Planful Enables Zep’s Aggressive Growth Strategy

Zep is a leading provider of specialty chemical products to a wide variety of industrial, institutional and retail customers. They offer top-quality products with superior personal service and professional support to over 300,000 customers, with a reach into every major city in North America and countries on five continents.


Approaching a new fiscal planning cycle, finance professionals at Zep Inc. discovered that their long-time budgeting and planning software had outlasted its technology lifecycle.  They had to do something fast. Initially, they pursued an upgrade to their on-premises vendor’s newer offering.

Quickly, however, they realized they needed an alternative when their vendor said the upgrade could take more than a year. The systems also were expensive and would require a dedicated administrator on staff.


The team found that Planful could replace the on-premises system without disrupting work for the business units and executives. It addressed Zep’s business requirements, plus added new functionality like Advanced Workforce Planning.

Planful gave users additional functionality.

“The reporting capabilities allowed users to immediately see their results without assistance from an administrator,” Zep’s Director of Reporting points out. “With the Planful templates, business unit managers get enhanced reporting that they use to manage their business. Being able to input their plan and see the results also gives them a stronger sense of ownership.”

And that was just the beginning. The search “started primarily for a planning tool and it grew into a reporting and consolidation project as well. We were intrigued by the potential of having the plan and consolidated actual data on one platform.” Having them on one platform has paid off. In the past, analysis was a bottleneck during the close process. Analysts waiting for accountants to answer questions about transactional data could take an hour or more; now users drill into the details they need in minutes. Planful also automates conversion of multiple currencies in the consolidation process, a new feature for Zep that saves time and minimizes risk.


As a result, Finance adds more value to the business. Daily sales reporting, for instance, is significantly easier. Most importantly, the Planful Platform helps executives reach Zep’s business goals. It facilitates management’s aggressive growth strategy, which completed four acquisitions within a year. That included two foreign entity acquisitions during the implementation of Planful. Despite that, the team was able to report financial results during the first month of ownership.

Zep plans to implement new processes that were unavailable in its onpremises system. Rolling forecasts, which provide visibility into the future, are at the top of the list. Faster updating will enable business units to access results, and the impact of those changes will be visible at the business and corporate level immediately.

Consolidation and reporting with Planful makes it easier for us to respond to change.

Director of Reporting

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