A roof’s job is simple: Keep the weather out. But the roofing business is far from simple. Consider Onduline, a worldwide leader in lightweight roofing systems: The Paris-based company runs eight factories on four continents, operates 32 commercial subsidiaries in 43 countries, and produces 150 million square meters (1.6 billion square feet) of material each year.
External pressures compound this complexity: The business is highly seasonal, with manufacturing concentrated in early months of the year and sales occurring mostly in spring and summer. Onduline’s products are sold through multiple channels, including home improvement stores and wholesale to the trades. Also, the business is subject to currency and commodity volatility, particularly since the 2007–2008 financial crisis.
In this environment, Onduline needed a solution to enable leaders to analyze, plan, and report on the business in every country where it operated, and that facilitated information exchange between business units and up to corporate. Furthermore, they wanted a solution that was collaborative, agile, and simple to use.
Onduline chose Anaplan. Their initial implementation in 2016 supported budgeting and planning for the entire company, including subsidiaries and factories around the world. Two years later, Onduline expanded into end-to-end sales and operations planning (S&OP) to gain a consolidated view of global inventory and production by approximately 2,500 SKUs and by month.
Today, country managers forecast monthly sales and purchases in Anaplan. Their forecasts, in turn, drive production at manufacturing plants. “It’s better to know in advance what the market wants to buy than to manufacture something you’re then forced to sell,” Firth says. “With Anaplan, that’s easy to do.” Production plans must account for multiple variables including commodity prices, currency exchange rates, labor costs, geography, and the specific capabilities of each factory.
In turn, comprehensive financial metrics—including revenue, margin, profit before tax, balance sheet, and cashflow—are available at the end of every month. Planning is collaborative, and execution can be fine-tuned at corporate, market, and country hierarchies. “Thanks to precisely defined KPIs, we can effectively monitor activities and results at any level with Anaplan,” Firth says. Those KPIs include contribution to gross margin by market and product; days sales outstanding (DSO) by market and region; average selling price (ASP) by market, channel, and product; and days inventory outstanding (DIO) by country.
In addition to tracking the here and now, Onduline uses Anaplan to run “what-if” scenarios—for example, to see how currency or raw materials fluctuations might affect earnings. And they’ve gained agility to respond to disruptive events: When the Coronavirus emerged in early 2020, the company quickly adjusted its reporting cadence. “Our CEO wanted weekly sales, inventory, and cashflow reports,” Firth recalls. “It was very easy for us to develop them ourselves, without a consultant.” Moving from monthly to weekly reporting enabled Onduline’s leaders to make better decisions on when to slow, pause, and restart production as regional economies weakened and recovered.
This ability to monitor the business and act quickly is essential for success in today’s volatile business climate. Fortunately, as Firth says, “Anaplan makes a world of difference to Onduline.”