Forecasting & budgeting
Budget solution with only a single Excel file for more than 150 users – that is all that’s required when Unicon has to keep control of it budgets and forecasts in Denmark and Norway.
We have optimized and transformed Excel models and delivered database solutions for many large Danish companies and public agencies.
Forecasting & budgeting
Budget solution with only a single Excel file for more than 150 users – that is all that’s required when Unicon has to keep control of it budgets and forecasts in Denmark and Norway.
The task: Unicon – which is a supplier of ready-mixed concrete – wanted a more effective and flexible solution for handling their budgeting. With offices in both Denmark and Norway, there was a need for uniform budgeting between the two countries; however, with respect for the necessary local differences. At the same time, they wanted to avoid difficult and time-consuming manual processes when 150 units across the organization first had to distribute budgets and later update these continuously in the forecasting process – work which previously was handled in a large number of separate Excel files in which data subsequently had to be consolidated manually.
The solution: At a competitive price, exacto has delivered a tailor-made budget and forecast solution to Unicon – a solution which is not only closely matched to Unicon’s needs but which also has saved the organization lots of time and expensive licenses for a standardized budgeting tool (SAP BPC).
With exacto’s solution, Unicon has gotten an intuitive user interface for both Denmark and Norway. Data is stored in a central SQL database, which, among other things, means that several users can work with data at the same time – and without having to manually keep track of the latest updates and different versions. The users just have to open one single file, where the numbers are updated.
If Unicon wishes to adjust, for example, prices, wages or other budget items across the units, it can be done with a few clicks. If it applies to consolidation of the country budgets, that is no longer a time-consumer, as the budget figures are continuously consolidated.
Reporting for 158 centres in DK and 10 in Poland have been streamlined with a tailor-made and license-free reporting tool. Fitness World has gotten a valuable and nuanced insight into how well the individual centres manage themselves economically. The tool creates an important foundation for decision-making in the company.
The task: Fitness World is Denmark’s largest fitness chain with nearly a half million members and 25 million visitors each year. The company had a desire to strengthen reporting from its centres and increase the insight into how the individual centres perform. It should be easy and simple to adapt the content of the reporting in relation to the target group; regardless of whether the reporting goes to the top management or the centre director, the data must always be relevant and adequate in relation to the given objectives.
The solution: exacto has delivered a tailor-made reporting solution in Excel with data automatically extracted from Fitness World’s finance system. The solution is built with a high degree of user-friendliness so that it is for example easy for the individual user to find their own reports for every individual centre, area and region. It is possible to compare how well the various centres perform in relation to the budget. In addition to that, the finance department can, with the help of automatically generated e-mails, easily distribute the reports to relevant recipients in the organization – e.g. centre directors, area directors and regional directors. The solution’s flexibility guarantees that the right information can be pulled out of the system each time – and the reporting can thus function as an important tool when decisions are made at the top level.
Apart from the centre reporting, exacto has been the supplier of Fitness World’s consolidation model, which includes tools from Fitness World’s underlying subsidiaries. The model builds on a single Excel file, in which the realized numbers are automatically imported from the company’s finance system, and thus the finance department no longer has to consolidate figures manually from lots of Excel files. With exacto’s solution, Fitness World has gotten a dynamic and robust model with high data integrity – and a model which makes it easy and quick to consolidate the concern’s total accounts.
Better planning and optimal use of resources – that is the result of a new operational planning system the City of Copenhagen has introduced in its Centre for Salary and & Personnel.
The task: The City of Copenhagen is Denmark’s largest workplace with approx. 45,000 employees. The city’s Centre for Salary & Personnel wanted to streamline the process for planning the employees’ work tasks, which – in round numbers – are divided into 800 different assignments. With 14 teams and 300 employees in all, it is a task of great complexity – a task which requires the right tool to ensure a comprehensive view and achieve optimal resource management.
Previously, the city had made use of manual extractions of data in Excel from their assignment system, but because the solution did not provide the necessary overview and was slow to work with, there was a need for new thinking.
The solution: exacto has developed a tailor-made solution consisting of a user-friendly Access administration module and an SQL server, in which all of the data are stored. Now, every single team leader can get a general view of the existing resources and, in an optimal way, allocate tasks among the centre’s employees.
A team overview shows on both a weekly and a monthly level how many hours the individual employee has at his or her disposal; the employee’s basis time is compared with the time already allocated for specific work tasks. Team leaders can easily follow what they have accomplished and which tasks are yet to be accomplished, in that it is also possible to draw out statistics on concluded cases and realized time consumption. Thus, it’s easy and quick to reorder the priority of tasks – and also to switch tasks between employees, if a given employee has spare time and another appears to be overworked. Not least if there is a need to loan employees across the centre’s 14 teams.
All in all, the City of Copenhagen has gotten a solution which ensures greater oversight and better planning in the Centre for Salary & Personnel. They have gained valuable insight into what the centre uses its time on and how much time the individual tasks actually take – and they experience less need to extinguish fires in everyday life. With exacto’s tool, the City of Copenhagen has achieved more optimal use of their resources.
From 5 days to 2½ days – that’s how much Berlingske Media has shortened the time used on preparing a critical production budget for all of its publications. By collecting data centrally in a database, the company has, at the same time, created improved analysis possibilities and achieved greater validity of budget assumptions and calculations.
The task: Berlingske Media – which puts out several hundred different publications – had the need for a more uniform and faster process for preparing a budget for distribution and printing costs, also called the production budget. The process involves several parts of the organization which handle various publications and various parts of the budget. This resulted in a solution consisting of many different Excel pages, which were not integrated in an optimal way. The work with the solution was time-consuming and characterized by difficult manual routines – and there was an added risk of mistakes. Moreover, the company lacked the possibility of creating different versions of the budget, just as there was a need for a simulation function.
The solution: exacto has developed a solution in which all data are collected in a central SQL database and in which all assumptions and analyses are done via a standard Excel template. Berlingske Media has thus been able to eliminate a great number of manually maintained spreadsheets and make data accessible in a secure and validated environment. The SQL database solution makes it possible for all users to access data at the same time. Furthermore, access to data is based on user rights so that confidential data are only accessible by the relevant users.
The solution supports the process from beginning to end for all publications in the concern; beginning with a detailed publication plan for a whole year, in which detailed parameters such publication days and quality of printing and paper are indicated. All parameters are vital to calculation of a true production budget. An especially strong functionality is the possibility of creating several different versions of the same budget so that there can be simulations of critical parameters, f.ex., the effect of a change in circulation or the changeover to a new quality of paper.
Via the solution, Berlingske Media has become quicker and more precise in preparing the production budget, which is a crucial factor for a competitive business.
Task management system
Stronger resource management and better oversight of tasks – that is the result of the task management system which the fine mechanical department put into service at Novo Nordisk.
The task: The fine mechanical department – which produces and repairs various elements involved in Novo Nordisk’s aggregate production – used increasingly too much time unnecessarily on their task management and resource planning. Incoming orders and allocation of tasks among the workshop’s 10 employees were handled manually by the shop foreman via an Excel overview with integration to Outlook. In case of changes in the production or the capacity – either because of urgent tasks or illness among the personnel – the planning had to be updated manually. A task which became more and more extensive due to an increasing level of activity.
Novo Nordisk therefore wanted a more user-friendly and automated tool for registering and allocating the tasks for the workshop’s mechanics. In addition to that, something that could create a consolidated overview of the workshop’s overall task and resource situation.
The solution: exacto has developed a database-based solution in an Access database, which makes it easy to log and allocate tasks and get an overview of the employees’ subtasks. Certificates and technical diagrams for components in the department's production can be connected to the specific task – that ensures that the individual employee always has relevant and necessary information accessible when he needs it for his work.
“The task system which exacto prepared for us runs completely perfectly and helps our everyday work quite a lot. We now only use this system when planning our tasks, and that has given us a much better overview of where our bottlenecks are”, says Claus Dalby Christensen, coordinator in the fine mechanical department.
At Novo Nordisk, it is thus no longer time-consuming to manage the many tasks that land in the fine mechanical department. With exacto’s task management system, the department can now easily and quickly form an overview of ongoing and coming tasks – and that gives the coordinator the possibility of allocating the work most optimally.
The new task management system thus means better resource management and optimization of work processes.
Nutricia has gotten a uniform process for forecasting sales in the Scandinavian countries. They save time, money and resources on a weekly basis – and have become more precise in making their estimates.
The task: Nutricia – which specializes in medical nutrition – needed a streamlined solution for preparing a joint sales forecast for the Scandinavian countries. Every week, every single country reported on their expected sales for the coming 78 weeks. Products, sales prices and distribution channels were entered into a large number of separate Excel models. The work was data-heavy, time-consuming and characterized by lots of manual routines.
The solution: exacto has delivered a database solution in which Nutricia’s products, sales prices and distribution channels are centrally stored in an SQL database. Via a user-friendly interface, the users can connect to the solution at the same time and continuously update data for their precise area. With this, Nutricia has reduced the amount of manual work involved in maintenance and consolidation of data.
"The tool which exacto developed for Nutricia gave us a boost in our S&OP process. With a relatively simple forecasting technique combined with a holistic and pragmatic approach, it gave us increased transparency and brought all of the organizational functions on line to create the most precise sales & volume forecast," says Lars Persson, Nordic Operations Manager.
Reporting is uniform because exacto has developed a standardized reporting and analysis file in Excel, which all of the Scandinavian countries make use of. The data validity is high, and expected sales numbers can now be compared to the actual sales from previous periods. Nutricia has also become more precise in making its estimates because it can, with increased precision, make a rolling forecast based on a statistical projection from actual numbers.
A special benefit of the solution is that Nutricia can quickly test how possible volume/price changes will influence the sales numbers – that requires just a simple updating of the numbers. It saves time, money and resources.
New and simple Excel tool has made it easier for The Danish Agricultural Agency to keep track of their salary budgeting. Every month, the finance department saves considerable time when a salary budget must be made across the agency’s approx. 40 departments.
The task: The Danish Agricultural Agency – which is a part of the Ministry of Environment and Food – had a need for streamlining process for budgeting and reporting of salary data. It was administratively difficult when salary data and applicable budgets had to be pulled out of the Danish government’s local data warehouse (ØSLDV) and manually distributed to approximately 40 department managers in the agency. Also, consolidation of the updated salary data was a time-consuming process for roll-out of an overall salary budget for the whole agency.
The solution: exacto developed a simple user interface in Excel. With this new tool the agency’s finance department can now, using only a few clicks, distribute salary data and applicable framework grants in separate PDF files to every single department manager. Afterwards, the department managers can easily correct their numbers and see whether they are conforming to the annual salary guidelines and keeping within the budgets. The process involved in the salary prognosis is standardized across the departments. The agency saves not only time but has also gotten a better overview of the overall salary costs and existing resources within the organization.
LMO’s budget tool has been upgraded from a pure Excel solution to an Excel/SQL-based solution. The quality has been improved, the security has been elevated, and the budgeting process has been shortened by one and a half months.
The task: LMO – which advises a wide range of agricultural businesses in Denmark – needed a solid and effective budget tool; the company has more than 350 consultants spread out in 20 divisions. They wanted the ability to get a quick overview of the expected sales: both total sales and also sales by individual employees and divisions. There was a need to enable the individual consultant to forecast his anticipated hours. At the same time, the division leader should be able to easily keep track of data on the division’s norm hours and expected sales. The solution LMO used was exclusively Excel-based, and the budgeting was based on a time-consuming and manual consolidation of more than 350 spreadsheets. Because of the manual routines, the risk of errors were high, and verification of the final result was slow and difficult to access.
"Previously our budget process was long and difficult, when consolidation of our many department budgets was extremely time-consuming. We are now able to carry out the budget process considerably faster and with a high degree of assurance in the validity of our data", says Morten Hjort Nielsen, Finance Chief.
The solution: exacto has delivered a database solution in which Excel functions as an input tool connected to an SQL database. Consequently, data are always consolidated centrally on the SQL database. The risk of errors is reduced, and the manual routines are practically eliminated. The SQL database is integrated with the finance system, from which actuals numbers are collected. The individual employee now automatically gets his time budget in an Excel file and can compare his entries in the estimate with the previous year’s actual time. It is quick and simple for the division leaders to get an overview of the expected revenue and see what the division’s consultants should spend their time on. In addition to that, the entire financial budget is produced in the solution. Each division manager can enter expected external costs and control/budget for the individual consultant’s salary costs.
In addition, the solution has been set up with an Access-based administration module, which increases the security and ensures that both administrators and users of the system exclusively get access to the data that are relevant for them.
Less overtime, fewer payroll costs and greater job satisfaction – those are some of the appreciable advantages with the budget tool which ALBOA uses when budgeting must be done across 103 divisions of the housing organization.
The task: ALBOA, which is a housing organization in the Aarhus suburb Viby, administers and leases a good 7000 regular housing units. At the same time, the organization is responsible for leasing of a number of institutions and business leases. With its more than 100 housing divisions, there is plenty to keep track of when budgets must be prepared.
“Our biggest challenge is that we have a very tight deadline, when we must make budgets for the more than 100 different housing divisions we are responsible for. And that we can do much quicker than before, thanks to our Excel solution from exacto”, says Peter Hebroe, Deputy Manager at ALBOA.
Previously, the budget process was based on individual updates of every single division’s budget model. It was not possible to automatically consolidate the numbers across the organization. And because ALBOA works against a very tight deadline in connection with its budgeting, it resulted in overtime and extra payroll costs for the personnel – a problem for which a smarter solution had long been sought.
The solution: With exacto’s budget model, the budgeting process has been brought together in one joint Excel model, so ALBOA can now prepare budgets across its divisions. In addition to that, exacto delivered two models for budgeting of, respectively, operating costs and salaries. The models have resulted in considerable savings in time usage and thus reduction of the payroll costs for the budgeting work.
”We can now prepare the budgets much faster, so we no longer need to work overtime as much as before. Obviously, that can been seen in our payroll costs, but, most important of all, we no longer have the pressure on the employees that we had before, so that has given us a whole new sense of job satisfaction,” notes Peter Hebroe.
Other advantages are that the budgets are more thoroughly prepared because they are now drawn up in two versions. One version for, among others, the board of directors with many details, and one more simplified version for residents and other interested parties.
”So it was a good choice when we selected the Excel solution from exacto. Not only with the choice of the Excel models, but also with the choice of the supplier. We negotiated with exacto because they offered to come by and present their various Excel solutions for housing organizations like ours. That went really well, so we sat back and experienced a very professional firm that understood our problem and that could accomplish the task.”
It was a feeling which was quickly confirmed, underscores Peter Hebroe, in conclusion:
”From the start, we have had a good and constructive collaboration with exacto in which we have felt that there was a focus on us as a customer. So I can only recommend them and their way of work to others.”
Contact person: Dorothee Strub
+49 171 7666191
Neuer Wall 71
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Lars D. Wellejus
+49 151 20120142