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Corporate strategic planning plays a vital role in business success, but undertaking it can present a minefield of challenges. In most large organizations the planning process is disjointed and conducted in silos, such as departments, regions, or business units. The result is a disparate approach which is typically entrenched in the routine of each manager, requires high levels of manual input, and produces different outputs in each area of the business.
The complexity of the strategic planning steps is amplified with increasing quantities of business data. This has the potential to offer useful insight which can be used to inform the planning process, but often goes underutilized as it is almost impossible for it to be correlated with ease.
The ideal scenario is one in which strategic planning tools are standardized across the entire organization, creating a unified environment which enables teams to plan smarter and in a more agile manner. Here we enter the realms of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions, which help to manage the strategic planning process from end to end. In this blog, we explore the benefits of implementing an enterprise-wide EPM solution in the context of the world’s leading small domestic appliance producer, Groupe SEB.
With 33,000 employees, 29 brands, and 40 industrial sites worldwide, Groupe SEB is the world leader in small home appliances. The company’s operations are vast and unsurprisingly its reporting and strategic planning processes are based on enormous volumes of data.
Seeking a more agile method of reporting and planning, the decision was made to implement the BOARD decision-making platform. The solution sits on top of existing scattered data sources and unifies reporting, planning, and forecasting functionality within a single environment, easily accessible to any user through a modern, self-service interface.
You can learn more about Groupe SEB’s use of the BOARD platform in the full case study, but our focus here is on the benefits realized by the business in standardizing its planning activities.
Implementing a solution which gathers data from sources across the organization creates complete transparency over your activities, helping you quickly understand performance and identify trends between different types of data which may previously have gone unnoticed or been impossible to correlate. Strategic planning is enhanced as a result, as the factors which have the most impact on financial results can be understood with ease and used to inform decision-making moving forward.
In the case of Groupe SEB, operating results are compared with operational performance data, helping the business to isolate specific factors which have the greatest impact on performance. These factors can then be used to help form strategic plans to achieve upcoming business targets.
The process of manually creating and collating spreadsheets for reporting and planning is extremely time-consuming, and not conducive to remaining competitive through faster decision-making. Standardizing planning activities is one way to overcome this, as an overarching EPM solution enables the creation of company-wide templates and workflows to manage the process.
For Groupe SEB, this approach enables employees across organization to input into the strategic business planning process. After proposing baseline Actual and Budget P&Ls at a corporate level, business units can draft their own plans in line with the plan. Clear ownership, enabled by the move away from the rigidity of spreadsheets to a controlled process, makes the control of elements such as OpEx and other measures significantly easier. Now, numbers and measures entered by the business units during a planning cycle automatically consolidate to give an accurate operating result for the group, thanks to BOARD’s ability to reconcile numbers from a top-down, middle-out, and bottom-up perspective. This removes the need for manual effort and cross-checking of data.
Planning activities which occur in spreadsheet silos prevent teams from collaborating. In this kind of scenario, each department or business unit will focus on their own activities and plans with little insight into the impact on other areas of the organization. While the focus can’t be taken away from the department in question, the implementation of standardized reporting and planning will help to create visibility and common understanding business-wide. Knowledge of how one department’s output impacts on those in another business unit can be extremely useful for fostering a more collaborative culture.
At Groupe SEB, the ability to better collaborate means that five-year planning can be conducted with the involvement of the corporate team, strategic business units, and different continents. Strategic plans are created through a combination of historical data, assumptive business simulations, R&D pipeline and product launches, and continent level knowledge, creating forecasts which are based on capabilities and capacities from across the business. Throughout the process, teams can see the versions which have been created by others and input their own data accordingly.
Moving away from existing processes which are embedded in the minds of all those involved requires a dedicated effort by management teams and employees alike. It also requires careful consideration of the capabilities of the EPM solution you are looking to implement. Ensure it offers both control and flexibility in its approach, enabling you to develop your processes as you go, and that it will make your life simpler rather than complicating or replicating an already comprehensive process.