H.C. Stark Tungsten Powders
Complex sales planning: how OneStream powered H.C. Starck’s detailed pricing and forecasting
Moving towards integrated forecasting and scenario planning tool
“This is one step further towards reaching our CFO’s vision to create a fully integrated forecasting and scenario planning tool,” says Philipp Lammert – Global BPM Manager at H.C. Stark Tungsten Powders.
H.C. Starck Tungsten Powders is part of the Masan High-Tech Materials Group. For over 100 years, the company has developed and produced high-quality powders from the refractory metal tungsten and its compounds.
Pricing of customized products in volatile markets
The company’s products are tailor-made, and its customers receive precisely the individual required powder. This approach requires differentiated pricing approach, a demanding task for the sales team.
In addition, the sales team must deal with material prices that are constantly changing. “Our products are raw material intense, and the raw material markets that drive us are volatile. Therefore, we cannot work with fixed price lists but need to forecast our revenue precisely,” said Lars Gniffke, Sales Manager at H.C. Stark Tungsten Powders.
Extending OneStream to the planning & forecasting processes
Previously, the company used an internally developed solution that was hard coded in Java. Choosing OneStream as the new planning & forecasting solution was relatively straightforward: the company already used OneStream for its consolidation processes.
“Maintaining the former solution was quite expensive compared to the fact that we already had OneStream in place and thus access to the full functionality of OneStream,” Philipp said.
In addition, the company wished to improve the user interface and usability. “We wanted to be able to make adjustments ourselves and were looking for a balance between having a solid framework and flexibility within that framework,” Philipp continues.
Continued collaboration with AIQOS as implementation partner
The team at H.C. Starck still did its homework and looked objectively at the capabilities of OneStream. “We were quite confident that we would be able to establish everything we needed,” Philipp said.
Choosing AIQOS as the implementation partner was just as straightforward: AIQOS implemented the consolidation part of OneStream a few years ago. Philipp: “We were happy with the results then, so it was a logical step to continue our collaboration.”
Flexibility in continuous forecasting
Looking back, it was the right decision. The team at H.C. Starck is enthusiastic about the results of planning & forecasting in OneStream.
“From a forecasting perspective, we have succeeded in achieving something we have not been able to do before: flexibility in our forecasts. We can easily adjust the volumes and play around with the assumptions, which was a requirement of our CFO since exchange rates and raw material quotations have a huge impact on our business,” Philipp continued. “And if there is a gap between the price calculation and the agreed price, we can identify the drivers behind it. The more accurate we plan, the more efficiently we can steer our operations.”
Improved accuracy and time-savings
For Timo Düerkopp, Controller at H.C. Starck and responsible for the technical part of the system, the move to OneStream has positively impacted on business activities. “Previously, the sales team had to communicate outside of the system to request changes of meta data. They can now enter commercial parameters, sales manager responsibilities and additional meta data for each product/customer combination directly in the system. This greatly improves the accuracy and saves time.”
Also, each sales manager benefits from individualized sets of information rather than looking at all the combinations. Lars: “That makes it so much easier, especially when looking at a small screen while traveling.”
Intelligent algorithm to pre-calculate prices
For Lars and his sales colleagues, the most significant change is the intelligent algorithm that pre-calculates prices based on external factors like raw material markets and exchange rates and internal commercial parameters. “Now, we only need to plan the volumes, and the system pre-calculates the price. Once we’ve finished negotiating the price with our customer, we can override the pre-calculation.”
It makes the sales process less time-consuming and more accurate. “Being able to trust the numbers is critical to do our business. Also, my colleagues can access my data. OneStream enables trustworthy collaboration,” Lars continued.
Cloud-based synchronization is another advantage. Lars: “We can synchronize anytime; it only takes a few minutes. Previously, we had to stick to certain intraday deadlines despite very dynamic work environments and different time zones.”
Complex planning process in OneStream
Developing the intelligent algorithm was no easy feat. “One of the lessons learned is to ensure that everyone has the same definition when we talk about a unique planning process. We had some interesting discussions and are happy with the result,” Philipp said.
“Sometimes, it’s not immediately clear what happened under the hood of the previous system. Also, we often see that once clients know what OneStream can do, we add functionalities. There are so many possible features,” explained Beatriz Rodriguez, consultant at AIQOS.
Key success factors
Asked about the key success factors, Lars said: “As a sales team, we were involved during the whole project. In the end, we are the ones who need to use it.”
Another key success factor was the excellent working relationship between H.C. Starck and AIQOS. Lars: “AIQOS has been responsive and been able to develop something that helps us. They are result-oriented and have great problem-solving skills.”
Summarizing, Lars concluded: “Everyone wants to work with a smart and efficient company: our customers, our employees, and our suppliers. OneStream and AIQOS are enabling us to be such a company.”
Would you like to know more about optimizing the consolidation and reporting process for your organization? Please contact Roy Piek at firstname.lastname@example.org
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