Improved planning system helps Neova succeed in its ever-changing business environment
Together with its long-term partner Enfo, Neova has created and developed an integrated business planning solution to support decision-making. Leading with knowledge helps Neova thrive in the middle of constant change. Epical is today a subsidiary of Enfo.
In 2016, it was time for Neova to upgrade its Cognos Planning system. The technical support was coming to an end, and Neova wanted to modernize and streamline its financial and operative planning.
“Changes in our business environment required improved forecasting on short and long term. We needed better data to support decision-making”, says Mika Pesonen, Director, Group Controlling at Neova.
Neova chose Enfo as their partner for implementing the new cloud-based IBM Planning Analytics system. Today, the system includes financial and cost planning, as well as planning of sales and operations for Neova’s different business units.
“The cooperation is significant for us, since it covers all our business planning. The system is connected to our data warehouse and used in the entire Neova Group”, Pesonen says.
Latest addition: sales and operations at Kekkilä BVB
Neova’s business keeps growing and the planning system continues to expand. The most recent extension has been carried out in Kekkilä BVB, a subsidiary of Neova, accounting for about 60% of the group’s sales. At Kekkilä BVB, the planning tool has been implemented to sales and operations.
“We didn’t have any sales and operational planning tool before this one. We had been growing fast and kept growing by 10% annually, so we definitely needed a new process and a solid tool to support it. The lack of a proper planning tool had limited us. With the new system running, we can do so much more”, says Armand Veenman, Director S&OP at Kekkilä BVB.
Epical has supported Kekkilä BVB in this change. “The entire process from sales to production and raw material is now integrated in the same tool. We also did a proof-of-concept using AI and external data such as weather forecasts and sales promotion information for predicting sales at Kekkilä BVB”, says Anssi Lehtinen, Principal Consultant at Epical.
Modernized planning supports Neova’s transformation
“Three years ago, our company was an energy company that derived most of its sales and profit from fuels and the production of heat and electricity. At the time, the Group’s future strategic focus areas were defined as seeking growth in the international growing media market and the development and marketing of new, high added-value products based on natural materials. The change has been very rapid and this has highlighted the importance of data and business planning in management and decision-making”, Pesonen says.
Further development requires Enfo a good understanding of Neova’s business. “We must be able to turn Neova’s requirements into technical solutions and their needs into systems that fit them”, Lehtinen says.
“Each business division and function is responsible for its operations throughout Neova Group’s operating countries. Business units define the logic and rules that apply, which pays due regard to applicable requirements concerning business planning. This has also been a learning experience for Enfo, and their willingness to learn is a huge plus. Enfo has great understanding on technology, they know the system and can adapt it to our specifications and needs”, Pesonen states.
The new planning system has greatly improved Neova’s planning and forecasting, and the planning process has become a lot faster. On the group level, it is definitely a plus to have the view to the entire group within the same system. Having this system in cloud also reduces maintenance costs for Neova.
Biggest value are the people
Pesonen and Veenman are both happy with the cooperation with Epical. “Epical’s way of working is fluent, flexible and very customer-oriented. The availability of their experts is very important for us. We trust Epical in the process of taking our planning further”, Veenman says.
Open communication, interaction and cooperation play a big role in the continuous development”, Pesonen states.
Epical gives us ideas, and we look for solutions together, working towards a common goal.
“The biggest value are the people, Epical’s experts. We have a small core group of experts, which has stayed stable. This is also something we wanted. These experts are our trusted players: they understand our activities and are able to build the system and the technical solutions accordingly. Trust through respect”, notes Pesonen.