Harry and David - Case Study
Increasing reporting accuracy & efficiency and reducing forecasting time from weeks to 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.
The Challenge: Over-reliance on time-consuming, spreadsheet-based finance processes
During the digitization of operations over a 30-year period, the Harry & David finance team had grown its financial accounting and reporting largely on Excel. It became apparent that a tremendous amount of time was dedicated to rationalizing and consolidating multiple spreadsheets from across the company into a suitable format for end of quarter and end of year consolidation and reporting. Naturally, the company was keen to replace this manually-intensive process with a more automated approach. The finance team had also recently transitioned to a new general ledger system that did not offer the reporting capabilities that the team required, creating the need to evaluate other financial reporting systems.
On top of analysis and reporting requirements, the business sought a means of streamlining forecasting for its separate departments to drive efficiency in the process.
After an extensive search of available software solutions, Harry & David selected the Board decision-making platform, which unifies Business Intelligence, Planning, and Predictive Analytics, to meet its combined reporting and forecasting needs.
"The implementation process for users is straightforward," explains 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 with learning, particularly for the core, day-to-day user who is not directly maintaining the databases or the data relationships."
The Benefits: Significant time savings, greater business insights, and increased accuracy of reports and forecasts
Harry & David's finance department loaded the general ledger data into the unified database of the Board platform to create a single point of truth.
Using Board to interrogate this data, the team is now able to easily compile end-of-month reports with variances, as well as project forecasts. Users can quickly drill down into headcount information for a more holistic view of the company’s operations, including what is performing well and what may need adjustments.
Additional data sources open up more opportunities to examine data. For example, by linking into the company's payroll system users are able to track vacancy rates and plan merit increases.
Bringing reporting and forecasting together using Board also enabled Harry & David to change and significantly expand its processes. The company has become more flexible and dynamic in discussions around financial performance and potential future plans. Forecast cycles that previously took up to one and a half weeks are now accomplished in two days or less, with less redundancy and a higher degree of accuracy.
The self-service nature of Board, delivered through its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, empowers departmental managers and senior executives to understand their business drivers as well as what’s occurring within their market and specific departments. Instead of having to build new reports to answer executive questions, Harry & David's managers are now able to call up an existing report with ease and drill down to the granular details that answer their specific query.
Seeing opportunities for improvement outside of the finance department, Harry & David has also rolled out applications on the Board platform for Sales, Marketing, and Inventory Control, driving an increasingly unified approach and streamlining the business further.