Bridgestone improved financial forecasting with SAC
Thanks to the revolutionary technology of SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), Bridgestone reduced its financial forecasting processing time from several weeks to a single day.
The successful digital transformation, which simplified and standardised forecasting throughout the organisation, earned Bridgestone and Flexso a Silver Award at the SAP Best of Customer Success ceremony in June 2022.
About Bridgestone EMIA
Bridgestone Corporation is a mobility solution provider that manufactures a wide variety of automotive parts. The company serves more than 50,000 customers worldwide and operates in over 60 markets.
Financial forecasting: challenging circumstances
At Bridgestone, financial forecasting used to be a time-consuming business. Each region manually performed its own monthly forecast in Excel, following its own methodology. It took multiple days to extract the latest planning information, update figures, make calculations, and share the results with the HQ finance department. Several additional days were needed to consolidate the different reports for the top management.
Moreover, external files and databases were not accessible to everyone. Financial controllers worked in various locations, and the many data flows decreased accuracy and overall speed. Bridgestone wanted an integrated platform to accelerate the forecasting process, reduce its complexity and the risk of (manual) errors, and establish a single source of truth for all operators.
Simplified forecasts through SAC
To accelerate budget forecasting and the consequent decision-making processes, Bridgestone partnered up with Flexso. They chose SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) to simplify and generalise forecasting in the entire organisation.
After all, SAP Analytics Cloud does not only offer a faster, more intelligent way of working; the data platform also works as a single source of truth within the organisation. Aggregated planning on the SAC platform has replaced the lengthy procedures from the past with a rolling forecast that can be completed in just one day, resulting in more accurate information and much faster.
The increased efficiency has enabled Bridgestone to update forecasts in real time and anticipate the changing needs of the market. Furthermore, thorough simplifications have significantly decreased the risk sensitivity of all reports. That has provided the finance department with valuable extra working time and better business support.
Monthly rolling forecasting at Bridgestone: an award-winning case
The annual SAP Best of Customer Success Awards recognise SAP partners for their outstanding project contributions and support in pioneering the SAP digital technology.
On June 15, 2022, Bridgestone and Flexso received the Silver Award in the Digital Pioneer category. It rewarded their innovative deployment of SAP Analytics Cloud and the cutting-edge technology of data intelligence to transform Bridgestone’s financial forecasting processes.
Change management and training opportunities
Switching from local Excel files to a SaaS (software as a service) solution meant a move towards a cloud platform that values continuous innovation and frequent new product features. However, such a digital transformation requires thoughtful change management and sufficient training for all stakeholders. Flexso and Bridgestone had to find the right balance between ongoing updates and soothing stability on the planning platform.
During the implementation of the new data solution, bi-weekly meetings ensured that all users remained closely involved. Clear testing scripts allowed for better end-to-end regression testing and improved management of the tenant updates. They also taught users how to deal with the quarterly updates.
After the roll-out, all key users received additional training on process changes and tool functionalities. By the time Bridgestone’s new cloud-planning platform went live, all users were familiar with the SAC product roadmap. Furthermore, they had access to a state-of-the-art solution, tailored to their business requirements.
Up next: more possibilities
Bridgestone wants to keep innovating and developing its overall forecasting and decision-making processes. In a next phase, SAC will cover all financial budget planning cycles. Those include not only monthly budget forecasts, but also annual ones, with a higher level of detail and complexity. There will be an additional focus on user-friendliness for all divisions, as well as an integrated add-in for Microsoft Office – ambitious steps towards boosting user adoption and enabling even more data input in the near future.