financial department, Philippe Maeckelberghe confirms. "Forecasting and budgeting, for example, are done much more efficiently than before. There is a direct link between the forecasts and the actuals, allowing us to assess the numbers at any time and adjust our methods if needed. Another big plus is the standardized way of documenting and calculating. This makes it easier for both internal and external auditors to access the financial figures they need. "All Deceunincks IT-infrastructure is centralized and standardized for the whole group, Filip Levrau adds. "The company data is thus directly available in one location. This also means that all the people in finance who are involved in the consolidation, forecasting and budgeting have to know the program. It is therefore crucial that its very easy to get to know. SAP BPCs Excel frontend provides the ideal environment, as it is very similar to peoples trusted working methods. Our Finance department organized a SAP BPC training session at its international finance meeting and received nothing but positive feedback on the ease-of-use.
A source for better decision-making
"The impact SAP BPC has on our business is nothing short of impressive, Philippe Maeckelberghe stresses. "More than just helping us gain time in consolidation and improving budgeting and forecasting, the standardized and easy-to-understand reports promote better decision-making. In order to assess figures more effectively, standardized reporting sheets are essential, as is a streamlined way of distributing comprehensive and correct financial information throughout the organization. This is exactly what we accomplish with SAP BPC. What might be useful in the future is an easier solution to immediately publish the results in Word or PowerPoint files. This would help us produce presentations that we can directly submit to the management board.
The software solution used in this project is SAP Business Objects Planning and Consolidation 7.5 for the Microsoft platform.
- Automated consolidation of results
- Clear and standardized reporting
- Easy-to-use software
- Clear reporting ready for company-wide distribution
- Flexible tool allowing rapid development of new applications
- Low total cost of ownership of financial software
- Simplification of consolidation process
- Easier budgeting and forecasting