Harry and David - Case Study
Board increases reporting accuracy and efficiency, and reduces forecasting time by days
Since its founding more than 80 years ago, Harry & David has grown to become America’s premier choice for gourmet gifts. From handpicked fresh fruit to hand-packed gift baskets filled with delicious treats, the company is committed to providing premium quality and excellence in every way. With a history rich in agriculture and family values, the Harry & David story started with Samuel Rosenberg, a successful hotel owner in Seattle, Washington, who in 1910 traded his prized Hotel Sorrento for 240 prime acres of pears in Southern Oregon’s Rogue River Valley. The Orchards were later taken over by his two sons, Harry and David Rosenberg, who launched their eponymous mail-order (now web-order) gift basket business in 1934.
As the company digitized its operations over the past 30 years, the Harry & David Office of Finance had grown its financial accounting and reporting largely on Excel. It became apparent in recent years that a tremendous amount of time was dedicated to rationalizing and consolidating multiple spreadsheets from throughout the company into a suitable format for end of quarter and end of year consolidation and reporting.
Additionally, the company sought a means of streamlining forecasting for its separate departments.
The Harry & David Finance team had transitioned to a new general ledger system, which did not have the reporting capabilities it needed. This shift allowed for the evaluation of other financial reporting systems.
After an extensive search in 2015 of available software solutions, Harry & David selected the Board International platform for BI and performance management as a functional and overall best solution to meet their combined reporting and forecasting needs.
The Board unified Platform for analytics, reporting and forecasting enabled Harry & David to change and significantly expand its processes, by making the company more flexible and dynamic in discussions and explanations about their financial performance and potential future plans. Forecast cycles that had previously taken one to 1.5 weeks were now accomplished in two days or less, with less redundancy and higher degrees of accuracy.
Instead of having to build a new report to answer executive questions, Harry & David managers were able to simply call up an existing report and drill down to the granular details that answered that specific query. That ability allows Finance departmental managers as well as top executives to understand their business drivers and what’s occurring with their market and specific departments.
As a first step, Harry & David’s finance department loaded its general ledger data into the Board Platform’s unified database. From that single source of consistently accurate data, they were able to easily compile end-of-month reports with variances, and project out forecasts as well.
For example, the Board Platform allows them to quickly drill down into head-counts for a more holistic view of the company’s operations, including what is performing well and what may need adjustments. By linking into their payroll system, they are also able to track vacancy rates and plan merit increases as well.
In addition to the Finance Department, Harry & David has rolled out applications on the Board platform for Sales, Marketing, and Inventory Control.
“The implementation process for users is straightforward,” explained Adam August, VP of Finance. “There was a week-long session where we worked with a training partner to review Board in detail regarding how to set up the databases, how the data relationships work, and so forth. After the initial training, we found it to be easy hands-on learning, particularly for the core, day-to-day user who is not directly maintaining the databases or the data relationships.”