Martinelli's bottoms up approach to planning and forecasting with Adaptive Insights bears fruit

Profile picture for user gonzodaddy By Den Howlett December 16, 2019
Martinelli's operates a sophisticated 'bottoms up' planning and forecasting approach that focuses on the long term. Here's what they're doing with Adaptive Insights as their FPA system of choice.

martinellis apple

If you're a West Coast USA hard cider aficionado or just like pure, unfiltered apple juice, the chances are you know of Martinelli's the 150 plus year old producer of products derived from apples. What you may not be familiar with is that Martinelli's sustainable business is not just born out of tradition but the application of modern business practices, informed by modern software. Here's some examples from the business planning and forecasting part of the company's operations. 

Warren Sampson, financial planning  and analysis manager at Martinelli's makes extensive use of Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud to look at everything from weather to packaging to distribution variables as part of the overall planning process. But what about the foundation for that work? 

I'm active in talking to operations, sales, anywhere there is a planning or budgeting requirement and more so as we move towards quarterly and monthly planning along with the big budgeting process thet comes once a year. It's really about answering whatever questions the CEO, CFO or the board comes up with. One of the things I really love about this role is that I get to understand the business drivers and challenges on the ground. Working with operations, maintenance, sales and so on is essential for my explaining what we're going to do and why. 

The 'bottoms up' approach taken by Sampson is typical of finance managers using solutions like Adaptive because the information such systems expose encourages an understanding beyond the numbers. In Martinelli's case, it helps that finance is structured as partners to different parts of the organization, rather than acting as a financial overlord. 

As an example of how this works, Sampson referenced recent work on customer and product profitability that helped surface issues around which customers need attention. The work done on product profitability showed how margin changes will likely impact volumes. Changes have multiplying effects but Martinelli's doesn't want to focus on small volume items.

It's all about discovering those factors that will deliver the biggest bang for the buck. 

Another example is in understanding impacts arising from manufacturing facility consolidation. 

You're talking about opportunities to spin up lines that operate at 75 to 100% better efficiency than we have today. So you're talking about a large capital investment but a reduction in operating and facility overhead that pays back over a long time. It's going to have huge ramifications down the line. 

Sampson is clearly a fan of Adaptive, but i wondered what has been delivered in recent releases that improve the product. The changes Sampson finds most welcome are more technical than feature related. Even so, it is easy to understand why those changes are deemed important. 

We've had some workarounds for permissioning so that the right people see the right information. That's changed and we have  a much better way of managing and controlling access. That's a big welcome change for us but there's also a revamp of the UI, that's something I always look forward to. They've also made improvements in how Adaptive integrates with Excel. There are people who are more comfortable working with a spreadsheet and there will be occasions when you need to do a quick calculation and you don't want to create a new account inside Adaptive. 

So what's next? Continuing to enhance dashboards is high on Sampson's to do list so that C-suite personnel can readily access visualized data. Integration to external data sources that are used to inform planning changes is also high on the agenda. 

Can we go grab apple quantity information to feed into our production plan from our SAP system (for example)? I'd like to get those external data naturally flowing automatically into Adaptive Insights.