Doing more with less
You pass them in the airport, the train station, and the office. Apart from deciding which snack you want or what button will drop your beverage of choice, rarely do you think about the planning it takes to manage a massive fleet of vending machines spread across 18 countries. For Selecta, measuring KPIs related to revenue and maintenance for more than 140,000 active machines requires comprehensive data consolidation efforts to gain insights at a group level.
From Selecta's headquarters in Switzerland, the finance team's role is to provide the board of directors with the data needed for decision-making to improve the cost efficiency of operations—growing profits while reducing the cost of investments. To meet this objective, Selecta's financial team models data across all territories—monitoring KPIs including same site sales, number of machines per merchandiser, number of machines per technician, and average sales per machine per day—to identify opportunities where savings can be made or revenues increased.
"Our aim as a business is always to improve cost efficiency—examining how we can do more with less. The finance team's role is to provide the data, which can form the foundation for decisions to be made," said Christan Ann Bahler, business planning and analysis manager.
Transforming the financial model
Historically, the challenge the finance team faced was ensuring the group's data integrity when consolidating the financials from each of its bases, which are spread across Europe. Each of Selecta's locations worked off different financial models, and the group's finance team manually consolidated the data for the business plan. This created a two-part planning cycle: a three-year business plan and a detailed budget for the year ahead, both in massive spreadsheet files. The complexity of budgeting and planning in different territories made it extremely challenging to measure performance and make data-driven decisions at a group level.
Following requirements from the board, Selecta's finance team sought to revolutionize the planning system for the upcoming year forecast and create a model that could easily collect, present, and analyze all financial data from every territory. Deploying Adaptive Planning, part of the Adaptive Suite, Selecta created a standardized system across all of its territories that automatically consolidates the data into the group financial model.
"The planning detail expected from our shareholders was a major impetus for revolutionizing our financial system with Adaptive Insights," said Bahler. "Above all, we needed to make sure our financials were in the system and accurate. We can now rest assured that all the figures are adding up and flowing through properly because each territory owns its own data, and the consolidation—including processes such as currency conversions—is taken care of by the system."
Trust in the data drives the future forecast
Selecta's finance team has immediately embarked on longer term planning for the board, with a three-year forecast of the business. With visibility improved, the finance team is also better placed to advise the board on what returns will come out of each investment.
"Ultimately, the conversation has moved from a question of whether data is correct to whether the outcome is as desired. This allows us to be far more strategic as a business," said Bahler.
A performance management system to empower regional teams
With Adaptive implemented, the aim of the management team now is to decentralize its corporate performance management out to each territory—giving the regional teams responsibility over their results, with the ability to model their own operational plans and scenario models. By removing much of the burden of contributing to the group planning cycle, the finance teams in each territory can focus on analyzing data to inform decision-making that will drive the business forward.
"In the past, the board would ask us for financial analysis on a group level, and it was impossible to give an answer—we had to look at each territory individually," Bahler said. "We now use the same financial data for both our three-year planning cycle and our annual budget—providing immediate visibility into how the company as a whole, and individual territories, are performing."