Vaasan achieved better transparency in its business operations

Bakery company Vaasan wanted a better view of the development direction of its financial situation and business operations. The planning process was renewed, and the corporate management now gets useful information about its business activities. The sales of products, such as Vaasan Ruispalat, is tracked and forecasted in more detail than before. Automation was increased in Vaasan’s financial management.

Business challenge

Laborious budgeting and forecasting process.

Transformation

Financial and operational planning merged into single solution.

Results

More transparent view on sales and costs. Improved cost control and commitments to plans at cost center level. Business planning linked to corporate strategy. Shorter business planning process lead-time.

Case Story

In summer 2015, Vaasan became part of the international Lantmännen Unibake bakery group as the result of a merger. Vaasan has approximately 1,400 employees and 12 bakeries in Finland and the Baltic countries. In 2016, its turnover was approximately EUR 176 million. The company mainly serves retail shops.

“We have renewed our financial planning and improved transparency and reporting in the entire organisation. Financial forecasting was mainly done by our controllers. We wanted business operations to have more responsibility,” says CFO Tiia Ranta from Vaasan. “We focus on fresh bread. We try to forecast the development, and we need modern tools and competence to do that.”

Designed for Vaasan

Vaasan decided on the IBM Cognos TM1 solution. “We also use other IBM Cognos solutions. With the help of the solution, we can utilise data in a more efficient manner and bring financial processes closer to each other. The systems must be compatible with each other,” Ranta says. “The budgeting and forecasting is now done with one solution.” Intito’s specialists helped Vaasan introduce IBM Cognos TM1 and offered user training. Vaasan can utilise the new tools for financial planning and reporting.

“Intito’s specialists are well acquainted with our business operations. They have the ability to implement high-quality renewals, and moving everything to production has not caused any major challenges. They planned everything carefully and found a solution that matches our wishes,” says Cluster Business Controller Arto Lauri from Vaasan.

“Transparency has improved significantly, and we get better information.”

Tiia Ranta, CFO, - Vaasan in brief

The services also include Intito’s continuous support service for potential technical error situations as well as on-site support for critical financial reporting periods.

“We take care of routine tasks and smaller changes ourselves. We utilise the well-functioning support service when necessary,” Lauri says.

The tight cooperation between Vaasan and Intito also entailed leasing Intito’s specialist Mikko Heikkinen to Vaasan. For three months, Heikkinen worked in the role of Development Manager in the business controlling unit.

Better information for the management and sales

Vaasan produces and sells hundreds of products. Rye bread Vaasan Ruispalat is among the most famous breads in Finland.

“Transparency has clearly improved, and we now have a view to all of our operating countries; to cost centers, every product and the customer level. We know how different products are selling and can estimate future sales better as well. The management’s knowledge of our financial figures has also increased,” Ranta explains. “Our planning process is linked to our company’s management philosophy. We compare the bottom-up forecasts to our goals and can then think about which measures to take in the long term.”

Those who are responsible for cost center monitor fixed costs more closely than before. “Before the renewal, people might have gone through the cost centers they were responsible for once a year. Now they track and forecast costs on a monthly basis,” Ranta says. “Trust has increased significantly, and there should not be any major mistakes or surprises.”

“The TM1 solution has also helped with shortages in our ERP system, such as reporting. We renewed our profit and loss statement to correspond to the requirements of our parent company and built new models directly with the TM1 tools. Everything went smoothly, and the solution has served us very well,” Lauri says. “We can use information from various sources better than before. The improved level of information and planning process as well as predictability have taken us forward.”

Continuous collaboration

Vaasan’s organisation has many ongoing initiatives to improve financial operations.

“Our company’s economy is now better managed,” says Ranta. “We are developing the basic reporting and making it more understandable. We will invest in the visuality of the reporting and take it to the dashboard level. We are coming up with ways to utilise the quickly increasing amount of data and make routine reporting more efficient. We are increasing automation and reducing manual labour so that our controllers can focus on supporting business activities and analysing data. This requires a constantly developing financial management.”

Vaasan in brief

Vaasan is a Finnish bakery company with operations in Finland and the Baltic countries. It is Finland’s oldest national bakery operator. Brands include rye bread Vaasan Ruispalat, oat bread Vaasan Kauratyynyt and toast Vaasan Taika. Following an acquisition in June 2015, Vaasan now is a part of the international bakery group Lantmännen Unibake

Solution components

- IBM Planning Analytics
- IBM Cognos Analytics

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