When Thorsten Fritz, team lead of Controlling at outdoor sports online retailer Bergzeit arrived at the company in 2018, one of the first tasks was to implement a budgeting process for the business.
Fritz remembers those days clearly. “It was, of course, Excel-based to start with—meaning we were faced with a lot of consolidation work during our yearly planning processes. This involved sending out many spreadsheets and then consolidating the data into a single version, which was extremely time-consuming.”
“Our preferred option for planning, budgeting, and forecasting”
In fact, planning had to start in November, even though the fiscal year didn’t start until the following March. As Fritz adds, “We also did our sales planning in Excel and the process was quite prone to errors, so the overall picture was pretty frustrating in those early days.”
Those frustrations led directly to the decision to introduce Workday Adaptive Planning as Bergzeit’s budgeting and forecasting tool. “As a cloud-based tool, that meant we didn’t have to run processes on our servers—it was our preferred option for planning, budgeting, and forecasting,” Fritz says. “Workday Adaptive Planning gives us a full view of our finances in one place, supporting the insights we need to make better decisions. It’s been excellent: having started implementation in April 2021, I think of Workday Adaptive Planning as our second Controlling employee!”
As a cloud-based tool that meant we didn’t have to run processes on our servers, Workday Adaptive Planning was our preferred option for planning, budgeting and forecasting.
Thorsten Fritz, Team Lead Controlling
Positive impact on the planning cycle.
According to Fritz, the greatest advantage that Workday Adaptive Planning has given Bergzeit is the significant impact it’s had on the company’s planning cycle.
“It’s much shorter, it’s much more adaptive,” Fritz says. “Essentially, we have a first result as soon as the planning is done. There’s no need for lengthy consolidation work anymore, meaning that we’re in a position to deliver against our plans to introduce additional forecasting cycles during the year. We’ve made the move to quarterly forecasting, and while we’re not quite at a rolling forecast yet, we’re getting close.”
This is particularly important for Bergzeit, as it works to become more responsive in the face of challenging conditions for the retail sector.
Accelerated scenario-planning for greater flexibility
The power of Workday Adaptive Planning to accelerate Bergzeit’s response to rapid changes in the market environment was proven at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2021.
According to Fritz, “At that time, we initially experienced a huge dip in sales, immediately followed by a surge in sales. It was a crazy time, and it became really important to be able to do scenario planning faster than ever before under what we call our ‘variable’ KPIs.”
Being able to rapidly analyze the impact on margins or revenues being up or down by 10% or 20% was, Fritzcontinues, “very strong for us because we’re now so fast in the process.” And Fritz is aware of the benefits this ability provides under more normal trading conditions.
We’re a far more flexible and competitive organization than we were before Workday Adaptive Planning.
Thorsten Fritz, Team Lead Controlling
Significantly reduced need for manual consolidation
Above all, Fritz defines the single biggest benefit of the move to Workday Adaptive Planning as “the reduction in the manual consolidation tasks that we had to do in Excel. And that advantage extends beyond my area to managers right across the business. So now I can ask people responsible for various areas of expenditure for their planning up to a set date, and that’s their input done with: we’ll close the version and start discussing about content rather than consolidating,” Fritz says.
That’s not all. According to Fritz, “What’s also really valuable for us is the ability to create multiple versions by using the Workday Adaptive Planning driver-based approach so you can create and change an entire scenario simply by changing revenue or variable costs. That’s entirely different from Excel, when you either had to duplicate everything and then consolidate it all again, or resign yourself to only creating very limited scenarios. It’s a whole new world with Workday.”