Merz Consumer Care
Always in the best hands
Merz Consumer Care is one of five subsidiaries of the Merz Pharma Group. With its renowned brands tetesept and Merz Spezial, Merz Consumer Care is a leading provider of health and care products in the German speaking world. The Merz Group, established in 1908 by Friedrich Merz, has a global workforce of 3200 employees.
Due to the increasing internationalisation of not only the market, but of Merz Consumer Care itself, the company had decided to restructure its Price and Conditions System (PCS), since its expansion over the last few decades and numerous take-overs had led to it becoming increasingly complicated. As part of this process, the existing system was analysed and a draft of the new PCS drawn up. In order to evaluate the effects of changes in factory prices and conditions, the products and client base had to be simulated in detail. This simulation required Merz to find a new software - as quickly as possible. The analysis of the existing PCS highlighted the fact that the structures were not completely harmonised, and lacked transparency for the different user groups. The considerable time required to manually update and analyse the system (Excel/Access) also resulted in high costs.
The Board Solution
The first phase set the objectives of the new PCS structure:
- Harmonised structures
- Increased transparency and
- Reduced need for manual administration
In Board, Merz Consumer Care identified a flexible, multi-dimensional tool which can be implemented in the office, is able to extract data from a variety of different systems, and does not need programming. Board was also the answer to their requirement for clean separation of data, logic, processes/workflows and data display/entry. The ease with which the data model and layout/front end can be modified, along with the possibility to run what-ifs and scenario analyses, made Board the perfect answer to their needs. Since Board had already proven a great success in the first phase of the project, the decision was taken to deploy it directly in the second phase of planning and budgeting, where Excel had previously been the primary tool. Merz Consumer Care's had numerous requirements for an application suited to this area of their business:
- Keyed division of target figures within the client structure (e.g. previous year sales)
- Percent growth in sales over all clients/product groups
- Growth in individual sales/costs in relation to specific clients, products or preparation groups.
Board filled all these requirements with ease. With Board, the budget is now projected annually and updated every month. It is also possible to plan at different levels of granularity: products can be planned at both the national and regional levels. And, thanks to user-specifiable time periods, we can plan for our various business areas in terms of the accounting and calendar years. The third phase of the project consisted in the implementation of a sales cockpit. Along with contribution margin analysis and calculations, Board gives a complete overview of the entire product range and parametrised lookups make it possible, for example, to determine which product is located in which sales outlet (chemists, discount stores, department stores, pharmacies, etc.) and even on which shelf. This enables the user to schedule distribution quotas and evaluate turnover.
The Client Network
Board enables Merz Consumer Care users to draw up independent reports and contribution margin simulations and calculations. Thanks to its programming-free toolkit, users can independently analyse classes and dimensions like self-defined client groups, perspectives, top 10 products, and so on. It was precisely its toolkit facilities and user friendly interface that made Board the partner of choice for Merz Consumer Care: Board offers us precisely the holistic solution we needed to improve our existing systems and structures, says Holger Schweikart, Senior Sales Controller at Merz. Since Board does not require the user to be a skilled programmer, we were able to use it actively in no time at all - making our own reports was a cinch. Board can be deployed in all areas of the business in a flexible way, customised to the needs of each specific user group, which makes it the perfect solution for us. It almost immediately established itself as an essential component in our day to day management of the business!