Family-owned precision engineering company

Challenge

Precision engineering is a complex and highly competitive market.  While the Engineering Company’s continual investment in cutting-edge engineering technologies ensured the premium quality of its outputs, the financial reporting systems had not kept pace.

The Engineering Company needed an agile financial planning and reporting system that would deliver against three key objectives:

  • Profitability analysis at both customer and product level, to identify areas of focus for operational efficiencies.
  • Scenario modelling for different product mixes and volumes to facilitate pricing negotiations.
  • Timely and detailed monthly financial dashboards showing results against budget and incorporating regular reforecasts to enable agile commercial decision making.

Strategy

I started by clarifying the brief – through a series of conversations with the senior leadership team I built up a picture of the problem areas.  I spent time with the operational staff, mapping the current business processes and the information available.

My strategy was to build a bespoke reporting tool using advanced Excel analytics capabilities.  I shared my approach and a mock-up of what the output could look like with the client team to ensure alignment.

Implementation

I used live transactional finance data from the accounting system and combined this with a newly-created model to allocate raw materials, labour and overheads to customer and product level.  I used this to build detailed profit and loss reports and KPI analyses showing results against budget and forecast for current month, year to date and monthly future budget or forecast to show full year expected outturn.  The dashboards highlighted variances outside tolerances that could be specified to individual customer and line level.

I created links to data from the production system and built detailed production and pricing models to support contract negotiations.  I incorporated the ability to calculate retrospective volume and raw material price adjustments specific to this industry.

Throughout the project, I worked collaboratively with the client team, checking in regularly with progress updates, to get buy-in, take onboard any feedback and share thoughts and suggestions on further enhancements I could offer.

Results

The project exceeded the client’s expectations, delivering strong results against the three key objectives:

  • Profitability analysis at both customer and product level – the Directors used this information to refocus the business away from less-profitable customers and products.
  • Scenario modelling – supported pricing negotiations, generating a significant increase in revenues on contract renewals.
  • Timely and detailed monthly financial dashboards – the reporting tool provides key information that is used every month by the Directors and Financial Controller for commercial decision making.
Lisa’s approach enabled the business to make much more informed data-driven decisions. She was very quickly able to determine the areas of focus and the speed she created the analytical tools, drawing information from the ERP system, was truly impressive. The work had long-term benefit as the tool became a key part of the management reporting and budget/forecasting. Often individuals with such strong analytical skills can’t see beyond the data, but Lisa also has well-honed commercial skills which gives her a rare skill set.
Director of Operations