Implementing Anaplan to Transform Commercial Planning


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During CPX 2019, Supply Chain Lead Jordan Hardy and Principal Solutions Architect John Dorma from Twelve Consulting Group, sat down with Ryan Meehan, Director of Finance & Strategy at Prestige Beverage Group, to discuss how Anaplan has transformed the way the beverage company does commercial planning. Today, we're revisiting the path that Prestige Beverage Group took to successfully overcome challenges around data, process, and resources. 

Breaking Excel

Prestige Beverage Group had a very “old school environment.” Their senior sales leadership team needed to look at the cost of goods increases for the coming year, but they didn’t have a system to do it. They tried to do it manually in Excel and ended up breaking it due to the volume of data. The company has close to 2,000 SKUs, a number of different deal levels across all 50 markets, and in some cases, a number of different distributors in each market. They also work with different currencies because they are a beverage importer. “The model we built out in Excel was too big and too complex, which didn’t allow us to get the visibility we needed,” Ryan explained. They wanted to be able to make tweaks at a very granular level and roll that up into a complete picture.

Weak Data Structure

Prestige also struggled with data. They did not have a very strong data structure, Ryan explained. They are not actively working to clean up the data and create data governance processes. While they understood it may never be perfect, they wanted to create a minimum viable product and get something out there. “Putting in some processes and some checks in our Anaplan model has been helpful,” Ryan said. “We really took that agile Anaplan way of moving forward.” The company leveraged the roadmapping sessions they had with Twelve in order to plan for long-term success.

"We really took that agile Anaplan way of moving forward."

Successful Proof of Concept

Prestige Beverage Group did a proof of concept with Twelve and figured out how it would look from a pricing perspective. They took the cost of goods increases and modeled the data out, looking at what the commercial pricing impact would be. They wanted to know what actions they could take with a very complex supply chain in the beverage industry. Their industry has three tiers: supplier, distributor, and retailer. Prestige has to work with all three and consider the downstream implications. The proof of concept really helped them leverage what Anaplan could do for their company and show them the speed at which they could do it. As they built out this proof of concept, they got a lot of buy-in from the executive team. They were able to sign on Anaplan’s IPO day, going live with pricing as their initial use case. “We were very excited to pull our sales team in and discuss what we will do with them in the future,” Ryan said.

Implementing Anaplan

Implementation was a really great process. “We didn’t really have great processes,” Ryan said. “Anaplan has really been the foundation to set a lot of those processes as we move into more of a Connected Planning solution. Twelve has done a great job at bringing prior experience and really helping us think through some of those things that we may not have had fully fleshed out.” The company wanted to build a new process, so there was a lot to learn during implementation. “Twelve did a great job of helping us think through some of that and then provided us with what the impact of that would be,” Ryan said. “We were really able to leverage implementation to learn a ton and we were really able to develop the process that worked the best.” The process helped them understand what the future should look like.

"Anaplan has really been the foundation to set a lot of those processes as we move into more of a Connected Planning solution."

Anaplan Saves Time

One of the successes the company has seen has been from a time perspective. “Going through an annual planning process through Excel before this became very time-consuming. A lot of time was spent on reconciling which version everyone was working on,” Ryan said. “We’ve been able to cut down our planning cycle by about half this year.” The company is excited about using Anaplan for depletion planning—they hope to shorten that cycle as well.

"We’ve been able to cut down our planning cycle by about half this year."

Anaplan Increases Visibility

Another great benefit has been increased visibility into their data. Previously, all of their pricing and sales decisions were made on a market-by-market level without a lot of input from finance or other areas of the organization. “We didn’t really know the implications of those decisions,” Ryan said. Now they’ve gained a lot of that visibility into how they can make decisions, set thresholds and guardrails, keep that information centralized, and provide guidance to the sales team.

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Future Uses of Anaplan

The company’s initial use case was pricing. They knew from their current data structure that a lot of their different functions operated in silos. The hope was that they could use Anaplan for things like depletion planning, marketing and trade spend in the future. “We wanted to know how we could leverage the data structure that we have in place,” Ryan said. “There is a lot of internal and external data that we have to leverage. How do we structure our data set in a way that we will be able to grow and scale and have this connected ecosystem […] and really be the linchpin in finance that pulls all of our different functions together so that we have a very cohesive financial plan?” Prestige is continuing to explore expanding Anaplan into other areas of the business so that everyone can achieve the benefits of their initial use case.

If you’d like to hear Twelve's perspective on how they handled the challenges of data, process and people/resources, watch the video to hear from John, who worked with Ryan through their implementation process.