ELA Container GmbHCorporate performance management and reporting at ELA Container
In the construction and rental of containers, beside quality and the implementation of individual requirements, one thing matters above all: a rapid response. With automatic corporate performance management, all the key players at ELA Container are now able to make good decisions quickly.
When the cranes at ELA Container are loading mobile housing, or containers for short, many hands and heads are busy. Yet there’s one person keeping track of everything – someone who at first appears not at all to be involved in the action – Matthias Brink, Head of Controlling at ELA Container. All the figures from the construction, sale and rental of single containers as well as of entire container parks flow into Matthias Brink‘s Corporate Planner database. It is he who knows the occupancy rate of the rental containers, how many containers are being delivered, and when the containers will be returned. Every day, from the rentals alone, Brink receives information about more than 22,000 containers. And these containers are used for many different purposes: for a doctor’s surgery which must fall back on mobile practice rooms for its medical staff and equipment while its premises are being converted, for a family who suddenly needs temporary accommodation following a burst pipe, and even for a major corporation having to relocate entire building complexes with offices, sanitary installations and conference rooms to containers until renovation work has been completed.
“In our industry, a rapid response is essential,” Matthias Brink explains. “Our sales representatives must be able to draw up proposals quickly, and then we must load the containers just as quickly. In corporate performance management, we assist our colleagues by giving them occupancy figures that are always up to date.”
Matthias Brink and his corporate performance management team use the software by Corporate Planning together with Qlik Sense, a solution for the multidimensional analysis and visualisation of data. Corporate performance management at ELA Container therefore rests on three pillars: a real-time management system with Qlik, the monthly reporting with Corporate Planner, and the mailing of reports with a report server from Microsoft. And since August 2016, the CP-Cons module, also from the Corporate Planning portfolio, has been used for preparing the consolidated financial statement.
ELA’s three pillars of corporate performance management
Matthias Brink uses the real-time management system to supply the executive managers with all the business figures they require. All the plan and actual figures from Corporate Planner are placed at his disposal in the Qlik software by means of an integration. In Qlik Sense, the managers can see all the relevant diagrams, tables and charts relating to occupancy rates arranged on one page, along with details of the company’s liquidity. This can also be displayed in comparison with the previous year, the previous quarter or the previous month as desired. The data on the Qlik dashboard are refreshed automatically at thirty-minute intervals, so Brink can ensure that his colleagues always decide on the basis of the latest figures.
The monthly reporting is based on Corporate Planner, which is where the financial data are stored for the group. Once a month, for each of the seven companies, Matthias Brink‘s team produces a report which includes the P&L, cash flow statements, loan balances and data relating to business operations. With automated imports from the pre-system Navision and with document templates from the CP software, the process of generating the reports has been speeded up even further. “Now I only have to press a button – and the report is ready in thirty seconds,” Matthias Brink explains the benefits of automation. With the help of Corporate Planner, the plan for the next five business years is made at the same time.
The third pillar of corporate performance management at ELA Container is the report server which keeps the departments informed about processes and results.
Transparency with a reduction in errors
The introduction of the CP software was prompted by the company’s development. ELA Container is a dynamic enterprise that is expanding and incorporating new companies all the time. Between 2004 and 2010, the specialist in mobile housing grew from around 180 employees to a headcount of 300. Up to that point, reports would be prepared specifically for the advisory committee meetings with the facts and figures provided by the various departments in Excel lists of their own design. The executive managers were looking for regular, in-house corporate performance management at a professional standard with a solution which would produce all the reports and plans from one source. This led to Navision and the Corporate Planning software being introduced in 2010.
Whereas compiling a report still takes an entire month elsewhere, today Matthias Brink has enough time to deal with his colleagues’ requests straight away. The time saved with the Corporate Planning software and the Qlik solution has made it possible for him and his team to set up new report layouts to cater for individual requests from particular departments and to make improvements to current processes. Indeed, a part-time employee, whose time just a few years ago was chiefly taken up with gathering sales management data, can now concentrate on the ongoing development of the department.
Matthias Brink very soon got used to the added convenience, as he notes: “Sometimes I forget all the time and effort that it used to take. Today we are saving valuable time which we can use much more effectively.”
"The Corporate Planning Software has made our corporate performance management so automatic that we can concentrate much more on developing our department."
Head of Controlling