How next-level controlling helps Bewel fulfill its mission

Apr 03, 2018
  • professional services
  • SAP

When Bewel first decided to implement SAP in 2009, the organization didn’t immediately take advantage of the solution’s full potential. As a result, the management team still encountered blind spots, and significant business improvement power remained untapped. Guided by delaware, Bewel embarked on a journey towards smart budgeting, results analysis and integrated reporting that would forever change the way it operates – for the better.

Source picture: CFO Magazine

With over 1900 employees, Bewel is one of the largest employers in Flanders’ Limburg province. The organization provides qualitative and sustainable work to people with work disabilities and eventually helps them find employment in the general job market. To successfully complete this mission, Bewel relies on an complex interplay between business and budget.

Filling the gaps

“We first implemented SAP in 2009,” explains Bewel’s CFO Claudia Vrancken. “Back then, we wanted the impact on our trusted processes to be minimal. The initial focus was on the core finance processes and reporting – a migration that went smoothly. As a result, however, we didn’t have a clear view of how specific activities and clients contributed to the bottom line, the budgeting process was largely unregulated, and follow-up on sales results and production offered few insights. To fill the gaps, we decided to start focusing on management reporting in the broad sense of the word, based on budgeting and analysis. That’s where delaware came into the picture.”

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The power of analysis

Bewel creates employment opportunities through selling. That’s why, in a first phase, delaware set up a budgeting process and results analysis platform. This gives the organization a clear overview of the realized margins compared to the expected margins from the budgeting process, and offers input for variance analysis.

The new budgeting process also meets the need for more detailed information, for example, when it comes to the differing cost structures of in-house and external assignments. This is needed to make a valid comparison between both activities. “Today, we analyze by activity, but also by client or production order,” Vrancken continues. “This allows us to make valuable assessments across dimensions and departments. ‘Analysis’ has really become a keyword at our company.”

Integrated reporting

Additionally, the project also resulted in much-needed standardization. “Every department now calculates assignment costs in the same way. As a result, the error margin has dropped. When a project is executed, we can compare the predicted cost with the actual cost, which gives us a clear view of anomalies in produced quantities or prices.”

The integrated reporting generated by the budgeting process and analysis offers valuable input for Bewel’s management. “Because of these improved insights, we can make quick adjustments when needed. This doesn’t just offer advantages for our business, but for our employees as well: if we can generate a balanced and correct margin with our clients, we can create more job opportunities. And that is ultimately our core mission. What’s more, more detailed insight into our finances allows us to better prepare for the legal changes to subsidization that are coming in 2019.”

From intuition to information to value

Bewel’s journey is a great example of how vertical services, like finance, IT, sales and production, can work together in a horizontal way to support business processes. Vrancken: “The change has been tangible throughout the company. Intuition has been replaced by objective numbers, not only in finance, but in sales and production as well. In short, it’s an unambiguous source of financial, operational and management information with value that can’t be represented by numbers alone.”

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