Santa gets his planning under control

You see – it is possible. After last year’s planning fiasco, Santa Claus is now back on the path to success – just in time for Christmas.

In our blog, we show how Santa whipped his financial planning back into shape with Apliqo’s help.

Last year, we reported on Santa’s planning problems, the changes in the Christmas business and the new challenges facing the presents industry. We discovered that Santa needs our help. That is why we visited Santa Claus in his office at the North Pole and scrutinized his financial planning.

The result of our analysis was sobering: Santa Claus does not seem to understand anything at all about corporate planning. We took a detailed look at the following four aspects:

There was no planning concept in place

Every planning process stands or falls on the definition of a specific planning concept. The major planning areas should first be defined therein. In any case, these include the overall planning – i.e. the income statement, the balance sheet and cashflow – and for most companies also the operating sub-plans. The overall planning and sub-plans are then interconnected in such a way that everything is in harmony. At North Pole Santa Inc. the term integrated planning was still a foreign concept until then. The Apliqo experts had loads of work to do in this respect.

The KPIs were not correctly identified

By correctly identifying and applying the key performance indicators (KPIs), it is possible to overcome many challenges during the planning process. At North Pole Santa Inc. we came across a problem which we face at many companies: Santa and his team were focused on too many KPIs. Consequently, we had to start right at the beginning at the North Pole: in order to prioritize the KPIs, unlimited access to company data is required. North Pole Santa Inc. hasn’t had a central data source for decades, so it is of course difficult to calculate the different KPIs.

Santa underestimated the importance of exchange rates

There is virtually no other external influence that is harder to predict, and these exchange rates are subject to large fluctuations. In today’s highly globalized world, they therefore have a huge impact on a company’s course of business. Santa Claus has also been greatly affected by this for quite some time. His business has become more international since he has had various suppliers all over the world. Good corporate planning would be all the more important. In this way, Santa would be better able to assess the risks associated with exchange rate fluctuations and take appropriate measures at an early stage.

The workforce required was calculated incorrectly

The employees are at the heart of a company. As is the case for many organizations, staff costs also account for a large proportion of North Pole Santa Inc’s total operating expenses. Complex calculations would be required to efficiently plan the need for reindeer and Christmas elves every year. However, Santa has never heard anything about workforce planning. The master employee data is so incomplete that he cannot even remember how many reindeer and elves he actually employs. Our task was to implement integrated workforce planning and incorporate the calculations directly into the income statement.

On the path to success thanks to Apliqo

After comprehensively analyzing North Pole Santa Inc.’s planning processes, it soon became clear to us that Santa Claus needed help. In order to implement functional corporate planning as efficiently as possible, we opted for an Apliqo software solution which works according to predefined best-practice processes. The pre-built application used enables simple data management and a standardized and structured approach to prioritizing and applying the KPIs. The entire planning process is thus accelerated across all business units. Predefined workflow processes are also very user-friendly. This is particularly important because neither Santa Claus nor his elves have fully developed IT skills. The Apliqo solution is also capable of portraying complex variables like exchange rate fluctuations in a simple manner and performing detailed stress tests using the data acquired. Since the introduction of Apliqo, Santa Claus has been able to respond much better to unforeseeable events and to take decisions more quickly. We all benefit from the time gained: thanks to Apliqo, Santa can now once more focus on his main business of distributing presents.

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