Automated Budgeting and Reporting at Oberto Snacks
Eliminating non-value-added activities and delivering complete financial transparency to improve data visualization, consolidation, and forecasting
Originally choosing the Board decision-making platform to replace Excel-based financial reporting and forecasting processes, meat snack manufacturer Oberto has since expanded the use of the solution into areas such as payroll management, marketing expense tracking, and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) logs. The business is saving more than 20 hours per month in non-value-added tasks which have now been automated and streamlined to free staff up to work on other activities.
- Industry: Food & Beverage
- Department: Finance
- Founded: 1918
- Products: 400+
- Employees: 550
Oberto Snacks started as a family-owned business in Seattle, Washington over 100 years ago in 1918. Today, it employs 500+ people and has three distinct brands specializing in meat snacks: Oberto, Pacific Gold, and Cattleman’s Cut. In May 2018, the business was acquired by Premium Brand Holdings.
The Challenge: An unclear picture of performance and forecasts
Oberto's finance team supports the sales and marketing departments by assessing new item profitability data as well as forecasting product volume across all of its SKUs. These day-to-day processes were being managed exclusively in Excel spreadsheets and, without a consolidated view of the data, the organization struggled to present a clear picture of performance and forecasts. The lack of consistency and data automation frequently led to human errors.
The forecasting process was extremely manual and took about six hours to complete per week, amounting to more than 20 hours per month spent just on keeping the forecasting model maintained. Additionally, the long-term financial planning process, in which the business fully forecasted as far out as 10 years, could take a few months to complete.
Oberto wanted to improve these data procedures, reduce errors, and implement time-saving strategies, so launched a new digital finance transformation project.
"Being able to reduce the time spent on non-value-added work was big for us," says Kyla Silva, Finance Manager.
The Solution: Automation outside of spreadsheets
After evaluating several competitor vendors, all of which resembled Excel and were limited in terms of functionality, Oberto decided that nothing came close to what they saw and valued in the Board decision-making platform, which combines Business Intelligence, Planning, and Predictive Analytics in a flexible, customizable interface. Oberto was excited to use Board's automated budgeting and reporting capabilities to improve data visualization, consolidation, and forecasting.
The Results: Adding value and time back into the business
With the Board platform now in place, in addition to eliminating 20 hours per month of non-value-added work, Oberto has seen tremendous results across multiple business areas that go beyond the initial scope of what they originally envisioned.
When the finance team started to use Board for budgeting and financial statements, they observed Board’s expansive capabilities and considered using the platform for tasks they would otherwise have had to introduce another tool for. The result was an expansion of the use of Board into a variety of other projects, including a payroll management tool, marketing expense tracking, standard operating procedure (SOP) logs, and new item setup forums with approval workflows.
"Board has really helped us to look at our data in many ways that we hadn’t before. Excel is very high level. With Board, we’re able to provide answers to the executives quicker and help them make decisions more dynamically," adds Kyle.
00:00:06My name is Kyle Silva, I work at Oberto brands, I work in the finance department as a finance manager. Oberto is a manufacturer and producer of meat products, specifically jerky, we get into trail mix, we own several different brands. But what we do there is we managed Board but we also support our sales marketing team, assessing profitability of new items and customer innovation, and also trying to understand our forecasting of volume.
00:00:34What do you like most about Board? We have a lot of pride in terms of the visual aspect of it but also the automation of Board, being able to reduce the time of the non-value-added work is pretty big for our company.
00:00:46Does your team utilize Board training? We do utilize the training modules that you guys created. Your web browser is great for those online modules and webinars, so the first thing we got our new employees to start doing is going through those and just kind of getting their feet wet on their own terms. So being able to have a new employee come in and say, hey your first two weeks, just go into the Board website, use their training modules and see what you can produce on your own and then we'll get you into our systems and really help you understand from the Oberto aspect of what we use Board for.
00:01:24What would you say to someone considering implementing Board? To someone that's considering implementation of Board I would definitely just ask them what their goals are on it. I think a common trend is process improvements, reducing human error, you know getting away from the manual work. I would definitely ask them what’s their goal, what’s their objective and what’s their stretch goals with Board because typically you're going to be able to get those stretch goals completed as well. One of the cases that we use Board for that was well beyond the scope of what we initially purchased Board was our forecasting.
We’re actually in the middle of transitioning so we're kind of hybrid between Excel and Board right now as we work on how to effectively onboard, say 40 salespeople that have limited BI experience. The old process for our forecasting was sales would put it into Excel, finance would review it in Excel, put it through to our other programs manually, probably about a 6 or 7 hour process once a week, limited visibility, no ability to slice and dice the data.
We’re in the middle of bringing our forecasting planning into Board and this will essentially allow Board and our other systems to talk to each other overnight through the use of procedures and automation. Board is going to be able to push that forecast not just at that weekly time frame but every single night, automated so that we would save about six hours of work just for that one process. We’ll probably save about 20 hours of work every month just on getting our forecasting out of Excel, into Board, and having both of our systems talk to each other.
00:02:53What is Board’s impact on your data? So Board has been able to really help us look at our data in many ways that we haven't before. With Board, we’re able to provide answers quicker to the executives, help them make those decisions quicker. Every meeting we go to people are updating it directly into the system, the data, and we're reviewing it and drilling into very detailed information that we typically haven't been able to to get real-time during meetings.
00:03:18How does Board support your planning? One thing that we continue to work on is improving our long-term financial statement planning, so this isn't just a revenue forecast, this is a full financial statement three, five, ten years out. This is something, when I first started three years ago, it was about a one-month process and we did it once a year. We’re at the point with Board where we’re doing this three or four times a year, given changes in our company strategy or long-term objectives that have shifted. And it's really just having the procedures built once, all the reports built where we can add, you know, the high-level assumptions, the ones that are really going to impact the data and having Board push it through using the portal. We’ll use historic data plus the assumptions that we add and produce long-term forecasts by year all the way 10 years out, and we're doing that about three times a year now.
00:04:03What time savings have you experienced with Board? So at Oberto Board is a big part of our month end close process. We do use Board to actually produce our reconciliations. Some of our journal entries are actually produced in Board, we just export them and send them over to accounting. These are things that have saved us a tremendous amount of time and has helped us close within the guidelines of our executives. A clean month end is very different than a regular month end and with Board we’re able to get a clean month end with the abilities of having Board do all the manual work, create the journal entries, and kind of produce the data, giving us an extra day or two to do the full review and understanding the data having the journal entries in on time and having dated that's accurate within the first week.