From Spreadsheet-based planning to planning automation
From Spreadsheet-based planning to planning automation

From Spreadsheet-based planning to planning automation. A fashion industry case study.

20. May 2021
Author: Bob Hansen, Editor, Workday Adaptive Planning

 

Royce Too is in the business of delivering comfort and protection to people around the world—and these days, who doesn’t need that? Royce produces socks for well-known brands such as Dockers, Dickies and Saucony, and distributes them to Macy’s, Kohl’s, Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, Walmart and other leading retailers. By its very nature, the apparel business moves quickly, even without a global pandemic to hurry it along. So the company’s success relies on its ability to operate with agility.

Transforming spreadsheet-based planning

In late 2019, Greg Snipes joined the Royce team as vice president of finance and operations. Snipes came to Royce from Ralph Lauren’s supply chain division, where he helped implement Workday Adaptive Planning to create a modern, cloud-based FP&A planning environment that automated formerly onerous, manual tasks. “We had to consolidate globally and pull operational and financial data together,” recalls Snipes, who immediately realized that Royce’s spreadsheet-based FP&A planning methods needed a similar transformation. “When you get used to having information at your fingertips, you want it there again.”

Snipes joined Royce in November and was on the phone to Workday in December. He wanted automation in Royce’s manual FP&A planning environment. And he wanted it “immediately.”

 

A remote deployment in just 90 days

As it turns out, a global pandemic may be just the right time to overhaul your outdated planning practices. And Royce’s experience may be proof. In early 2020, the entire Royce workforce went remote. So did, in fact, the company’s deployment of Workday Adaptive Planning.

Despite the challenges of working remotely, Snipes reports that his team implemented Workday Adaptive Planning in just 90 days. “Very quickly,” he says, “we were able to transition over.”

Having worked with the solution at Ralph Lauren, Snipes knew first-hand about its intuitive interface and automated capabilities that helped those outside of finance to navigate, understand, and embrace the system. “When we went through the demo back in December, one of my team members even said, ‘I’ve got my Christmas gift this year.’ She could see how beneficial it was going to be.”

By harnessing Workday Adaptive Planning features like Office Connect, which allows stakeholders to work in familiar Microsoft Office environments while still realizing the full value of Workday Adaptive Planning, Snipes and his team saw internal adoption radiate across the company’s various business functions. Snipes says he witnessed their collective surprise as he showed team members how to build out their P&L, go to Office Connect, and hit refresh. “You get the smiles on everybody’s face like, ‘What? It was that easy?’ Getting everybody on board when they saw how quick we could get information and how easy it was to get to, it’s a no-brainer.”

Active dashboards, another Workday Adaptive Planning feature, also helped win C-level executives to the advantages of automated FP&A processes. “We’ve created dashboards for the executive team, and they can pull everything out, check it all out, and see where we are at any given point in time. That’s the icing on the cake. Everybody’s on board then,” explains Snipes. “Now I hear, ‘Well, what else can it do? Can you do this? Can you give me that?’”

 

For FP&A, automation means agility.

For Snipes, the pandemic has only amplified the importance of agility: “In this global pandemic, being agile and able to change quickly is huge. Accessing the right data, getting it to the right people and in the right format has been such a huge advantage to us. We’ve fully integrated between our ERP and Adaptive, so we have quite a bit of information available at our fingertips.”

What does this mean for Royce? More efficient processes, and a more responsive FP&A outfit. “We went from quarterly updates to our parent company to monthly,” says Snipes. “It used to be a heavy lift and it’s not anymore. It’s not stressful.”

With Workday Adaptive Planning, Snipes’ team also can automatically funnel their currency tables and rates into plans to achieve real-time translation. And because Workday Adaptive Planning is dimensionally aware, they can drill down into dimensional drill paths that are automatically made available, avoiding the need to specify the path.

Automating information access also helps finance function as a strategic advisor to the business, rather than the financial gatekeeper. “We’re driving automation from a reporting standpoint,” Snipes says, noting how instant updates allow finance to answer questions often in the same meeting in which they were asked, rather than days later.

 

Harnessing automation to embrace disruption.

Speed and agility may indeed be the determining success factors in an era where change is a constant. For Snipes, the flexibility of Workday Adaptive Planning illustrates how easy it has become to plan dynamically, a must in this uncertain age: “It’s an ever-changing model,” he says. “It always changes.”

 

See first-hand how you, too, can drive more efficient FP&A processes in your own business. Watch the webinar

 

This blog was originally published on the Workday Adaptive Planning Blog.

At Sereviso, we support businesses in their digital transformation journey and help them adopt suitable financial planning solutions for them, with full visibility over business data, high accessibility, and granular analytics. If you’re looking for a similar solution, check our website or get in touch with Sereviso experts

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