“Vuealta goes above and beyond to meet our business needs. It’s not just a system implementation, it’s a partnership. It’s as if you’re working with someone from within your business, rather than an external consultant.”Christopher Maggs – Group Head of Financial Planning & Analysis & Chief of Staff
Founded in New York in 1938, Dialight is a global leader in LED industrial lighting. Responsible for consolidating the financial and management information of regional production centres and sales territories across the globe, Dialight’s FP&A team were often dealing with up to 180 different Excel workbooks. Working with Vuealta to implement Anaplan, the team now enjoy more accurate, consistent, and efficient reporting and planning processes.
Dependant on spreadsheets
Historically, its reporting systems were reliant on individual ERP systems. Whether its system was off the shelf or bespoke, each location reported financial and management information in its own way, often using different calculation methods for common cost items and pricing. The FP&A team then had to consolidate that information, using up to 180 different Excel spreadsheets for its financial data analysis.
Dialight is a global leader in the manufacture and design of sustainable LED lighting for industrial applications. Based in its UK headquarters, the company’s financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team supports its global operations, with sites across the US, Mexico, EMEA and APAC.
“Each month, we’d have to deal with around 60 different spreadsheets just to generate our regular sales reports and carry out month-end processes,”Christopher Maggs, Group Head of Financial Planning & Analysis, Dialight
A stressful situation
Maggs and his team found it challenging to find simple, common ways of consolidating all the regional information for both monthly reporting and planning. It was important to have confidence that the information was comparable and could be used in trend analysis to focus forward. In particular, it was difficult to standardise costs and revenues for new launches using Excel, a particular headache given Dialight’s busy product pipeline.
“When it came to budgeting, we’d be working with a sales director for each region, each of whom would have a ten-tab spreadsheet with another ten tabs behind it. And that was on top of our other, day-to-day functions. Across all our budgeting processes, it came to around 180 spreadsheets – all of them huge files. As you can imagine, it was very stressful.”Christopher Maggs, Group Head of Financial Planning & Analysis, Dialight
“Our market is growing rapidly and to tap into this opportunity, we had to streamline our planning and analytics. We needed a single central system that would allow us to be custodians of the data, to have control, and to cut it whichever way we want.”Daniel Harris, Group Financial Controller, Dialight
Maggs wanted to implement a completely new FP&A solution that would improve the alignment and coherence of Dialight’s planning and reporting processes, and better support its growth. The new system would need to allow his team to get up and running quickly, and be scalable, changing as Dialight evolved. After assessing other FP&A solutions on the market, he approached Vuealta, who provided a demonstration of Anaplan.
“The demo was tailored to us. Vuealta took some of our data and created models that related directly to Dialight as a business. Not only were we able to see how it was all going to work, but its team also offered useful suggestions, especially around scenario planning. It gave all of us considerable confidence – including, importantly, our CEO, who was on the demo call.”Christopher Maggs, Group Head of Financial Planning & Analysis, Dialight
“After a couple of demos, we felt that Anaplan could do everything we wanted – and more. The functionality’s there for us to keep building on it.”Daniel Harris, Group Financial Controller, Dialight
Implementing best practices
In March 2021, Dialight began working with Vuealta on implementing Anaplan.
“Vuealta were very good at challenging us, trying to improve how we set things up. We were so used to using Excel, and so were very used to working within its limits. Instead, as we moved models from Excel into Anaplan, Vuealta pushed us to consider what else we could do with it.”Daniel Harris, Group Financial Controller, Dialight
The team appreciated Vuealta’s responsiveness, too. As a global manufacturing business, Dialight demanded some exceptionally complex models and dashboards. Nevertheless, Vuealta’s planning consultants were able to jump in at any given point, and quickly pick up where they’d left off. In addition, they suggested best practices throughout the implementation process.
“Vuealta has been very good at making us more disciplined. Best practice is reinforced at every opportunity. The team is continually fine-tuning our models, so they run at peak performance. More importantly, we can see how they’re working with our data and processes. This gives us total confidence in Vuealta’s approach.”Daniel Harris, Group Financial Controller, Dialight
Seeing the benefits
Following the implementation Dialight has now officially started running its entire FP&A capability in Anaplan for all budgets, forecasts, and three-year plans, in addition to monthly management accounts and statutory reporting. Everything that was previously fed into the 160 different spreadsheets is now run through a single Anaplan platform.
“We’re already seeing the benefits. Pulling data from Anaplan has led to an efficiency improvement of around 60 percent and that’s just for our simpler reports. And it gives us more information. We’re a business that loves data, and it’s allowed us to get that data much faster than before.”Daniel Harris, Group Financial Controller, Dialight
“There are plenty of next steps where we can start to bring more and more data at a lower level into Anaplan. It’s a great way of controlling data and keeping everything neat and tidy. And so much less stressful than how we worked before.”
“But this implementation would have been very challenging without Vuealta. It’s a true partnership between their team and ours – they’ve gone far above and beyond to meet our needs.”Christopher Maggs, Group Head of Financial Planning & Analysis & Chief of Staff, Dialight