Integrated reporting chain at Provimi

Provimi, an important player in the international animal nutrition industry, created a fully integrated ‘reporting chain’ by using a new consolidation system. Confidence in his team’s decisions was an important factor for the project’s success, realized both within scope, within time and under budget, according to Jean-Charles Valette of Provimi.

By Benno van Ingen, October 2016
Jean Charles Provimi
Jean Charles Valette

Provimi had two reasons for switching to a new consolidation system. “Firstly, the old system was no longer adequate, we found that our reporting- and consolidation requirements reached the limits of the old consolidation system”, says Jean-Charles Valette, Group Controller at Provimi. “On top of that, a worldwide SAP-implementation was being launched within Provimi. This required a thorough review of all processes, our procedures and the chart of accounts. The perfect time to switch to a new consolidation system.”

Fully integrated reporting chain

Through coinciding the implementation of the new consolidation system with the worldwide SAP-implementation, the unique possibility to set up a completely new ‘reporting chain’ was created. This resulted in one integrated chain formed by the data warehouse, the ERP-system, the consolidation system and the management reporting system. “This was an exceptional opportunity to start with a clean slate and to jointly discuss the question ‘What would be the most ideal way to set up the reporting chain?”

“It has certainly not been easy to make a success of such a complex issue,” Valette says about the ambitious approach Provimi chose. “But we now have a fully integrated reporting chain, in which everyone is using the same environment. We no longer have reconciliations, Excel forms or downloads. Everyone is using the same data, which influences both the efficiency and the reliability. Business Control can now use the data warehouse instead of spending time on Excel and reconciliations. This enables our business controllers to focus their attention on trends and on the apprehension of the figures.”


Well considered selection process

Provimi went through a careful selection process in order to choose an implementation partner. “We preferred an implementation partner for the entire SAP process. But SAP BPC really requires a specialist. During the software selection process demo’s, Finext already made a good impression. During following meetings they showed a lot of expertise; they could provide solutions to complex questions on the spot and were prepared to share their experience”, explains Valette for choosing Finext as implementation partner. “You don’t really choose a company, but the people running the project. It is all about the confidence in people which grows during the demos and the conversations.”

Under budget, within scope and within time

Finext’s proposal was not the cheapest one, but Valette does not regret his choice for Finext. “Finext has delivered under budget, within scope and within time. Besides that, they shared our approach mentality. No extensive presentations with many slides, but really listening to the problem and then finding and implementing the right solution”, says Valette. “We worked evenings and weekends to find a solution, I don’t find such involvement in other consultancy organizations.” How did they manage to deliver within scope, within time and under budget? “It is crucial to make the right decisions quickly,” says Valette. “We from Provimi knew our business well and we knew what we wanted, from Finext came the expertise to advise if and how our wishes could be realized.”

Trust as success factor

Valette sees trust as an important factor for the project’s success within time and under budget. “The CFO gives us a lot of trust and space; we work here without steering committees or elaborate PowerPoint presentations. We made most decisions ourselves, besides that I presented the CFO daily with a short update to keep him informed about the project.” This way decisions can be made quickly. As an example Valette mentions the process of the new chart of accounts. “We met with three people at my place, sat in the garden and we had the basis ready within a few hours. After that it took 3 to 4 days to set up a new chart of accounts. There was no need for broad consultations, but we were trusted to do the job. Everyone agreed that no one knows the chart of accounts better than these 3 people.”

Just make it happen

“Within Provimi trust is shown by receiving and taking responsibility, without compromises or excuses. ’Just make it happen’ is the motto, and looking for what it takes to realize the objectives, whether this means working at night, mobilizing more people or looking for an entirely different solution”, says Valette. “Another positive influence was the fact that everyone really wanted the implementation”, Benno van Ingen from Finext adds. “From the top to the end-users, everyone was open to the change.” “The entire team supported it,” says Valette. “A disadvantage might be that you get less feedback because everyone is so goal-oriented. But that does not outweigh the advantages. Everyone knows that this is a joint operation and comes up with solutions, not with excuses or delays.”

Making the project team available

Benno van Ingen, closely involved in the project as project leader from Finext sees another reason for the project’s success. “Deadlines are always tight and the pressure is always high. What really helped was that Provimi actually made the necessary FTEs available. Often this cannot be realized sufficiently because of everyday’s hectic.” The pragmatic solution Provimi chose was to deploy interim staff for the daily chores of the members of the project team. That way the project team existed of a small group of people, who were able to focus almost entirely on the project.

Start with budget-data

During the implementation a ‘bug’ was discovered in the SAP BPC-software, which SAP solved. “Finext was very helpful in this”, says Valette. “We had marked it as a business critical issue, which meant that we had to be available for questions from SAP 24 hours a day. In that period we frequently sat together in a conference call with SAP in India at two o’clock in the morning.” The bug was discovered when 70 people were uploading data at the same time. “We could not have discovered this during testing”, says Valette. “It did teach us that it is wise so start with the budget-data instead of the real-time data. This provides more flexibility and room to solve issues.”

Close the books after 3 to 4 working days

Valette is positive about the results of the new ‘reporting chain’. “The efficiency and quality of the information has improved immensely. All data is exactly the same. Top management now has qualitative data, and we can focus on understanding what is behind the numbers. This gives us better and faster insight and allows better control.”


“We know what we have to do, and this is based on facts. For example, we now close the books after 3 to 4 working days. Before, this used to take more than two weeks. This is not only caused by the new system; at the same time we changed our way of working.”

“It considerably strengthens control and insight”

Besides, Provimi has gained significantly in flexibility, according to Valette, mainly in the possibilities to adapt, depending on new business needs. Some possibilities were considered at the start as ‘nice to have’, but now appear to be used often. “We can now, for instance, let go of the complete alignment between legal entities and business units,” says Valette. “In the old system, this had to match one on one. But where the Asian market belongs to one business unit, the African market belongs to another. As soon as the end-users noticed that letting go of the link between the legal entity and the business unit was possible, they used it a lot. Currently, over half of the legal entities have links to more than one business unit. This means a more rational control, which is better for the business. It considerably strengthens control and insight.”

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