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Epicor Financial Planner | Case Study | COX Powertrain
“Our big win is definitely reporting. Just basic reporting – P&L by departments against their budgets, for example. This has been so excellent. It has saved us vast amounts of time. It was obvious early on that this was a very big win for us. I remember saying, if it does that, even just that – EFP is a no brainer, but then we have budgeting on top of that too.” COX POWERTRAIN
Two dreams to two realities: Cox Powertrain delivers a revolutionary ultra-lightweight diesel outboard motor which 10 years ago was just a dream, and Cox Powertrain successfully moves away from problematic, manual reporting and budgeting into a simple yet powerful way of working to support their vision. Effortless Reporting, Accountability in Budgeting, and Strong ERP integration Back in 2010, Cox Powertrain started its mission to deliver a revolutionary new concept in ultra-lightweight diesel engines. This ignited the beginning of the CXO300. A high powered, diesel outboard engine. Since then, Cox has successfully raised over £120 million of private investment, in order to bring the outboard from a dream to a reality. Having begun production in May 2020, the CXO300 is becoming hugely popular in the market and the demand is only expected to rise. Cox Powertrain generated reports using another solution they had purchased, which to them was tedious and problematic. They had to download them into a spreadsheet and format them. The problem with this previous solution is that it was Excel-based, which meant that if someone were to add a new GL, for example, all the spreadsheets needed to be amended for each department report. This was really time-consuming. Everyone hated it. To make matters worse, it would fail very often and it wouldn´t tell them what went wrong. They had to guess. This just drove many of them into distraction trying to get it to work. They also did budgets and financial models in Excel. They created all their budgets in Excel, put all the data for all departments in, formatted the numbers, and then loaded it into Epicor and run a routine to upload this. This was really problematic and tedious for them. They wanted a solution that was more robust. As a company they have gone through a series of explorations and fundings, and each time this happened, they needed a robust financial plan.
Company Profile Overview • Location: Brighton City Airport, Shoreham-By-Sea, England • Industry: Manufacturing • Website: https://coxmarine.com/ Success Highlights Challenges • Labor-intensive, manual budgeting in another reporting solution spreadsheets when there are changes to reports • Tedious, time-consuming budgeting & finance modeling in Excel • Inability to exert pressure to budget holders to manage their own budgets • Inability to generate requested reports quickly • Inability to drill into financial information The Solution • Epicor ERP 10.2.600.1 • Epicor Financial Planner (EFP) Benefits • Integration with Epicor ERP • Simple and effective Reporting • Accountability of Budget holders across the organization • User-friendly interface • Good drill functionalities • Easy-to-use data upload mechanism • Elimination of at least 6-man days just generating needed reports • Prompt and attentive support • The ability to support a Hybrid way of working with Excel • Errors encountered are guess work at other systems • Time-consuming and manual update of several
1 | Cox Powertrain
Epicor Financial Planner | Case Study | COX Powertrain
We would run the download and then have a lot of reformatting to do to get the reports right. It was very time-consuming, inefficient and fraught with potential for errors and I really didn’t like it.. The problem with this is that it was Excel- based, which means that if I were to add a new GL, for example all the spreadsheets needed to be amended for each department report. This was really time- consuming. Replacing that with EFP, you press a button and there s your report. This is such a huge win for us. There were 2 people producing the reports using our old solution, and previously they d have to run the reports, run the refresh in the solution, one sets up and one loads. It took conservatively 2-3 days for each of them. With EFP, they don t have to do any work at all. You press a button, and the report is there. On budgets, EFP provides us with a simple platform where we can go in and look at our monthly results against budgets and against forecasts. It gives us a place to hold that information because we have a number of iterations and budgets / forecasts. They used to sit in various spreadsheets which were quite difficult to manage. In EFP, we could have named scenarios, and once we uploaded the data, it is all there.” The Road to Winning Like any implementation and adoption of new technology, it isn´t always friction-free. On the initial challenges that Cox Powertrain encountered, Martin has this to say, “In the beginning, I had very high expectations of EFP because I wanted it to do all the reporting, budgeting, and especially modeling, I ever did in Excel in EFP. Our budgeting is not just number crunching, it involves a good amount of modeling into it. It took a while for me to understand that EFP is powerful and can- do budgeting & forecasting and even reporting really well, but it couldn´t do some of the modeling exercises I wanted to get in there as well. The business rules engine is there, and it works, but for our company´s purposes, it isn´t ideal. Once I understood that we can do a hybrid approach with EFP, where I can do reports and budgets there, but I modeled via Excel, which I could then easily load into EFP, we realized quickly this was a much better way of working. We didn´t have to force everything into EFP.
The Challenge Martin Etheridge, the financial planner at Cox Powertrain, had this to say, “We found that it is difficult (almost impossible) for a finance user to generate the reports and budgets we needed. We did all the planning and reporting in Excel, and as the company was growing, we needed something that was more robust. When it comes to budgeting and financial modeling, we did that in Excel. I am used to using Excel in the past. I do all of the budgeting and forecasting in Excel, and I give that to the budget holders as well. What we really wanted was a particular interface that would enable our budget holders to be able to look at their financial information quickly and easily. The guys in the team were implying that they couldn´t do that because this was too difficult to do in our ERP system. We wanted to be able to put a bit of pressure on budget holders to manage their budgets and own their budgets, but this was really hard to do in Excel.” Martin recalls how they first looked at EFP and says that when they first looked at EFP, they knew it met all their needs. They didn´t have to look at competing solutions. The Experience with EFP There are 6 people in the finance team for financial planning and reporting and there is a separate group for accounts payable and accounts receivable. The team has been using EFP for at least 18 months now. First off, Martin thinks EFP works very well with their ERP system. It synchronizes every day, so there is no issue there. They also really like the web interface. It is simple and easy to navigate. Today, only one person in the team uses the Excel add-in, and it is only for data uploads and data extraction which is really easy. On reporting, he has this to say, “Our biggest win is definitely reporting. Just basic reporting – P&L by departments against budgets. This has been so excellent. It has saved us vast amounts of time. It was obvious early on that this was a very big win for us. I remember saying, if it does that, even just that– EFP is a no brainer. Even if it is just for the reporting.
2 | Cox Powertrain
Epicor Financial Planner | Case Study | COX Powertrain
“If I am to rate my satisfaction with EFP, it will be 8/10. The reason why I don´t go any higher was because my expectations of EFP were too high. I wanted it to be able to do all the modeling I want which is a bit unfair, to be honest. But if I am to have sort of a wish list, I would like development to focus on better modeling capabilities within EFP. I know that EFP is not supposed to be a modeling tool. It can do reports and budgets, and a bit of modeling. Modeling is not what it is supposed to do, but my wish list would be modeling. If I am to rate the support we have received, I will rate the experience as 8/10. We had a couple of issues early on, but I suppose that is also because there are guys learning so we have to cut them a bit of slack too. It got much better and recently, just very good. I also had very good relations with Hakan from the EFP team, and we did several one-on-one sessions that were really helpful. I truly appreciate that relationship.”
We create budgets in an Excel workbook which is really just a template that all the budget holders use. This is a workbook that is formatted so it is ready for upload into EFP. The workbook is just a way for us to gather the data where modeling is required. For example, if you are in sales, you want to be able to put your volumes and prices. You don’t want to have to calculate your revenue. Another example is the cost front where we have a lot of costs that are calculated by unit. I found that these things for us today are best done in Excel, but then we could load all of that up to EFP. It is really simple, quick, and easy actually. If it doesn’t work, it tells me why it didn´t work too which I really appreciate.” Martin likes this hybrid set up of working. To him there are advantages to using Excel on a controlled basis. If somebody has a budget and they´ve been told their bottom line is not good enough, it needs to change to something more specific. You can simply model it in Excel, play around with it and load that up into EFP. It is a more efficient process since the data loads are so simple within EFP. The learning curve for Cox Powertrain has more to do with understanding what the tool can do well, and what its limitations are. Once they wrapped their head around this, they found a process for them that truly worked, and that they could consider a real win. The Recommendation Martin considers the ability to report quickly and easily as well as being able to budget and forecast in a single platform a big win. Before EFP, reporting and budgeting were a pain.
When asked about whether Cox powertrain would recommend EFP to others with similar challenges, this is what Martin has to say,
“Yes, I would recommend EFP. EFP is very fast. It removes huge amounts of manual work, especially in producing reports, and reports are available instantly. It is not even a question of whether I can produce a specific report. I can simply log in and look at it. The data upload is very easy, and it is a good process. If it doesn’t work, it tells you what has been done wrong. Most of the time when something is wrong, it is also a user error rather than a system error. EFP is really user-friendly. Like with other new systems, you need to learn how to use it, but overall, the reporting just works. Budgeting just works.”
About Epicor Financial Planner Epicor Financial Planner (EFP) delivers full financial reporting, planning, budgeting, performance management, and consolidation capabilities that complement your selected combination of ERP and line of business systems. It is designed to support a multitude of moderately complex to very complex business issues and is designed to scale as your business grows in revenue and complexity. To see a demo of Cloud EFP today or to inquire about its pricing, please email info@ dspanel.com or speak to your Epicor Account Manager. You may also visit www.efpcloud.com for more info.
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