EAE Engineering Automation Electronics GmbHLeaving a lasting imPRESSion – EAE’s Controlling Report
EAE Engineering Automation Electronics GmbH, a worldwide leading specialist in newspaper printing systems and workflows, didn’t just manage to impress financial institutions. Almost magically, CP’s software helped its controlling team to gain greater transparency for its enterprise management.
For the leading supplier of control and automation solutions to printing works, the ever increasing demands of financial institutions became an important driver. But the banks and investors were not the only ones demanding more transparency. The management at the Ahrensburg headquarters wanted greater planning certainty too, with reliable data, regular automatic reports and informative analysis options as a sound basis for a more effective enterprise management.
Without any pressure
In a product requirements document, Petra Kersten, the commercial director, defined the specific requirements for the software solution in question. The main feature of the desired application is an integrated model of the P&L, balance sheet and cash flow statement. Multiple companies can be visualised just as clearly as the revenues by region, sales representative or product. Specifications also arrived from project controlling, project costing and cost centre management. Besides depicting the actual figures, a key criterion is being able to display plan data according to different scenarios and over different time frames (short, medium and long term).
The managers in Ahrensburg didn’t want to leave anything to chance. In order to be absolutely confident when deciding whether the solution on offer would indeed be capable of depicting the necessary data and content as required, several feasibility workshops were held. In these one-day workshops, actual and plan values were entered, analysed and transferred to reports using EAE data. “It was important for us to get a feel for the software and the chance to ask detailed questions,” Petra Kersten explains the time-consuming selection process. After the workshops, the decision in favour of the CP-Suite was made on the one hand because the CP-Software came closest to the mark. “But it was also the CP employees who convinced us with their professionalism, competence and personality,” the commercial director remembers.
Down to business
The first step, finding a suitable tool, had now been taken. The next step put Petra Kersten and her management colleagues in front of a blank, unprinted sheet. What facts and figures do we need? Do they already exist within the company and, if so, in what form and where? Can they be imported into the corporate performance management software and used “as is”? Which information should the reports contain in the future, and should they vary according to the intended recipients?
The EAE team initially attempted to answer those questions by themselves. During implementation, though, the different data sources and existing pre-systems turned out to be some tough nuts to crack. Driving these areas of the project and dealing with them alongside the day-to-day business was hardly feasible for the small team. In the end, the executive management at EAE decided to concentrate on the essentials and to rely on Marina Seehagel‘s support as a CP-Consultant.
Reporting “at its best”
At EAE, the main purpose and objective of the CP-Software was, and still is, to implement a professional reporting system. This is what the two experts Petra Kersten and Marina Seehagel successfully established together. In a large number of predefined reports which are classified into report groups and summarised in the Controlling Report, they have systematically depicted all the relevant data. The reports are based on detailed plan and analysis structures in Corporate Planner relating to revenues, order income and order backlog. The Ahrensburg team uses CP-Finance, the module for integrated financial planning, for their P&L, balance sheet and cash flow plan.
The monthly Controlling Report is now produced completely automatically – “as if by magic,” says Petra Kersten, containing selected target-actual analyses and charts as well as single values and tables. A Word document template in the EAE corporate design is fed with report, analysis or chart components straight from Corporate Planner and/or CP-Finance, along with general text passages to round off the professional status report. The monthly Controlling Report is supplied first and foremost to the executive management. “Thanks to the Controlling Report, I am quickly able to put together our business data according to our management‘s requests and needs,” Petra Kersten happily added with regard to the newly won flexibility and speed.
The banks, on the other hand, are given an annual planning report with details of the order income, the P&L, balance sheet and cash flow statement, and some specific key ratios. For internal recipients, such as the works council, Ms. Kersten and her team have put together a list of key ratios with the relevant company data. If, however, there is just enough time for a quick glance at the company‘s key ratios, trends and thresholds, every user can call up the Boss Box which displays these in a clear summary.
The information about order income and revenues, which is needed for the reports, is imported to the CP-Software every day. The import involves reading in trial balances from Microsoft Excel and running queries in Infor databases. Once imported, the data are checked for plausibility and analysed.
“We prepared our monthly reports manually in Excel for years. This was time-consuming and prone to error. By implementing the Controlling Report, we have been able to streamline our processes and save costs and time,” EAE’s commercial director points out the beneficial effects of the software deployment. What’s more, she is confident that any unpleasant surprises or unforeseen crises in the company‘s development can be prevented through the use of the CP-Suite.
EAE is the leading supplier of controls, automation solutions and software for newspaper publishers. EAE’s solutions are used in all areas of a printing works – from prepress to mailroom. Nowadays more than 550 newspapers worldwide are using EAE controls to print over 125 million newspapers every day. EAE was founded in 1962 and has around 100 employees today.
EAE cooperates with various printing press manufacturers as partners. At the same time, the company is intensifying its direct business with printing works, such as by upgrading and enhancing existing presses, retrofitting them with electronic or mechanical components.
"Thanks to the Controlling Report, I am quickly able to put together our business data according to our management‘s requests and needs."