avantum consult AG was tasked to set up a planning solution that would streamline and simplify Heidelberger Druckmaschinen's planning and forecasting process in just six weeks. How did they do it? See the step-by-step process.
The Challenge: Set Up a Planning Application in Just Six Weeks
The printing industry is changing more than ever, increasing the need for efficient processes. avantum consult AG’s case company, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, a key provider and partner for the global printing industry with some 11,500 employees, need their planning and forecasting process streamlined and simplified, and above all, the sales planning between sales and commercial managers reconciled.
avantum consult AG’s first step involved redefining the planning process as a middle-up-down process. Among other things, various campus phases were introduced in which regional managers enter into a kind of “speed dating” with the commercial managers and only end the meetings when they have reached a consensus on figures. In subsequent process steps, these approved specifications were fleshed out in further detail and further income statement positions planned.
The second step involved introducing a Business Intelligence Tool to support the overall new process. During a POC, the decision was taken in favor of Apollo, a product developed by avantum consult AG consult and containing the aCCS module, a planning solution based on IBM Cognos TM1 with predefined logics.
It could be said that Apollo combines the best of both worlds: the flexibility of an open OLAP tool with the predefined business logic of a planning application. In this way, individual requirements such as a special product profitability calculation can be implemented easily without the need for every fundamental logic – e.g. currency conversion – to be developed and incorporated anew.
The main challenge was creating the planning solution within a six-week window with the following functions:
Some of the master data from SAP must be expanded by adding planning elements. The requirement was mainly that the specialist department should be able to carry this out easily. The metadata management system built into Apollo is used for this. In the web-based application, all additional structures needed for planning can be maintained easily and classified into hierarchies. The color scheme always makes it clear from which source the master data have been imported.
The built-in standard workflow was expanded in the course of the project. Here, the main focus was on mapping approval mechanisms. Essentially, the data are refined even further in the various planning stages. Here, it is essential for the aggregated data from the previous planning stage to be matched again. If there are deviations, these must be commented upon and approved by the authorized individuals before the next planning stage can begin. This is supported by the system, by corresponding overview reports and by the automated activation or deactivation of the various planning stages. This ensures that only approved and reconciled values are used for the next planning step. The total reconciliation work at the end of the overall planning stage is correspondingly lower.
Clear Overview of the IC-relationships
For the IC reconciliation, Apollo – with the aCCS module – already provided all key logic in predefined form and the suitable interface for an easy comparison regarding reconciliation differences. The system can be parameterized in such a way that using the leader-follower system does not lead to reconciliation differences. Each time, the follower has a veto right in order to show the need for discussion. Another possibility is that both partners plan the corresponding positions, meaning that reconciliation differences are shown highlighted. At all times, both partners see what the other company has planned – including conversion of the partner’s currency into their own currency. The inter-company relationships are then consolidated automatically.
Through the predetermined logics and functionalities in Apollo, it was possible to establish the entire planning application and go live with it within the space of six weeks. Thanks to the modular structure, it is also possible to further extend the solution easily and clearly. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen successfully carried out its first planning with the provided application and is now adding further modules to the system.
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