Joined-up forecasting and customer analysis
Performance management practice in brief: BASF SE
The digitisation of business management is presenting managers and staff with major challenges. Those wishing to plan more flexibly, analyse more intelligently and make quicker, better decisions will need to have a rethink. Above all, they will need to say goodbye to the familiar processes, isolated solutions and Excel sheets of which they have become fond – as Ute Neuenschwander from BASF SE has done. In this short interview, the Manager of Planning and Reporting at the Mobile Emissions Catalysts Europe division, one of the leading global providers of state-of-the-art technologies to protect air quality, describes her experience.
What was your starting point?
Neuenschwander: With a quantity forecast from the supply chain, actual data in SAP and a complicated contribution margin calculation in Excel, we were not ideally equipped in the fast-moving catalytic converter market. We wanted a flexible planning tool that could compare large data sets and retain specific calculations, such as of income from precious metal sales. Projections based on historical values are of little relevance to us.
What were the highlights?
What was most important for me was having a clear strategy, the excellent collaboration with the consultants and, of course, the fact that the software could do precisely what we wanted. The master-client method makes good sense, forecast and actual data are merged via the key fields, and the data are imported from an Access database with several preliminary plausibility checks. We can run ad-hoc analyses quickly and easily in Qlik.
What lessons have you learned?
In the digitisation of processes, a good strategy is of the essence. Yet we should also be sure to involve the staff actively in the digitisation process and the changes it brings. No matter how intelligent digital processes may be, it still takes expertise and know-how, reliability and care to ensure the quality of the data and thus its relevance in corporate performance management.
About BASF SE – Division Mobile Emissions Catalysts Europe and the project
Topics: forecasting, capacity planning, risk management
Turnover: € 1.2 bn
Employees: 1,350 (at sites throughout Europe)
Pre-systems: SAP, Access databases
Implementation: TD Trusted Decisions GmbH