Operations Planning / Forecasting and FP&A
Operations Planning, Forecasting, Financial Planning and Analysis
If you’re a professional responsible for Operations Planning, Forecasting, or Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), you have a million things to do and all of it is critical to the organization’s financial health, so your information has to be accurate and fact-based. We can help you build a platform for you to build your own forecasts, budgets and reports at both the operational and financial level – without having to involve your IT department.
You can build short and long range plans using the same level of detail captured in your data architecture and transactional systems. We have a number of pre-built planning models available, which all typically begin with the rollover of actuals from the previous month close.
Financial Planning and Analysis
The financial planning and analysis (FP&A) plans are built by integrating separate models using FP&A software. The technology enables automated forecast entries to be entered by planners, regardless of level of detail or entry direction. Entries will be able to be entered both horizontally (left to right/ right to left) as well as vertically (Top down/ bottom up). Horizontally, backward (reverse) breakdown of entries driven from a total goal standpoint, as well as forward entries driven by required adjustments possible by functionality available within the FP&A application.
After the project is concluded, additional models can easily be created by FP&A professionals, which can provide forecasting and planning at any level.
Model detail can be rolled up to GL accounts level data at any stage in the cycle, ensuring that planners and the office of finance have daily visibility to planned operations for the remainder of the year, and beyond – usually 24 months rolling. Consolidations also occur at the FP&A level, and are made available for active planning throughout the cycle.
Running “What If” Scenarios Using Multiple Variables
Often, our planning systems extract historical data from multiple operational systems in order to complete the planning cycle. Planning is built to offer transactional level planning as well as aggregated/ summarized planning, which enables our clients to forecast using multiple scenarios and adjust these plans in multiple ways very quickly.
For all planned scenarios, MCA often builds alternative scenarios based on predictive analytics. Statistical models are built using historical data of completed plans, creating a statistical scenario to accompany any forecast. Relative supply and demand combined with global commodity values is easily combined in the planning models, enabling daily forecasting changes in order to calibrate business adjustments and drive positive decision making in real time.
Using Cubes for FP&A Business Intelligence Reporting
As with your data warehouse, you’ll always want a business intelligence metadata layer over your forecasting models. Since FP&A models are deployed using cube technology, you can use the same cubes for business intelligence and the data warehouse.
In a planning meeting, you often want to adjust the forecasting data based on new information or to run different scenarios. Once you commit these changes, the changes made in the forecast models will immediately cascade throughout every part of the organization that is using these same reports to query these same forecast cubes and models.
These business intelligence reports show the analytics for multiple aspects of the company at the same time as planners are calibrating scenarios together. Your planning team will then be able to adjust forecasting for as far out as required, in as much detail as needed.
An Example of the Business Intelligence Role in Manufacturing Planning
After a production forecast scenario is increased across the remainder of the Financial Year by using an automated spread into the future, BI analytics and indicators in dashboards or reports are then able to query all the interconnected models immediately, and will offer the planners and execs an immediate view of the effect of these forecast changes.
Some planners may be interested in the immediate effect on margin, cash flow or inventory. Others may be concerned about how the increase affects warehouse space, freight costs and manpower. Operations managers may be interested in how changing the forecast effects simple factory capacity. All these types of indicators can be analyzed immediately so that planners can make changes, and find the optimum improvement in their business very quickly.
After contributors in different regions have finalized entries, and planners have closed the plan, all forecasts and plans can be automatically loaded into plant scheduling solutions like MRPII/ factory and ERP systems.
Reports are typically categorized and made available in the same way as the Business Intelligence solutions are.