- Run reports more quickly
- Have confidence in the data
- Improve efficiencies and processes
- Meet regulatory standards and compliance deadlines
New Balance Athletic Shoe Company, Inc. is a great example. Faced with a compelling business issue and a desire for radical improvement, the company’s management team knew that change was needed. With a looming end-of-life period for its legacy consolidations solution, the company needed to make some IT system changes – but how extensive remained to be seen.
With a desire to streamline and improve the financial planning and consolidation process, New Balance initially planned to replace both its legacy ERP and consolidations systems. Ultimately, however, management put plans for the ERP replacement on hold, opening the door for finance and IT to focus on the pressing need for a replacement financial and management reporting system.
Well-Managed Approach Is Key
They implemented SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for the Microsoft platform within an aggressive timeframe that required careful project planning and the involvement of key management sponsors. System rollout was managed in a very controlled fashion, sympathetic to the needs of a large number of system users, to ensure adequate levels of training and acceptance of the new business system.
Of course, software implementations aren’t without issues, but the New Balance experience definitely shows that a well-managed approach is a key element to a successful rollout. Citing data complexities and management support among the lessons learned from the experience – elements of definite interest to other organizations taking on similar endeavors – New Balance also listed winning the hearts and minds of system users as a success factor.
Now reaping the rewards of a successful implementation and rollout, New Balance is able to close the books faster, cutting the financial close period from four weeks down to two. And with ambitions to achieve a five-day close process globally, the New Balance team sees even greater potential with their financial and management reporting system.
“The visibility we get into our intercompany transactions and partner relationships has helped us not only improve the integrity of the numbers but also streamline our processes, ”said Darren Balardini, international finance manager. “Now we can get the right numbers in the right places to the right people more quickly. That frees up a lot more time for people to spend on more value-added activities.”
The New Balance customer story appears in the July issue of InsiderPROFILES, which provides insight into some of the business issues this innovative US sporting goods manufacturer faced when changing its financial business system.