James Craner, Director of Finance, Curver UK

Hear how Curver UK has transformed their sales forecasting and rolling forecasting process to better understand the profitability of the business, from sales all the way down to operating profit.
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My name is James Craner. I’m Finance Director for Curver UK Ltd based in Cornwall. We’re a fast-moving consumer goods business making plastic household goods.

I think like most businesses, we were relying on spreadsheets to do our sales forecasting. We were looking at spreadsheets to then do our rolling forecast. One of the things that the business likes us to do, that I think is very important, is understand the profitability of the business from sales all the way down to operating profit by customer, by SKU. We were doing that with spreadsheets—very time consuming to manage. There were errors in the spreadsheets that had to be fixed, and it was just taking too long to crank the handle—to get that re-forecasting every month and convert it into useful data.

I would have the sales director phone me late in the process and say, “Oh James, we’ve got a promotion with Tesco that is changing, can I change the sales number?” And it was, “Well, we’ve already started the process, it’s going to take too long in order to meet our timescales of reporting those figures out to the rest of the business.” We wanted Anaplan to drive that process into the production scheduling system, as well as driving the rolling forecast—and spreadsheets wasn’t the right way.

Training and consultancy costs would be less with Anaplan. Anaplan is very intuitive, easy to learn, and it was easier to implement compared to other solutions that we looked at. And also, being a cloud-based, hosted solution, I didn’t have to worry about buying, configuring, and maintaining a database and reporting applications either.

It has really transformed what we’re doing. Rather than preparing the data, we’re now spending more time analyzing the data and are able to make key business decisions to move the business forward. The standard level of support you get from Anaplan is really good. The online support is very quick and effective to help solve small problems. Where Anaplan adds value are obviously with complex model design and planning issues that we had.

But I originally pitched it to the managing director. I estimated that the investment in Anaplan would pay back within a four-month period. In actual fact, looking back, it’s probably paid back in about two and a half months, which I think is fantastic. It’s delivered everything that we wanted it to do in terms of giving us the immediacy, in terms of forecasting—we’re now starting to find other uses for the product as well.

Innovar supported us through the whole presales process, helping us select the right vendor, configuring a solution, defining the training and consultancy programs. More importantly, having a trusted partner makes a big difference to the decision and having worked with a team before at Innovar, I knew they could deliver—and that’s one less thing for me to worry about.

We’ve been using the application for up to 12 months now, and I think it’s providing more dashboards to our users, finding more use cases for it, and then extending it to other parts of the group that we’re a part of.

Innovation—I think it’s such a key part of the Anaplan DNA because almost every quarter there’s something new that comes out and there’s always something new that we can use.

My name is James Craner, I’m the finance director for Curver UK and our sales forecasting and rolling forecasting process is powered by Anaplan.