Over the last 10 years, Blue Yonder has experienced a rapid ascent to the pinnacle of the supply chain management software space. Within a decade, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company developed an industry-first AI-powered supply chain management platform. Today it serves more than 3,000 customers worldwide and delivers 75 billion transactions a month with the industry’s first AI/ML-driven platform.
Each time Blue Yonder acquires a new company, integrating each new entity—its people, technology, functionality, and financial operations—presents a significant challenge. Additionally, Blue Yonder was recently acquired by Panasonic Connect, and now it needs to be able to track and analyze data not only for its own use, but also for its parent company’s.
As Blue Yonder’s needs grew, it found itself relying more on its existing Workday HCM and Financial Management functionality and deploying more capabilities to transition from a medium-sized business to part of a large, global enterprise.
Data is king
Without access to clean data across the organization, it’s impossible to make accurate decisions. For Blue Yonder’s HCM operation, Nathalie Carruthers, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, discovered that her team was spending time maintaining business processes with some data in spreadsheets and some data in Workday.
“Workday was the catalyst we needed to be both disciplined and self-sufficient,” says Carruthers. “It allows me to run the reports I need, and it’s taught my team to be efficient and accurate with the data they maintain.”
This has not only helped Blue Yonder automate processes that improve agility, recruiting, and internal development, but also sped up onboarding and increased interdepartmental coordination.
“Acquisitions can rock people's worlds, so you have to make it a non-event,” says Carruthers. “Workday helps us improve our processes every time we have one.”
Good financial decisions drive company strategy
The need for accurate, accessible data extends across all parts of Blue Yonder’s organization.
“In finance, it starts with good data hygiene, it’s important to consider how you structure the GL (general ledger), since it will be the basis of your reporting,” says Senior Director of Finance, Technology and Operations Jon Flinn. “When incorporating an acquisition, we ensure the general ledger fits within our existing structure so we can integrate the acquired company as soon as possible. This allows us to leverage our existing reporting framework.”
Business leaders on his team use dashboards they can build and configure with Workday to create customized reports used to make solid financial decisions across the organization.
Flinn has spearheaded a formal program in finance to automate manual processes. “Workday serves as the center of our technology ecosystem and we look to leverage functionality within Workday first, prior to exploring any other technologies.”
This has translated into a tight partnership between finance and other business units because it helps drive clear decision-making, impact financials, and steer the company’s strategic direction. “Workday gives us the tools to build the structure, controls, and processes we need.”
Workday serves as the center of our technology ecosystem and we look to leverage functionality within Workday first, prior to exploring any other technologies.
Senior Director, Finance Technology and Operations
A meeting that matters—sharing change control across teams
On a practical level, clean, tightly defined data collection and storage improve Blue Yonder’s ability to formulate and submit change control requests to address acquisition integration concerns across all departments. The ability of finance to make productive adjustments, such as changes to cost center hierarchies or business process changes, maximizes efficiency.
Other departments quickly took notice, and now more than 40 associates from finance, accounting, operations, and IT come together for biweekly change control meetings. Prior to each meeting, departments submit change requests through a formal process. Finance team members then review and flag each submission, ensuring none fall outside the scope of change control.
With each request assessed prior to the meeting, no time is wasted in sorting the feasibility or impact of submissions. The result is continuous planning that prevents key changes in one area from adversely affecting any of the company’s other departments or global jurisdictions. Rather than everyone working in silos, Blue Yonder is truly integrated and reaping the rewards.
“This meeting has become a key forum for us to ensure we have a shared understanding of the impacts of changes with Workday, across the organization,” Flinn says.
Onward and upward
Both Carruthers and Flinn are looking to deploy additional analytics capabilities and functionality in Workday to develop and retain top talent and give their teams the resources and flexibility to incentivize innovation. Flinn adds, “It's pretty basic. You hire good people and empower them with data and the tools to be effective.”