OSI Food Solutions Germany GmbH

Optimising the planning process at OSI Food Solutions Germany

Strengthened European management structures on the one hand – and a closer connection to the American parent company on the other – presented new challenges to the planning and reporting procedures within the OSI group. Senior Finance Manager Markus Bach with his team of 10 employees in the finance department (financial accounting, statistics and controlling) involved in the European financial organisation of the OSI group, faced these new requirements.

New requirements
Plan values and production quantities were from now on to be agreed and coordinated across Europe to enable short-term quantity reallocations between different sites. Furthermore, instead of an annual development based on general price trends, monthly data with budget-actual variances as well as projections and alternative planning scenarios were to be considered.

The demands on the budgeting process were not only increasing with respect to flexibility and accuracy. A new diversity of variants made it necessary to look at different scenarios in order, for example, to weigh up investment options. Last but not least, the increased demands on the internal and external reporting played a huge role. Detailed segment reports for the legal entities in accordance with US-GAAP, an adapted reporting structure for in-house reporting in English, and the familiar reporting structure for in-factory reporting in German were called for. In addition to these requirements in terms of content, Markus Bach had another challenge to overcome: the planning process went through several intermediate steps, from cost centre and investment planning to the planning of individual items, before the reports were created. The entire process up to the final report delivery took three months. Specifications from the parent company were going to cut the time allowed by six weeks.

New planning process
The experienced financial expert accepted the challenges, counting on the information technology support provided by the Corporate Planning Suite. A Microsoft Excel/Access solution, which supplied data that were not entirely consistent, was replaced by the integrated and flexible software for operations management, financial planning and consolidation from Corporate Planning.

An extensive specification document was presented to the project team in Günzburg. In the future, budgeting at OSI Food Solutions GmbH would have to be drafted in a straightforward format and produced without delay, in a sufficient level of detail for analysis, and on the basis of automatic, consistent calculations. It would have a single underlying European database, be compliant with all reporting requirements, and provide standard reports for a number of different planning scenarios.

Requirements satisfied
The time required for the planning process has been shortened to the time available. In addition to organisational changes, the deployment of the Corporate Planning Suite has been instrumental in reports and budget plans being prepared and distributed to the report users after only a six-week planning and budgeting phase.

With a complete restructuring of the Europe-wide planning process and the implementation of user-friendly software that comes with business logic and key ratio definitions included, Markus Bach has found the right solution and thus the answer to all the requirements.

Throughout Europe, all budget holders have access to a single database in the Corporate Planner module for cost centre planning via a web client. All the necessary information is entered in a data input branch of a typical CP tree structure. The uniform calculation logic stored in the system automatically delivers the values for all the different cost items. A second tree structure depicts the Actual and Budget data as well as key ratios in the required reporting format (Reporting US, Reporting OR, Reporting MIS).

Despite the various requirements placed on the reporting system, all reports are based on the same data source so there is no redundancy or inconsistency. The reporting system retrieves current plan data at all times. Thus, every planner and report user is equally informed. In addition to the Budget and Actual data streams and their absolute and relative differences, rolling monthly balances and individual values are shown in a forecast and simulation stream. Using the same processing logic, scenarios and trends can be set and compared at any time. The controllers in Günzburg can monitor all developments centrally. Changes are immediately apparent to them and can be analysed graphically and communicated quickly – even outside the official budgeting period.

About OSI Group
The globally-active OSI Group is one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality food and suppliers of food-related services with more than 10,000 employees at over 50 factories. As part of PSI Group, OSI Food Solutions Germany GmbH supplies customers in Germany and neighbouring European countries.