National DCP is a global provider of innovative supply chain solutions for the foodservice industry. The company wanted to move faster and make decisions in less time, but manual processes delayed the flow of information to the business. So its finance team positioned Planful as a source of financial insight across the company, building dashboards and one-click reports to engage business decision-makers and bring budget managers into the planning process. Now, with Planful, National DCP is raising the financial IQ of the business to speed decision making, reduce the lag between data and insights, and give everyone more time to collaborate, find more opportunities, and act with confidence.
When National DCP deployed Planful in 2016 as their FP&A solution, they still relied on slow, manual processes to deliver highly customized reports and insights out to the business. Finance knew Planful could streamline the process and raise the financial IQ of the business, giving the company more agility to make faster decisions.
“I was using Planful to analyze our data and identify opportunities to increase productivity, cut costs, and determine the financial feasibility of new projects,” explained Michael Zambetti, Manager, Finance & Data Analytics at National DCP. “As our experience with Planful grew, we started finding many different ways to improve the finance team’s efficiency within the organization.”
Michael then began using Planful to present insights to the C-suite and decision-makers. The response was positive, but at the time he knew Excel remained the preferred delivery mechanism for the company’s unique reports. So he set his sights on leveraging Planful to give the business more self-service power, faster insights, and turn the entire effort into a team sport.
“Growing up, I was on a soccer team,” Michael added. “I was the goalkeeper, so I couldn’t score goals myself. You need to rely on multiple people to drive value. [Similarly,] you need to have multiple people who know how to use Planful, who know how to use these different models, and are able to do it efficiently to get the best value for your team.”
If more business decision-makers were using Planful, they could get near-instant access to financial insights, whenever and however they liked. National DCP just needed to bring them on board.
“We wanted to increase their financial IQ so they could make decisions at a much quicker pace,” explained Michael. “Before, there was a lag between getting data and getting the analysis. With Planful, they could do that digging on their own.”
The company had a four-pronged approach to bringing the business onto Planful:
“We used Structured Planning templates to increase collaboration and buy-in,” Michael said. “It gives the business a stake in the outcome because they’re contributing to the budgets and creating the forecasts. It also gave them instant access to analyze and report on their own numbers. It was a simple change, but very impactful.”
Moving to Planful Dynamic Planning, National DCP automated the creation of financial statements and gave everyone instant access to past reports. That eliminated delays when the business needed historical information. Then, using Planful’s substitution variables and report collections features, the company streamlined reporting and added flexibility so anyone could report across unique dimensions, drill down into certain areas, or see high-level rollups.
Spotlight Excel also became “a very, very valuable tool,” according to Michael. It empowered stakeholders to easily and quickly generate reports in unique and custom formats and with no learning curve.
“They can just click a button and their numbers come through,” added Michael. “You don’t have to train these users or talk about query functions. With Planful, it’s just one click and they’re cruising. And it’s a perfect way to tailor reports to a specific audience. If they’re familiar with a certain report format or layout, you can do that in Spotlight for Excel.”
Finally, the company rolled out Planful dashboards to provide wider visibility to companywide metrics.
“We started using dashboards to track margin, profitability, and other key metrics for our executives,” Michael said. “We ended up receiving phenomenal feedback.”
With Planful’s cloud FP&A foundation in place, National DCP was able to streamline finance and accounting processes and give the business fast access to the data they need. The combination saved time, which Finance used to work more closely with their business colleagues.
“Before [Planful] we had a much longer month-end close process, about ten days, and we’re now at three days,” said Michael. “We get month-end close done very quickly and can get back to the fun stuff.”
That collaboration works in the opposite direction, too. The ease of use and intuitiveness of the Planful platform gives stakeholders a key role in improving the overall financial IQ of the organization. Prior to Planful, budget managers weren’t involved in the budgeting process. But, with Planful’s easy-to-use interface and customizable templates, Michael was able to focus those budget managers on just the information they needed.
“A big thing driving that collaboration is letting these different stakeholders contribute directly,” Michael added. “They’re not just telling you information, they’re actually inputting it themselves into Planful. They’re a lot more likely to then buy into the decisions we make together. That’s a very, very valuable result of this company-wide adoption of Planful.”
Using automation, intelligence, and simplicity, Planful is helping National DCP make better, faster decisions. And, since budget managers and others across the business work directly in Planful, there’s no need to wait on Finance when they need to take action.
“Our stakeholders can just go into Planful and retrieve the information themselves,” said Michael. “We don’t need to distribute reports. With the click of a button, the business can access hundreds of reports, in the Excel format they want, and even automatically email it out to their teams.”
Bringing the business into the finance and accounting processes has hastened decisions, increased teamwork, and eliminated manual effort. Using Planful, National DCP can quickly put the right information into the right hands. Those insights then give the business the agility it needs to act with confidence.
“Our ultimate goal is to drive faster business decisions,” Michael concluded. “From gathering the data to making the decision, we’ve shortened the time frame because Planful allows us to tailor reports to our target audience.”
National DCP is a driver of supply chain innovation providing quality food and beverages to more than 8,700 U.S. quick service restaurants. With an expertise that goes beyond food sourcing and distribution, NDCP delivers a comprehensive array of business solutions that range from technology to healthcare.
Food and Beverage Services
Close & Consolidation