Profitability increases as a prominent mattress retailer deploys analytics

CASE STUDY Sector Retail

Client challenge A lengthy and unreliable reporting process

Services provided Team delivered customer and product profitability insights through a layered technology solution
THE SITUATION Competitors become one
Acquisitions often bring rivals together, but expecting them to work as one entity doesn’t happen overnight. For two mattress brands that had been each other’s main competitors for years, they knew they needed to demand more of themselves to further unlock their combined potential. They set out on a finance transformation journey with the goal to standardize and streamline financial and profitability reporting across both brands.

THE CHALLENGES Establishing a standard
As they tried to operate as one company, they lacked the means and tools to do so. The company was relying on an industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, along with multiple disparate/nonintegrated data sources. Users manually manipulated Excel to produce reports that never collectively tied to actuals. This process took longer than it should — data and metadata governance was cumbersome, and users had to wait days or even weeks for reports. When they finally had them, the information was often stale and unreliable.

WHAT THE TEAM DID A layered solution
Grant Thornton LLP’s team advised on how to track customer profitability as a vital component to their long-term strategy. They embarked on implementing an internally branded and marketed profitability solution — a layered stack of Oracle products and Tableau that leverages data from multiple sources and provides swift, reliable reporting; governance and standardization; and flexibility and confidence in all of the reporting. A key accelerator to the profitability effort was a chart of accounts optimization project prior to commencing the profitability and financial reporting efforts.

The team did the following:
  • Defined and standardized financial, management and profitability reporting
  • Performed a data warehouse extract of the core ERP general ledger and sales order transactions to feed the various components of the solution
  • Designed and implemented a controlled, consistent data and hierarchy governance solution to maintain financial reporting hierarchies across the entire solution
  • Implemented an automated budget and forecasting solution to drive to a standardized process
  • Implemented an automated financial consolidation process to simplify the month-end close process and establish a financial book of record
  • Developed a process to capture nonfinancial information to measure performance against industry benchmarks and understand market share
  • Integrated outputs of the various applications back to the data warehouse to allow for reporting across enterprise and departmental toolsets
  • Trained users on the new system by creating customized course material, including user guides, quick-reference materials and short videos

This strategic solution was recognized by Oracle — the organization received the coveted 2015 Oracle Excellence Award for Fusion Middleware Innovation in the Big Data and Analytics category.

OUTCOMES Benefits and value achieved
With our help, the mattress retailers were able to successfully combine their operations and co-brand their products, which helped to solidify the company’s place as a global market leader in the bedding industry. This standardization transformed them into a streamlined organization, with consolidated profit-and-loss statements, outlooks and sales structures. Instead of two brands competing they now work cooperatively to grow the overall business.

What used to take analysts four days every month, now takes just seconds with the profitability solution. Time to produce standardized reports was cut by 90%, saving hundreds of hours each month for the finance department.

The self-service reporting tool increases visibility into performance and resources, and lessens the burden on the IT department for custom reports. It boosted the number of users accessing analytical reports by 275%. The time required to close the books was cut by 66%, with increased financial accuracy.

The financial analysis team has been able to shift their focus from consolidating materials and reports (which previously occupied 90% of their time) to providing deeper, actionable analysis to make faster decisions. For example, the information helped mattress dealers understand their own customers better and stock the most popular and profitable items in the best locations. Dealers, in turn, improve inventory turns and sell more of the particular models favored by customers - everyone wins.

Now, more than 50,000 records generated daily in the ERP system are accessible in close to real time, allowing analysts to have confidence in their data. The management of the financial hierarchies and a defined data governance process ensures that data remains in sync and accurate across the solution. By enabling the sales, finance and executive teams to have frequent, accurate profitability information and insight into the financial performance of the brands across the company, the organization is well-positioned for growth.

Enabling technologies
  • Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM)
  • Oracle Hyperion Planning
  • Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM)
  • Oracle Hyperion Essbase
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • Tableau

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CONTACT John Miksich
Senior Manager, Technology Solutions
Grant Thornton LLP
T +1 402 513 5909