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Hill Laboratories Gains Timely and Accurate Forecasts for More Informed and Proactive Decision-Making

Managers get data at their fingertips for greater control and visibility of budgets and forecasts

An inefficient budgeting process was holding back the finance team at Hill Laboratories. The team spent more time preparing numbers than analyzing them and lacked the ability to produce timely and accurate forecasts. Adaptive Insights has injected efficiency into the team’s operations and helped it provide increasing value to the business. 

Challenges

  • Inefficient budgeting process led to poor use of finance resources 
  • Data was not timely or accurate enough to inform decision-making
  • Business managers were unengaged with limited ability to manage their budget

Results

  • The budgeting process has been reduced by three weeks, giving the finance team more time to analyze numbers and support the business 
  • New quarterly forecasts help the business keep revenue and expenses on track 
  • Business unit managers have greater control of their budgets and can plan for different scenarios
About:
Hill Laboratories is a 100% privately owned New Zealand analytical testing laboratory and has three major testing areas: agriculture, environmental, and food. It supplies a broad range of laboratory tests to domestic and international markets and uses the latest technologies to provide the most accurate and reliable results available. Hill Laboratories employs over 350 people and has sites across New Zealand and a partner in Japan.
Location:
Hamilton, New Zealand
Industry:
Business Services

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From small beginnings back in 1984, Hill Laboratories has grown into the largest independent analytical laboratory in New Zealand, testing everything from water and soil to asbestos and honey.

The company applies the latest technology to help customers increase their productivity, ensure safety, minimize environmental impact, meet regulatory requirements, and support their communities’ well-being.

Its robust analytics help safeguard clients and their communities. So it’s no surprise Hill Laboratories looks to analytics itself to inform the business around profitability analysis, capital expenditure profile, and cash flow predictions. 

This hasn’t always been the case, as the business was previously constrained by a lack of timely and accurate financial data.  

“The finance team spent most of their time reconciling and consolidating spreadsheets and checking broken formulas,” said Alistair Brown, CFO of Hill Laboratories. “Our budgeting process was inefficient, and it was virtually impossible to produce regular quarterly forecasts.”

“We needed a solution that would allow us to spend more time analyzing numbers than preparing them and give the business insights to inform spending and drive performance,” said Brown. 

Finance team delivers more value and greater control to business 

Hill Laboratories implemented Adaptive Planning in just six weeks with the support of partner GK Horizons. It has transformed the finance team’s operations, slashing the time required to prepare budgets and forecasts and empowering the team to provide more timely and accurate insights to the business. 

“Efficiency has in many ways been the biggest benefit. We used to spend months updating and reconciling spreadsheets. Now we can produce more data more accurately and help the business to better understand what the numbers mean,” said Brown. 

The annual budgeting process has been reduced by three weeks, and the finance team now has the time and capability to produce regular quarterly forecasts—something the team could only deliver sporadically before. 

The new quarterly forecasts track revenue and expenses so the business can see how it’s tracking against its yearly targets. Managers can pinpoint areas that are performing well or may be falling behind. 

“The business is now able to react much faster and make more proactive decisions to hit the numbers we set out to achieve,” said Brown. 

Because the company can better track cash flow and capital expenditure, forecasting is much more precise and allows managers to make more informed decisions about business operations. The business is also able to better forecast and budget for its salary spend and allocate costs to the right area. Previously, this was a challenge with many employees working different hours for different departments. 

The team’s value to the business has been enriched as it is able to help managers use and understand performance metrics. With budgeting and forecast data at their fingertips, managers have greater transparency and control over their budgets. They can model different scenarios and see the impacts immediately. There’s no longer a need to wait three days for the finance team to run a report. 

“Managers now have greater control and are much more engaged in budgeting and forecasting. There’s also greater confidence in the information and forecasts we produce—extending from the finance team to the board. It has made a huge difference, enabling senior leadership to make more informed and proactive decisions to drive the company forward,” said Brown. 

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