Assisted by Affecto, shoe giant ECCO optimises planning and consolidation efficiency with comprehensive SAP BPC solution. Consolidation cycle-time is expected to be reduced from two weeks to approximately two days.

To a growing number of companies, a SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC) solution is the ideal way to streamline financial processes, reduce cycle times and boost efficiency. However, successful implementation is crucial when it comes to making the most of a BPC solution. Teaming up with the right implementation partner can help you maximise the return on your investment. One of Denmark’s most successful global brands, ECCO is a major shoe manufacturer with sales in 90 markets across the globe.

The company was upgrading its SAP Apparel and Footwear Solution (AFS) – a business solution developed specially by SAP for the shoes and clothing industry. As part of the upgrade, ECCO wanted to implement a BPC solution in order to standardise planning and consolidation processes and integrate them fully with its SAP business suite. In the absence of BPC, the company relied heavily on manual processes carried out by key members of staff. And with no single point of access to planning and consolidation, transparency and traceability were reduced.

“In brief, we needed clarity, transparency and accuracy, which only a unifying business planning and consolidation solution could give us”, says Jørn K Olesen, Head of Business Controlling, ECCO.

When SAP launched SAP BPC, Jørn K Olesen and his colleagues knew that they had found the ideal solution. By using the SAP BPC 7.0 version for the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, ECCO would ultimately be able to integrate its BPC solution fully with its SAP business suite, thus optimising efficiency. However, implementation proved to be a challenge. ECCO struggled to find technical consultants with the in-depth understanding required to implement the SAP BPC solution successfully. As a result, implementation was slow, and timely completion eventually thrown into doubt.

“It was at this point that we were introduced to Affecto, who said that they would be able help us. Naturally, we leapt at the chance,” says Jørn K Olesen.

Affecto consultants draw up roadmap for success

Having carried out a thorough onsite assessment, Affecto’s consultants advised ECCO to change tactics and opt for a staged implementation instead of attempting to implement the whole solution at once. In this way, ECCO would reduce its risk by ensuring the successful completion of each stage, before moving on to the next. Affecto’s consultants then successfully completed implementation of the first stage – covering ECCO’s wholesale operations, capacity costs and overall balance and profit statements.

“Our budgeting and planning process is paramount to our business, so we need absolutely certainty that it works. Affecto’s consultants helped structure the implementation of our SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation solution in such a way that we maximised our benefits, while minimising the risk of errors. As a result, we were able to make the most of our investment”, says Morten U F Christensen, Business Controller, ECCO.

Unique Affecto methodology ensures efficient implementation

Affecto’s consultants used Affecto Solution Framework (ASF) to help ensure a successful completion. ASF is a unique methodology which lets consultants draw on Affecto’s experience from implementing more than 250 successful Business Intelligence projects across the Nordic region. It provides consultants with useful guidelines, templates and best practice as well as real-life sample documents from past Affecto projects. For ECCO, this meant that Affecto’s consultants were able to complete the SAP BPC solution more quickly. It also helped minimise the risk of delays due to technical issues.

Combining SAP competence with in-depth business understanding

Finding consultants with the right mix of technical skills and in-depth understanding of business processes proved vital to ECCO. Jørn K Olesen is in no doubt that Affecto was crucial to securing the success of the project.

“Only Affecto offered the understanding of both general financial processes and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation that we needed in order to implement our new budgeting solution successfully. Simply put, without Affecto it would not have happened”, says Olesen.

ECCO is currently testing its SAP BPC solution, running it in tandem with its existing solution. Complete migration to BPC is scheduled for the near future, to tie in with the company’s budget cycle. Following this process, Affecto’s consultants will be extending SAP BPC to cover all areas of the ECCO business, including tanneries, footwear production and all-important retail.

Transparency and traceability are maximised

ECCO expects to reap considerable benefits from the new solution. Now, ECCO will have a user-friendly, standard planning and consolidation tool with maximised traceability and transparency. This will reduce ECCO’s risk, as the company will no longer bedependent on key members of financial staff to complete processes.

“In the past, our systems were so complicated that very few members of staff were able to work with them. This made us vulnerable in case of staff illness or other unscheduled absence. Also, it made it difficult for our staff to collaborate efficiently. Now, collaboration is easy, and we can be certain that all of our processes are completed on time”, Morten U F Christensen explains.

Financial decision making is faster and more efficient

SAP BPC gives ECCO a single repository for all planning and consolidation data, as opposed to previously when the company had to work from multiple data sources. With a single, reliable version of the truth, fully SAP integrated, the company can improve and speed up financial decision making. Also, because automation is increased and fewer manual processes are required, ECCO can expect faster cycletimes for planning and consolidation. For example, staff will no longer have to perform the time-consuming task of collecting, correcting and distributing budget data via email and Excel sheets. And staff can update budget models easily, whenever ECCO’s business needs change.

Consolidation cycle-time reduced from two weeks to two days

Consolidation in particular is expected to be faster than in the past when ECCO’s financial staff relied on Excel to complete processes. In due course, when the SAP BPC solution is fully implemented, the company expects its consolidation cycle-time to be reduced from two weeks to approximately two days. This means that ECCO’s financial staff will be able to spend more time on strategic tasks such as data analysis.

“Overall, thanks to our SAP BPC solution, implemented by Affecto, we expect our planning and consolidation processes to be a lot more efficient than in the past. This will benefit ECCO and support the business as it faces the market challenges of the future”, Jørn K Olesen sums up the many benefits.