Transparent value flow at Linxens – with DeltaMaster
Data analytics is becoming increasingly important, developing into a strategic weapon in the fight for customers and markets – as Ludwig Stüwe, responsible for Division Controlling at the semiconductor manufacturer Linxens, confirms: “The key is to ensure that the core processes of the value creation are measurable and to be in control of the value contributions of all parts of the organization where they arise. Controlling requires the availability of decision-relevant analyses based on a uniform company-wide data pool at all levels of the company, from management to the operating level.”
Group reporting in the monthly financial statements
Determining the current situation precisely is particularly important for Stüwe, especially when it comes to the cost structures in production, order controlling, delivery capacity, inventories, and selling price trends: “The semiconductor industry is highly competitive. The only way to survive in an environment of cut-throat competition is by knowing exactly what your costs are at all times.”
In the past, group reporting in the monthly financial statements cost a lot of time and was stressful. The aim was to identify the drivers of the gross margin as early as possible – but this meant drawing on data, uploaded to the consolidation software by the production sites in Asia and Europe, at account level and with no data depth.
More extensive analyses of deviations and their causes were performed on request by the local controllers, who used Microsoft Excel to search for answers in SAP downloads. “When clarification was required with locations in different time zones or with different communication cultures, this often led to frustration because we had to wait or because the explanations were insufficient for our understanding,” Stüwe adds.
Live in just a few days
Help was at hand thanks to the DeltaMaster business intelligence software suite from Bissantz. Linxens was won over by its open data storage, its business and statistical analysis methods, and its visualization functions. In the first stage of the project, the SAP CO-PA module was connected in order to map the income statement in DeltaMaster and analysis applications were developed for revenue, gross margin, and production cost. “After just a few days, we were in a position to dig into the data interactively at meetings using the navigation and analysis options,” Stüwe reports.
A wide range of data sources
Further IT systems were successively connected in order to map cost center accounting, inventory accounting, goods movements, production data, and sales orders. This includes the Salesforce software, which Linxens uses as a sales database, budget planning and forecasting solution for revenue, and the SAP modules SD, MM and PP.
All core processes mapped
DeltaMaster is now used at all levels of the organization, from individual employees looking for daily information on their incoming orders up to management reporting at board level. Among other things, the BI software is used to make cost or margin trends visible and comprehensible. “We are gradually mapping all of our core processes in DeltaMaster,” Stüwe explains.
“The aim is to make the entire value flow within the company visible in DeltaMaster and to perform analyses along this entire value flow from sales planning through incoming orders to the supply chain, i.e. from incoming goods, material consumption, production orders, and inventories through to the income statement.”
Gaining a time and knowledge advantage
The value added of DeltaMaster for Linxens could be summarized as “knowing more sooner”. “There is simply no comparison between the speed at which we report today and how things used to be,” Stüwe confirms. “We used to need almost two weeks for our monthly financial statements, from ERP closing and consolidation through to more extensive analyses. Thanks to DeltaMaster, we can now send out automated cost center reports and sales analyses as soon as the third day of the new month, analyze earnings variances and cost trends, and ask more targeted questions about our operating performance significantly more quickly than before.”
“We certainly have a degree of transparency that we never used to have,” Stüwe adds. “In DeltaMaster, I can start with a very simple view and navigate through the data to find out, for example, why there is a deviation in the margin and which product or platform is responsible, while still keeping an eye on the context with regard to the starting situation. Or I can present large volumes of data on a single sheet, as the color logic and Sparklines immediately show me what is relevant.”
A universal language
The forms of display in DeltaMaster have also proven to be beneficial internationally in the dialog with other cultures: “When it comes to our international locations, we have to think about cultural traits in our communication. In Asia, for example, it is not always easy to point out areas that require action across hierarchical levels. Graphical Tables are a universal language that is understood and accepted everywhere.”
The solution has also met with an extremely positive response among Stüwe’s colleagues, who are finally able to call up comprehensible information when they need it and without having to rely on Controlling. When asked if he can imagine living without DeltaMaster, the controller is in no doubt: “That would be like fitting square wheels to my car. I simply refuse to even consider the possibility!”
- Evaluation of a wide range of data sources, e.g. Salesforce, SAP CO-PA, SD, MM, PP
- Decentralized analytical expertise in a centrally managed data model
- Reporting from top management level through to the business departments
- Self-service BI solutions for data sources outside of SAP and Salesforce
- Consistent visualization concept that is comprehensible in all cultures
- Analysis from entry to detailed level
- Three days to prepare the monthly financial statements incl. analyses instead of one and a half weeks
- World-class manufacturer and designer of microconnectors, RFID antennas, and inlays for the financial, access control, eGovernment, healthcare, IoT, transportation, and hospitality markets
- Seven production sites in Asia and Europe
- Four development centers
- More than 3,000 employees