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Georgian Bay Spirit Co. Transforms FP&A Processes in 2 Weeks with Planful

2 weeks Time to deploy
1 personNeeded for implementation
1 clickTo build and save forecasts

The Challenge: Excel-based processes led to inaccurate financial data

Georgian Bay Spirit Co., a small yet ambitious alcohol producer, faced scalability challenges amid established competition and regulatory complexity. Its diverse portfolio of beverages and spirits, combined with a single point of failure spreadsheet-based processes and an outdated SAP back-office system, further impeded its ability to access crucial financial data such as revenue, freight costs, and COGS and plan for future growth.

That’s when the company brought on Laura Visentin, Senior FP&A Manager at Georgian Bay, to overhaul its processes and technology to enhance agility and competitiveness. Her mandate was clear: establish streamlined processes and implement a modern solution that would allow for rapid, insightful analysis without the burden of a traditional IT infrastructure.

“When I first joined [Georgian Bay], I was surprised at our lack of modern financial tools,” Laura recalled. “Our single Excel file would crash a lot, there was no easy way to do reporting, and the cash flow forecast was always wrong, but we didn’t know why. So, I started looking for a modern platform for forecasting, reporting, and planning.”

The Solution: A modern approach to FP&A

Laura quickly recognized the need for deep data analysis to help streamline and enhance the company’s financial planning. Her vision was to implement a system that could deliver agile insights without the complexity and overhead associated with IT-heavy solutions.

“We don’t have an IT team,” said Laura. “[Planful competitors] rely on SQL, which requires IT support.”

After a comprehensive evaluation process, Georgian Bay, guided by Laura’s expertise, selected Planful as their platform of choice. Planful’s user-friendly interface, familiarity with its Excel syntax, and the implementation partnership offered by Bakerfield Solutions were critical to this decision.

Laura was particularly impressed by Planful’s dynamic planning models, which allow for a tailored approach to analyzing Georgian Bay’s diverse product lines, from revenue forecasting and warehouse modeling to COGS and freight analysis. The company can also drill down into the specifics of product performance, identifying high-margin products and reallocating resources to maximize profitability.

Using Planful Spotlight for Microsoft Office, Laura could quickly and easily create customized and complex reports in Excel using data pulled directly from Planful and updated with one click.

With those capabilities and enthusiastic customer reviews, the decision to go with Planful was clear.

“I cross-referenced online reviews on many different websites. Planful was always one of the top-rated platforms, if not the top-rated platform,” recalled Laura.

The Results: Accurate financial insights to scale FP&A and better guide the business forward

The impact of Planful on Georgian Bay’s business operations was both immediate and far-reaching.

“Right away, we saw significant improvement in forecast accuracy, reduced time spent on forecasting, and [created] a much easier planning process,” shared Laura.

One notable success was Laura’s development of a model that accurately tracked and analyzed freight costs across the company’s distribution network, leading to optimized logistics and considerable cost savings.

“Planful has completely revolutionized how our finance team operates,” shared Laura. “We went from manual work in Excel with a high margin of error to quick, adaptable, trustworthy data models that have significantly increased our forecast accuracy.”

Laura’s achievements did not go unnoticed; her innovative use of Planful to drive business success earned her a leadership award at Georgian Bay. This accolade was a testament to her work’s significant impact on the company’s trajectory, highlighting the financial gains and shift towards a more data-driven culture.

Georgian Bay’s journey with Planful is a compelling example of how small businesses can use intuitive, easy-to-implement, finance-owned technology to level the playing field against larger, resource-rich competitors.

Laura added: “The best part about Planful is that I never have to reach out for support. There are no bugs, and I never run into any issues wondering if my calculations are wrong. I have nothing to worry about.”

With Planful enabling more time to focus on strategic work, Laura and her team can better analyze financial performance to find opportunities and improve operations. Georgian Bay’s transformation demonstrates how proactive leadership and the right tools can help any business achieve remarkable success.

Tips for implementing Planful

Laura offered tips to other FP&A teams looking to upgrade their finance tech from Excel-based tools to Planful.

  • Take advantage of Planful’s breadth of solutions. For Laura, implementing Planful Dynamic Planning became mission-critical to support business growth.
  • Choose a Planful partner to help. Working with a trusted implementation partner is crucial, especially on a small team.Laura partnered with Bakerfield Solutions, sharing, “I was the only one at Georgian Bay involved in implementation, and I got along very well with the Bakerfield team. They were smart, hard-working, and never disappointed.”
  • Focus on critical financial performance management outcomes. Laura also recommended building a journey map to assist with implementation. From there, be clear about how you need the tool to function. “Tell [your implementation partner] exactly what you want your model to do, and they can do it. Be as specific and clear as possible — that’s the fastest way to save time in implementation.”
Georgian Bay Spirit Co. logo against a hot pink background.


Georgian Bay is a spirits manufacturer that produces award-winning small-batch spirits inspired by Georgian Bay, Ontario.


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