• Data-driven Forecasting at Takeaway.com

Platform company Takeaway.com is growing fast. The Dutch company, well-known for its brand Thuisbezorgd.nl, is expanding quickly both in the Netherlands and abroad. Implementing Anaplan helps to create accurate and data-driven forecasting, which supports the company in its growth and in integrating acquisitions.

By Danielle Gruijs, September 2019

Since its start in 2000, the company has grown very fast. Both the growth of the business and the resulting growing complexity of the business created a demand for a planning & forecasting tool. “We wanted a multidimensional tool to improve the control and power of our forecasting calculations,” says Will Sanderson, FP&A Manager at Takeaway.com.

Takeaway.com is the leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe and Israel, connecting consumers and restaurants through its platform in 11 countries. In the Netherlands, the company is well-known for its brand Thuisbezorgd.nl.

Anaplan for planning & data-driven forecasting

The platform company chose Anaplan as their planning & forecasting tool. Their decision was based on the multidimensional functionality of the system. As Will puts it: “Anaplan has a lot more functionality and a lot more benefits than we expected. For example, we can build one dashboard which can be used by 15 different people, who all see a different dashboard with different dimensions. And when we update the P&L, we can instantly see the impact on the forecast.”

The fact that Anaplan is user-friendly was a factor in the decision as well. “Anaplan is very flexible. Users can easily write things and consolidate the things they inputted,” says Julia Nicolae, FP&A Analyst at Takeaway.com.

Co-build project approach

Data-driven Forecasting Takeaway.com
Jort, Will. In front: Julia, Tom

In the original project approach, Will and Julia wanted to build the models themselves. “We wanted a tool that’s not very labor-intensive or demands a lot of consultants. Within Anaplan, we can do a lot ourselves, like built or adapt models,” says Julia.

However, it quickly became apparent that the day-to-day demands of their regular activities were too much to free up enough time to work on Anaplan. Jort Cuperus, consultant at Finext, stepped up his involvement. “I started by training Will and Julia. At a certain moment however, I stopped training and started building, as Will and Julia had so many other things on their plate,” says Jort.

Now, Jort is still involved, but on a much lesser scale. “I’m here one day a month. Will and Julia built the functionalities on top of the models that I built.” Both Julia and Will are now very comfortable with the tool.

More analysis in the same time

Will and Julia are enthusiastic about using Anaplan. “It saves us a lot of time, but we’re not on the beach sipping cocktails,” laughs Will. “We use our time for other things like analytics. The month-end model would take us three days, which now goes automatically. This doesn’t mean we close the month earlier; we simply do more in the given time.” “Where we used to load actuals for three days, we now analyze for three days,” Julia agrees. “This makes the forecasts more accurate and the business insights deeper.”

Another time-saver is the fact that users can access their own reports. “The current forecast is always available to everyone. We used to maintain some monthly reports that now don’t even exist. They’re automatically generated into a dashboard, which everyone can look at themselves,” says Will. “This removes the cycle of collecting the data, putting all the data in, then get a forecast. Now you can create the forecast on the data they’ve put in last time and tweak the forecast with every input.”

Data-driven Forecasting Takeaway.com
Tom Pereira – Takeaway.com

As Tom Pereira, Finance Director at Takeaway.com, puts it: “There is a lot of value in forecasting in Anaplan because it allows us to spend less time calculating and checking and more time thinking about the underlying logic of the model. This allows us to test scenarios and ultimately build smarter forecasts. Also, you can try different types of forecasting methods to find out which method is closest to your actuals. A machine can do this much faster than a person.”

Integration after a takeover

As part of its ambitious growth strategy, Takeaway.com has recently taken over the German brands of Delivery Hero. Being on a scalable platform for planning & forecasting helped the integration. “The business integration happened very fast; within 2-3 weeks, we had around 3 million additional orders going through our systems. At that point, management expects that all your financial actual and forecast data should be combined as well. Anaplan allowed us to develop a combined forecast very quickly,” explains Tom.

Relying on Anaplan’s forecasts helps with the integration after the takeover as well. “Every market is different, so it’s important to have comparable figures quickly. We can rely on the tool, as we know that it’s going to produce reliable information. It’s all about understanding the context: if you need to focus on the technique and on comparing differences, you can’t focus on the reason behind the figures,” says Tom.

Invest in your foundations

When asked for advice for other fast-growing companies, Tom doesn’t hesitate: “Invest in your foundations, because it makes it easier down the line. When we started the Anaplan project, we could never have foreseen that we would do all these acquisitions and double the team size within a year. For a growing company, it’s better to do these investments a little earlier rather than a little late, as it allows you to scale up and support the business in a much better way.”

Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting Anaplan